People of Faith - Tom Hutyler

Mariners announcer Tom Hutyler isn’t actually the voice of God

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Interview by Dan Lee

Tom Hutyler has been the public address announcer for the Seattle Mariners for more than 25 years. He is also the co-anchor of the afternoon news on KOMO Newsradio.

Hutyler was born in Spokane and launched his radio career in the Inland Northwest. He has worked for several stations in the Seattle market, including KJR-AM, KUBE-FM, KVI-AM and KLSY-FM.

He spent 15 years as the head baseball coach at Seattle Preparatory School and five years coaching the girls’ basketball team. He is an avid golfer, music fan and reader of novels, and loves spending time with his family: wife Terri, daughters Courtney and Kelsey, son Connor and granddaughter Leoni.

The Hutylers are longtime members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in West Seattle.

Tell me about your faith journey and the role your Catholic faith plays in your everyday life.
Well, my faith journey was probably not altogether different from a lot of young guys growing up in the 1970s, where we tended to go off on our own and maybe didn’t continue our faith with regards to weekly Mass and things like that in our late teens and early 20s. But I got married at the age of 21, and we started a family very early. And I thought that it would be a good idea to get our faith life together and provide such a faith life for our child, including a Catholic school. And so we joined Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish back in 1981, when our daughter was born.

But my faith life has always been there. Sometimes it was somewhat dormant, but always something I knew I could go back to. And I try to have it play as much of a role in my daily life as I can with regard to shaping decisions I make and the way I behave and making judgments on right and wrong. And it’s certainly something that is an overriding, overarching factor in my life each day, and hopefully I’ve been able to pass that importance on to my children as well.

On your Twitter page, you say you’re “All about Faith-Family-Friends in that order.” Describe what that means to you.
I think faith has a trickle-down effect through the rest of my life. Without that, I don’t have the family that I have, I don’t have the friends that I have, I don’t make the choices that I make. Faith shapes our family life and the way I try to interact with my family. And my faith affects the way I try to behave with my friends. And God knows I don’t always display that, but I try, in some small way, to let that shine through in the way I live my life. And again, it sometimes is under a pretty thick bank of clouds. But I try to let that faith shape everything I do, and that’s why it’s at the top.

Talk a little bit about your daily prayer life.
I always wake up and do an act of contrition to get me started, and then I have a daily prayer book that starts with the Advent season and goes through the year — it’s got a psalm and the Gospel reading and a reflection on that. It’s a good way, I think, to get my day started. Then every night I say some prayers for my family and friends and my personal intentions. I also enjoy taking a walk or something where I can just find a little peace and quiet to pray during that time.

It does get busy and you kind of lose track and you think, boy, I’ve got to make time for that. And sometimes, the ideal time is not there. But I’m always trying to at least get something in the morning and something in the evening where I can spend a little time reflecting on what I need to reflect on.

You mentioned taking a walk to kind of clear your head. Where else do you find God in the day-to-day chaos of our lives?
You know, nature is a great place. I go to Eastern Washington rather frequently. If I’m driving through Snoqualmie Pass, I’m just happy to look up at the hills and the mountains and the trees, and I find God present there and I kind of get chills thinking, “Look what he’s done,” and just having a deep appreciation for it. And I’ve got a granddaughter now and I just think of the miracle that that is. She is just a constant source of joy and entertainment, and I think, “What another miracle of God at work.”

Does your prayer life change at all during the Mariners baseball season?
You know, I remember as a youngster being a Washington State Cougar fan and always praying that the Cougars would be able to win this game. And I soon realized that wasn’t the way it worked. So it doesn’t really change during the Mariners season, but I’m always open to divine intervention, because they can use the help. 

You’ve been gifted with this incredible voice — I know some people call you the voice of God. Talk about that gift.
First of all, I think God probably makes me sound like a Bee Gee. But yeah, people will compliment me on my voice, and I will usually respond by saying, “Well, I had nothing to do with it.” When I pray, I always thank God for being able to use my voice to earn a living for my family. And I try to use it as a lector at Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s been a great blessing to me and I do not take it for granted.

How do you share your Catholic faith with others?
There’s that old saying that if anybody were to accuse you of being a Christian or a Catholic, would there be enough evidence to convict you? And I don’t know. You’re being quite a rebel if you’re actually living your faith in this day and age. And sometimes, I’m not brave enough to do it like I should. I know we’re called to spread the Gospel, called to live the Gospel. And I’m flawed and weak and I need help. But I try. If anybody approaches me about it, I’m certainly glad to share my faith with them. And I try to live in a manner that would indicate that my faith is paramount in my life.

One of the things I started doing a few years back was always crossing myself before I ate a meal, whether that was in public or private. A couple of Catholics have approached me and said, “You’re the only guy I know that does that.” I said, “Well, I figure it’s a small badge of my faith that I can share and let people know that I’m giving thanks for that meal.” But, yeah, it’s a constant struggle. It’s a constant battle against societal norms in a secular world. But I try. And I know we believe in a merciful God who will always give us another shot. 

Dan Lee is a freelance journalist and a member of St. Barbara Parish in Black Diamond. This interview has been condensed and edited.

NORTHWEST CATHOLIC - May 2014

Dan Lee

Dan Lee is a freelance journalist and a member of St. Barbara Parish in Black Diamond.

Website: www.webershandwickseattle.com/author/dan-lee/