90-YEAR ALBUQUERQUE RESIDENT, FORMER 'HARVEY GIRL' DIES AT 108
Constance Hutto, a former "Harvey Girl" known for her charm and generosity, died last week. She was 108.
Hutto outlived her two children and has no known surviving relatives.
"I've been taking care of her for 15 years," said Emelda Chavez, who lived with Hutto. "She's like a mother to me."
Hutto, who was from New York, arrived in Albuquerque 90 years ago as a Harvey Girl. Soon after, when she was 19, she met and married her husband, Claude.
The name "Harvey Girl" comes from English entrepreneur Fred Harvey, who in 1876 opened a chain of dining rooms and hotels along the old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe rail line.
Harvey recruited young women to work as waitresses, moving them west and paying for their room and board.
Chavez and Hutto met when Chavez was a meat wrapper at a local grocery store. They quickly became friends, and eventually Chavez began caring for Hutto full-time.
"One day she says, 'I don't have anybody to take me home.' And I said, 'well I'll take you,'" Chavez said. "She didn't have anybody."
They lived together in Hutto's Albuquerque home on Walter SE "because she didn't want to leave her house."
Chavez says Hutto was a religious person who was charming and generous. She loved to bake bread and would share it with her neighbors.
"She was a person who had a heart for everybody," Chavez said. "I'm already missing her. She prayed for everybody until the day she died."
"We all believe in the same God," Chavez quoted Hutto as saying often. "It was just beautiful the way she talked."
Chavez is honoring Hutto's wish to be cremated, and she said she will have private funeral services in her home.
As for the secret to Hutto's longevity, Chavez said, it's simple: "When you're that age, happiness keeps you alive."
Published in The Albuquerque Journal
December 16, 1998
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