PENSACOLA, Fla. — Former Congressman Earl Hutto died Monday, his family said in a news release.
Hutto, 94, served Florida’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives for eight terms, from 1979 to 1995. Previously, he represented District 8 in the Florida House of Representatives from 1972 to 1978 and was a radio and television sportscaster.
“Earl was born on May 12, 1926, to Lemmie and Ellie Mathis Hutto in Midland City, Alabama,” according to his obituary. “He went to work at an early age picking cotton and selling newspapers to servicemen at nearby Fort Rucker. Earl finished high school by correspondence after being drafted when he turned 18 in 1944. He spent 18 months in the U.S. Navy, serving as a sight setter aboard the U.S.S. Bremerton.”
Hutto attended college on the GI Bill, which he did at Troy State Teachers College, now Troy University. In 1949, he became the first in his family to earn a college degree, and he went to work teaching business courses at Cottonwood High School near Dothan, while also serving as a part-time radio announcer.
“His career as a TV sportscaster followed with stints at WEAR in Pensacola, WSFA in Montgomery, and WJHG in Panama City. While in Montgomery, Earl hosted the Auburn Football Review with Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan and created, produced, and marketed a syndicated television show, Southeastern Football,” the obituary states. “But Earl considered his time in Panama City the most significant, as that’s where he met Nancy, his beloved wife of 53 years, and where their daughters, Lori and Amy, were born.”
In 1972, he won an open seat in the Florida House of Representatives, where he represented District 8 for three terms before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978. He was re-elected seven times, once without opposition.
In Congress, Earl earned seats on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and the Armed Services Committee, so crucial to Florida’s First District. He went on to chair the Coast Guard and Navigations Subcommittee as well as the Panel on Special Operations Forces. In 1989, he became Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, where he oversaw a $90 billion annual budget.