WWII Navy veteran was former Asst. Principal at Lynnfield Jr. High

Published in the July 26, 2017 edition

WAKEFIELD — John E. Huttunen, 88, a resident of Wakefield and formerly of Randolph and Rockport, passed away of natural causes at home with the support of hospice on Monday, July 3, 2017.

John was born on May 13, 1929 and was the son of the late John E. Huttunen and Aili (Ranta) Huttunen. Born in Rockport to Finnish parents, John was raised and educated in Rockport. At age 17 while at Rockport High School, John enlisted in the United States Navy, serving his country honorably during World War II. Upon his discharge, he returned home to continue his education. He graduated from Tilton Preparatory School, received his bachelor’s degree from Boston University, and his master’s degree in education from Salem State College.

First and foremost, John was an educator. He began his career at Essex Agricultural teaching English and history. He then taught English and science at Lynnfield High School, before serving as the Assistant Principal for the Lynnfield Junior High School for several years. With a deep commitment to helping educate junior high students, John then served for 10 years as the principal of Ipswich Junior High. He found great joy in overseeing quality education for all the students. He was also an especially strong advocate for those students with special needs.

John was an eclectic man with a wide variety of interests. As a young man, he served as a Rockport Selectman. During the early part of his career, he also worked as a lobsterman. He was up early, set his traps and then proceeded to the schools in which he served as a teacher. At the end of the day, he pulled in and sold lobster. Blessed with artistic talent, John loved painting, especially seascapes and landscapes in watercolors and acrylics. In his free time at home, he enjoyed gardening, jazz music and woodworking. Well read, John especially enjoyed learning about the history of Finland, and enjoyed traveling to find new adventures with Lyn.

With a strong Christian faith, John had a special interest in the Apostle Paul, whom he researched and studied in great detail. He was also an active member of the Wakefield–Lynnfield United Methodist Church where he served as Trustee and on the Pastor’s Leadership Team.

John will be remembered for his strength and independence, his love for his Finnish heritage and Rockport roots, and his never-ending adventurous spirit. He will be missed, but has left an undeniable mark on the world.

John was the beloved husband of Lyn A. (Alexander) Huttunen. He was the devoted father of John B. Huttunen and his wife Heidi of Salem, Dianne Doyle and her husband James of Rockport, Jan Duffy and her husband David of Gloucester, Laurie Hartwick and her husband Leonardo Medina of Tewksbury, and the late William Huttunen. 

He was also the cherished grandfather of Jeremy Huttunen of North Carolina, Melanie Moriarty and her husband Dan of Rhode Island, Michael Doyle of Virginia, Brenna O’Connell and her husband Liam of Rhode Island, Brian Duffy, Sean Duffy and Jennifer Lane of Gloucester, Stefan D’Urso of Malden, and Rafael Medina, Gracelyn Medina and Maia Medina of Tewksbury. He was the great-grandfather of Declan, Finnegan and Aili.

Relatives and friends gathered in honor and remembrance of John’s life for his funeral service at the Wakefield–Lynnfield United Methodist Church, 273 Vernon St., Wakefield on Saturday, July 22 with a collation in the Fellowship Hall following the service. Interment will take place at a later date at Lakeside Cemetery, Wakefield. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s name to the Wakefield–Lynnfield United Methodist Church, 273 Vernon St., Wakefield, MA 01880. To write an online tribute please visit RobinsonFuneralHome.com.