FRANKLIN – Sabin Robert Hutchins passed away Oct. 29, 2016, at Seaport Village in Ellsworth, surrounded by his chattering family. He was born in Southwest Harbor to Susie and Urban Hutchins on Feb. 22, 1931. Growing up during the Depression and into the shadow of WW2, Sabin was part of a generation that learned to work hard and play like the devil may care.
Sabin enjoyed his childhood and told great stories of all the adventures and misadventures he and his buddies experienced … racing homemade soapbox cars, built with PT boat scraps, down public roads trying to “ditch” each other, or hustling the Coast Guard boys at the local pool hall. Sabin played with gusto, but his favorite pastime was work.
He learned carpentry from his Dad and took to it like a duck takes to water. He used to say, “I would lay in my bed, impatient for the next day, so I could get back to it.” Eventually he had his own construction business in Bar Harbor, employing 30 people. He was a remarkable seat-of-the-pants engineer and designer. There was a term of art used locally in his heyday called “Sabinizing,” and he was happiest when building.
He built a family, as well, with his high school sweetheart, Jackie Andreasen. They produced six of the most challenging kids the local school system ever encountered.
In the early 1970s, Sabin bought the old Rainbow Roller Rink in Trenton and turned it into the Bargain Barn, where he sold everything from salvaged groceries to furniture that he built himself. To visit the Bargain Barn was to get a glimpse into the soul of a true Scottish entrepreneur! He eventually sold the Bargain Barn, and went on to develop other properties in Hancock County. He built many things in his life, up and down the Eastern Seaboard, from Maine to the Caribbean, including hotels, houseboats and everything in between.
Sabin had some great stories about building. Once an architect he worked for designed a house with a stream running through it that caused an invasion of frogs in the spring. Another time Sabin built a house for a nuclear physicist who didn’t know how to start a fire in his new fireplace. He built an amazing house for Lady Astor and a 13-sided house on Strawberry Hill.
In his semi-retirement Sabin and his second wife, Gloria, traveled the nation in various campers that grew increasingly larger as he bought them. Sabin always took his tools with him and would find work en route, just because that’s who he was! Though he liked to travel, Sabin’s favorite destination was always Donnell’s Pond in Franklin, where he loved reading, gardening, cooking and entertaining, he was a Downeast gourmand, and yes, building in his attached carpentry shop.
In his late 70s, Sabin suffered a series of strokes that left him severely debilitated, but his indefatigable feistiness stayed with him, much to the entertainment of his caregivers who knew and loved him as “Hutch.” Sabin’s travails also drew the family closer together as they regularly met for family meals together at his nursing home. He kept his appetite and his sardonic wit until his final days!
Sabin was predeceased by his first wife, Jacqueline Elaine Bunker Andreasen, and his half-sister Pat Groves of Portland, Ore. He is survived by his wife, Gloria, his brother Ken Hutchins of Southwest Harbor and his children: Urban, Jay and his wife, Carol Studenmund, all of Portland, Ore., Bobbie Lynn and her partner, Terry Maddata, of Bar Harbor, Suzanne Becque of Hancock, Brent and his wife, Vicki, and Jonathan and his wife, Lucie, all of Lamoine. He also leaves five granddaughters, Oka Hutchins of Echo Lake, Elien Becque and Averi Becque both of NYC, Marcelle Hutchins of Boston and Danielle and her husband, Branislav Jovanovic, of Deer Isle.
There will be an open house Saturday, Nov. 12, at Brent and Vicki’s house at 58 Rabbit Run, Lamoine from noon through the evening. Bring something to share and your choice of beverage if you like. Email [email protected] or call 667-9298 for directions.