Every small community has at least one major character, and in Excelsior, Jimmy Hutmaker was that guy. A small, disheveled man with a mischievous smile, Hutmaker shuffled up and down the sidewalks of main street for 50 years, greeting passersby and sharing jokes and stories with those he knew and loved.
"He just had a really cool sense of humor, he would stop and tell us little stories and little jokes, and then he would chuckle," recalled Deb Winrow, longtime manager of Noah's Ark Pet Shop. "He was just a really fun guy, I liked Jimmy a lot. We're going to miss him."
Hutmaker died at an Excelsior-area nursing home Wednesday at age 75, after struggling for years with diabetes.
While most people in town knew him from his constant presence in town, people around the world knew 'of' him because of his tenuous tie to the Rolling Stones, and one of the bands legendary songs.
Hutmaker maintained that he was the 'Mr. Jimmy' Jagger sang about in "You can't always get what you want" after a chance encounter the two had in an Excelsior drug store back in 1964.
The now-legendary rock and roll outfit was in town to play a concert at a local dance hall.
"He said to me, Mr Jimmy, what's the problem? I said, I ordered a cherry soda, they won't take it back", Hutmaker told KARE 11's Allen Costantini in February 1999. "He said, 'cheer up, tomorrow will be a brighter day' Well, I want you to know Mick... you can't always get what you want."
Jagger never acknowledged the conversation 'or' using it as an inspiration, but that never seemed to bother Jimmy Hutmaker. He continued to follow the Rolling Stones, and was recognized by fans. In fact, when he attended a Stones concert in 1997 with friend Bob Bolles, the two barely saw a song, because concertgoers were mobbing Jimmy, asking for autographs and pictures.
"There were a couple of ladies that put their arms around him, and he's got a tremendous smile on his face," said Bolles, pointing to a picture of Jimmy and some of his fans. "It really made him a celebrity in town here, and all over the Twin Cities."
In truth, Hutmaker's 15 minutes of fame had little impact on the way he lived his daily life. Those who didn't know him may have crossed the street, or shied away when they saw the slightly unkempt man who served as Excelsior's unofficial mascot approaching. The loss was theirs.
"You open your heart, and open that door," reflected longtime friend Vicki Izquierdo. "There are so many things that come from it instead of just walking past people."
(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)