Retired Brigadier General John E. Hutton, Jr., MD, FACS, was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery April 1. He died December 19, 2014, of complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia at a military retirement facility in Washington, DC, at age 83.
Distinguished service to country
Dr. Hutton was born in New York, NY, September 9, 1931, the son of John and Antoinette Hutton. He graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, in 1953, and in September of that year was commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served primarily as an Infantry Officer, with a secondary specialty as a Naval Aviation Tactical Observer, and served in both the Mediterranean and far eastern theaters.
In 1957, then-Captain Hutton resigned his regular commission and entered Columbia University, New York, NY, to complete pre-medical education. After graduating from the George Washington School of Medicine, Washington, DC, in 1963, he entered the U.S. Army and completed a rotating internship, general surgery residency, and vascular surgery fellowship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.
Military assignments included a tour in Vietnam as the Chief of Surgery and Professional Services at the 91st Evacuation Hospital; Chief of General and Vascular Surgery and Residency Program Director, Letterman Army Medical Center; Chief, Department of Surgery, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; Vascular Consultant to the Surgeon General; Commander of the 47th Field Hospital, Honduras; and Commanding General, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA.
His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal; Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster; the Joint Services, Army, and Navy Commendation Medals; the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry; the Vietnam Honor Medal 1st Class; and various theater and campaign medals. He held the “A” prefix, which refers to a very high level of competency in a critical specialty, as a teaching chief and was awarded the Order of Military Medical Merit. He was a diplomat of the Diploma in the Medical Care of Catastrophes under the auspices of The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London.
Physician to President Reagan
Dr. Hutton was White House physician and was appointed Physician to President Ronald Reagan in January 1987. He also was director of the White House Medical Unit, which comprised several physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. He provided emergency care to the President and First Lady, as well as approximately 1,500 White House staff and visiting dignitaries. He had an office in the Old Executive Office Building, plus a small office in the White House. He visited the Reagans a number of times in their home near Los Angeles, CA, after President Reagan left office, and Dr. Hutton served as a pallbearer at the President’s funeral.
Dr. Hutton held a variety of academic positions, including associate clinical professor of surgery, University of California, San Francisco, from 1978−1981; associate professor of surgery and vice-chairman, department of surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Science (USUHS), 1981–1984; clinical professor of surgery, USUHS and George Washington University (1986−2001); and Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, 1988. His final academic assignment was as professor of surgery and chief, division of general surgery, department of surgery, USUHS (1993−2010).
Dr. Hutton’s major interests were in the field of vascular and trauma surgery, with publications in both fields. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS); he delivered the Opening Address, On a President’s Health, at the 1989 Clinical Congress under the ACS Presidency of Oliver H. Beahrs, MD, FACS. He also was a member of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Society for Vascular Surgery, the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery, the Bay Surgical Society (Honorary), the Chesapeake Vascular Society, and the Military Vascular Society.
He had many interests, including photography. Several of his photos were featured on the cover of Yachting Magazine and in a series of yachting calendars. While in San Francisco, CA, he sang in the Grace Cathedral Choir. He also was a second degree black belt in karate.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Barbara Joyce Hutton of Silver Spring, MD; four children—John E. Hutton III of Jacksonville, FL; Wendy Little of Olympia, WA; James Hutton of Phoenix, MD; and Beth Shiau of Aiea, HI—and eight grandchildren.