Obit Elata Hutchins

Elata Hutchins

An amazing life was unexpectedly cut short here on Earth, but will continue in Heaven for eternity….

Elata Hutchins went to the welcoming arms of her Heavenly Father on Feb. 28, 2023. She was 81 years young but unable to recover from a tragic fall in her home two days earlier.

Elata Ann Puksta was born in Ironwood, Michigan on July 29, 1941 to Maxine and Walter Puksta. She spent her formative years and attended school in Iron River.

Her father died when Elata was 10 and four years later, along with her mother, step-father Evert Fezatt and brothers Walt and Pete, the family moved to Weippe, Idaho.

While attending school in Weippe, Elata met the love of her life, Emerald Hutchins. After dating for two years, the couple married in 1959.

Elata and Emerald built a wonderful life together—not to mention a splendid home and prosperous business—all while raising four beautiful daughters.

Susan, Lynette, Connie and Kathy were all born in the 1960’s while the Hutchin’s family expanded to Hutchins and Timberline Lumber. Emerald and his brother Elwin operated the sawmills until 2005.

Busy raising her daughters, Elata still found time to be very active in the Weippe Wesleyan Church, where she was a member for 64 years.

Elata taught Sunday School, organized Vacation Bible School and served in any capacity she was needed. Those who knew Elata, know that Jesus Christ was her Lord and Saviour and that serving God was foremost in her life.

As busy as she was with her family and church, Elata also tended a big garden and worked part-time as a Payroll Specialist at the family business. She used those skills as a volunteer treasurer and bookkeeper for the ladies’ bowling association and the Weippe Hilltop Heritage Museum.

Along with Emerald, Elata also volunteered much time at Bald Mountain Ski Hill after they discovered a love for skiing. They shared that passion with their grandkids during the 1980s and 90s.

The 90’s also introduced the couple to bowling. They traveled to local, state and national tournaments and excelled. More importantly, Elata and Emerald gained an additional family through many good times at Riverside Lanes in Orofino. Those friendships endure today and the people they met there were very special to Elata.

Retirement didn’t slow Elata. Along with her duties at the church and AWANA; keeping books for the museum and bowling groups, Elata (along with Emerald) served as COAST drivers. They enjoyed helping others get to doctor appointments and with their shopping.

While she was a very humble and caring lady, Elata was also strong, capable and adventurous. She was a fan of Gonzaga basketball, Seahawk football and Mariner baseball—though watching her grandkids and great-grandkids compete was what she enjoyed the most.

Elata hunted elk and deer (successfully) with Emerald. She fished all three forks of the Clearwater and lakes all over the Northwest. She loved to pick huckleberries and was very good at it.

She skied all across the West and Canada. She snorkeled in Hawaii and drove the road to Hana. She made the most of the blessings God bestowed.

Elata was renowned for her pies, home-fried donuts and pasties (Michigan style). She loved treating her kids and grandkids.

Above all, Elata was as selfless and giving a person as there has ever been. She served God and her family above all else.

Family who preceded her in death are her mother, father, and step-father, as well as her brothers Walter Puksta and Pete Fezatt. Elata was also very close to her departed in-laws—parents Leslie and Louisa Hutchins and brother Elwin and his wife, Lorraine.

Elata is survived by her husband of nearly 64 years--Emerald; daughters Susan Adams (Mark) of Orofino, Lynette Billups (Greg) of Weippe, Connie Case (Rev. Paul) of Lake Placid, N.Y. and Kathy Hodges (Ed) of Pierce.

She also leaves behind 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews who loved her dearly.

Additionally, Elata was very close to sister-in-law Thelma Moyer, with whom she shared a love of quilting; brother-in-law Ken Hutchins; brother-in-law Marvin Hutchins and his wife Sharon and brother-in-law Floyd Hutchins and his wife, Anita.

Services will be held Thursday, March 9, at 11 a.m. at Pine Hills Funeral Chapel in Orofino with a gathering to follow at 2 p.m. at the IOOF Hall in Weippe.

Elata was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was generous with her time, her resources and especially her heart.

She will be missed.

The family asks that memorials be made in Elata’s name to the Weippe Hilltop Heritage Museum.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.