Bart Huthwaite

September 11, 1938July 6, 2020

Bart Huthwaite of Mackinac Island, MI and Punta Gorda Isles, FL, a larger than life maverick, died peacefully on July 6th following a brief illness.

Bart was born in Detroit on September 11, 1938, attended Detroit Southeastern High School and the University of Michigan, and received his graduate degree from Tulane University. Bart received a full scholarship to Michigan as an Evans Scholar. As a student and a rebel at UM, Bart served as the editor of the Michigan Daily newspaper and was also a member of Sigma Delta Chi, a professional journalism fraternity.

Shortly after graduation from the University of Michigan in 1960 with a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism, Bart married his high school sweetheart, Nina Perry in 1961. They were married for over 59 years, raised two wonderful children and enjoyed five grandchildren.

Although he had an adventurous past, he was rarely interested in talking about it as his eye was always towards the future. Bart went on to be the founder of the Huthwaite Innovation Institute and helped companies around the world in a spectrum of industries to increase the value and reduce the waste of their products and services. He operated the Institute for close to forty years and as anyone who knew him will attest, he was passionate about his work.

Bart was one of the first importers of robotics and was a leading expert in design for manufacturability and assembly. This experience ultimately led to the creation of his Lean Design Method including his beloved strategic “ilities” and evil “ings” which he used to help companies create products with more value and less waste. He worked closely with scores of global companies, including GE, Ford, Nestle, General Dynamics, Gulfstream, 3M, Steelcase, Microsoft, Siemens, Eaton, and many other Fortune 500 companies, and he published several seminal books in the field.

Bart’s endless energy, vision and initiative transformed Mackinac Island for generations, and he and Nina touched many lives. Bart was an active member and former Commodore of the Mackinac Island Yacht Club. A lifelong sailor and boater, Bart preferred to be addressed as “The Commodore,” to which he would always fondly reply, “Thank you for recognizing my rank.” Bart helped to extend yacht racing on the island beyond the races up Lakes Huron and Michigan to include the Mackinac Island to Manitoulin race, Lightning regattas and Round the Island Races. Bart also founded the Bernida Restoration Project in an effort to bring the boat that won the first Port Huron to Mackinac yacht race in 1925 back into racing form. It ultimately won the race again in 2012. Bart’s legacy lives on in the Bart Huthwaite Mackinac Island Boating Fund which he created to encourage boating among youth on the island.

Bart was also a visionary in starting the Mackinac Island Horseman’s Association and building the community barn and riding program for island residents, cottagers and tourists. Although he was an atrocious golfer with no natural ability or even interest, he enjoyed the social aspects of golf with his kids and grandkids and served three years as President of the Wawashkamo Golf Club. Bart loved the island and helped the community in too may ways to recount, but his biggest legacy was building bridges between people and helping to create memories. You never knew who would be at one of his many parties, but you always knew it would be an eclectic mix and guaranteed to be fun. After a hard day’s work, he would often say that it was time to turn on the “Fun light”, may it shine on eternal for him now.

Bart is survived by his loving wife, Nina (Perry), son William Barton “Bart” Huthwaite, Jr. (Kristen) and daughter Heather Huthwaite Martin (Sean) and his adoring grandchildren Caroline, Aidan and Avery Martin and Kate and Charles (“Chaz”) Huthwaite. Bart is also survived by two brothers, Robert “Bob” Huthwaite (Dianne) of Dawsonville, GA and Peter Huthwaite (Laura) of Grosse Pointe Park. He was predeceased by his older brother, John and sister in law, Penny Huthwaite. Bart is also survived by his many nieces, nephews and cousins, and by many extended family members and friends who all loved him and whom he adored like family.

Bart will be remembered at private memorial followed by a public graveside service on Mackinac Island on Sunday, July 19 at 2:00PM in The Mackinac Island Cemetery. As a larger than life character, his celebration of life can’t be constrained by a global pandemic and therefore will be postponed until the summer of 2021.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to one of the following three organizations via the Mackinac Island Community Foundation at Bart Huthwaite Mackinac Island Boating Fund Mackinac State Historic Parks Fund Mackinac Horsemen's Association Fund



  • Graveside Service

    Sunday, July 19, 2020


  • Celebration of Life will take place in Summer 2021


Bart Huthwaite

have a memory or condolence to add?

Peggy Carter

July 27, 2020

Nina , We've been thinking about you often.” So sad about Bart and all that you two went through. May God bless you and your Family.

Peggy and Ron Carter

David Tang

July 21, 2020

I am very sad to hear that Bart has pas away. Last summer when I
visited him he with my brother jeff he took us, to a restaurant
and let us play bowling I was very grateful. Bart has always been my friend. He has also given me a book that he wrote called the rules
of innovation. Bart was a great person all the time.

Lynne and Art Armstrong

July 12, 2020

As Past Commodore of the Isles Yacht Club, which Nina and Bart were members, it was always fun to acknowledge Bart went he came through the front door "Hello Commodore, followed by thank you for recognizing my rank", Bart acknowledged my rank right back. Before living in Florida we were residents in Michigan. Our annual boat trip was to Mackinac Island. The island is the closest thing to heaven short of being there. Nina and Bart were always gracious when we met. Bart, may the wind always be at your back. We love you and miss you very much.

Dave Sanderson

July 10, 2020

Rest in Peace my friend.

Dave and Carla Sanderson, Cygnet, Ohio and Mackinac Island, MI

Jim Lenfestey

July 10, 2020

Among the many over-the-top Bartisms on Mackinac, this one amazes. Somehow he located the Bernina, the sloop which won the first Pt. Huron race, and said, "hey , let's restore it!" Next thing we see are people all over the island wearing Bernina hats. Next thing we know the boat is being rebuilt top to bottom. Next thing we know she wins the 2012 (I think) race in her class. Impossible! Yet saw it with my own eyes. Bart was a wild-eyed inclusive Enthusiast, but much more, he made his enthusiasms come to life! What castles he is already building on the Other Side!

Heidi O’Gorman

July 9, 2020

Nina, so sorry to hear this very sad news. Our fondest memory of Bart, one of many, is spending time together on Useppa, with Bart showing us framed photos hanging on the wall of the Collier Inn bar of his fictitious “Aunt Alice” hauling in a prize tarpon. It was a great story, spun masterfully and he had me hooked for several minutes! Sending you love and hugs from both of us.

George D Goodman

July 9, 2020

To Nina and family, Judith joins me in extending our deepest sympathy. Bart was always fun to be around. We always enjoyed his company. He was a great supporter of Mackinac Island and will be missed. May the memories of his wonderful life help to ease the pain of your loss.

Mark Bellissimo

July 9, 2020

Larger than life, indeed! As a colleague of Bart Jr., I only met the Commodore once, when he opened his Mackinac Island home to my family for an afternoon. A warm, energetic, practiced conversationalist, we passed the afternoon on his family's expansive porch carrying on as old friends. Pretty rare qualities from an exceptional man.

A mighty oak has definitely fallen.

Mark Bellissimo -- Bloomfield Village, Michigan

Carolyn Robinson

July 9, 2020

We are so sorry to hear of Bart's passing. Our prayers and sincere condolences are sent to you Nina and your family. Bart was a wonderful man and will be missed by all who knew him. Keep your wonderful memories close to your heart. You now have a guardian angel. R.I.P. Bart

Buzz Yates

July 8, 2020

I never spent a minute around Bart that I didn’t enjoy. RIP


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