Azel James “A.J.” Hutto Jr.
funeral director and owner, Dukes-Harley Funeral Home, Orangeburg, South Carolina, died January 6, 2020, at age 86. Hutto was a graduate of Clemson College with an agricultural engineering degree. He entered the U.S. Army in 1955 and began his aviation career in 1956 at the Army’s flight school. In 1959, Hutto became one of the Army’s few fixed- and rotary-wing instrument flight examiners. In January 1961, following his military service, he joined Boeing Vertol Division in Philadelphia as a test pilot. In 1974, Hutto was awarded the Frederick L. Feinberg Award, presented to pilots of a vertical-flight aircraft who accomplished the most outstanding achievement in the preceding year; the award is on display in the Smithsonian Institute of Aviation.
In 1980, Hutto became owner of Dukes-Harley Funeral Home, where he served the community for nearly 38 years, carrying on the service of his uncles. He was very active in the South Carolina Funeral Directors Association and instrumental in the creation of South Carolina preneed law and contracts still in use today. Hutto was past president of SCFDA, the Orangeburg Rotary Club and the Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce. He was also a past NFDA Policy Board representative and committee chairman.
In addition, Hutto was a member of the Experimental Test Pilots Association and member and author of several technical papers published for the American Helicopter Society and the Aviation Board of the City of Orangeburg for more than 15 years.
He is survived by wife Vivian; sons Azel James “Jay” III, Mark and Robert; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; brother David and step-daughter Pamela.