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Jimmy Hutmaker was town character of Excelsior

  • Article by: Ben Cohen
  • Star Tribune
  • October 4, 2007 - 10:11 PM

Jimmy Hutmaker of Excelsior, who many insist inspired Mick Jagger to write the Rolling Stones' anthem, "You Can't Always Get What You Want," died Wednesday in Excelsior.

Hutmaker, who had diabetes, was 75.

According to legend, Jagger arrived at Excelsior's old Bacon's drugstore to get a prescription filled the morning after playing at Danceland in 1964 and met Hutmaker.

Hutmaker, who said he had met Jagger at the concert, said he complained to Jagger that he had just ordered a cherry Coke at the drugstore but instead got a regular Coke.

"I told Mick, 'You can't always get what you want,'" said Hutmaker. Although the story has never been verified, references to a drugstore, a cherry soda, a prescription and "Mr. Jimmy" -- Hutmaker's nickname -- all appear in the song.

Some of Hutmaker's friends think the story is true. "I believe 100 percent that it did happen. I would never think of him making anything up, fib or lie," said Paul Huber, who runs a funeral home in Excelsior.

Hutmaker was what one might call a town character. He didn't work much during his life. He was different and could be heard talking to himself on Excelsior's streets, with a cigar clinched in his teeth.

He would show you his business card, declaring he was Excelsior's Roving Ambassador.

Most in town could count him as a friend, said Huber.

For much of his life he lived in the home his family moved into in the late 1940s, when Hutmaker was a teenager.

He walked the streets day and night, winter and summer, visiting businesses that often had him in for coffee or a bite to eat.

Huber said Hutmaker stopped by for most funerals and visitations at his funeral home.

Huber once asked him why he came to so many funerals.

"He said it was because it was the second most prayed-in building in the world" after churches, said Huber. "He felt closer to God here."

Hutmaker's brother, Ralph, used to keep an eye on him, but when he died three years ago, former City Council member Bob Bolles of Excelsior stepped up his friendship with Hutmaker.

Bolles and his wife, Diane, had him over for dinner every week and made sure he got to make his rounds of Excelsior's business district.

Bolles recalled that Jimmy probably knew just about everyone in town and would engage many who walked by, knowing the names of just about everyone's children, what church the family attended and their family history.

"He had a witty sense of humor. He had an extra-good memory of details about peoples' lives," said Bolles. "He was proud of Excelsior and proud of his friends."

Bolles took Hutmaker to the 1997 Rolling Stones concert at the Metrodome. Mr. Jimmy, outfitted in top hat and tails, held court in the concourse, as news people and others gathered.

"Jimmy stood there, telling his tale of talking with Jagger several times. I'll never forget Jimmy standing there, giving autographs."We never got back to our seats, because of Jimmy's popularity," said Bolles. "He was like the rock star."

He might have missed most of the show, but as Hutmaker often told folks, "you can't always get what you want."

He has no immediate survivors. Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 13 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 680 Mill St., Excelsior.

Ben Cohen • bcohen@startribune.com

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