27 April 2012
This is not going to go down as one of the happiest weeks in our lives.
Our friend Jim Hutchinson lost his battle with bladder cancer this morning. Our hearts are very heavy today. Like Will, Jim was one of the good guys and everybody loved him. He was also a quiet man and so I didn't know him as well as I knew his wife Pat, but Walt worked with him on projects for the Davis Comic Opera Company and, for the past couple of years on the board of, "Citizens Who Care" (CWC). a group which provides social support services to Yolo County adults and their family caregivers.
Jim's CWC profile gives a hint of the kind of person he was:
Jim Hutchinson is a long time member of Citizens Who Care. He served on the board from 1995 'till 2004, and returned to the board in the Fall of 2006. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Winter Concert Committee, and is an In-Home Respite Volunteer. He formats the Newsletter and is the web manager of the CWC web site. Jim is an Emeritus Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He retired 1993 and enjoys Golf, Bridge and singing. He was active for many years in the Davis Comic Opera Company and now sings with the University Chorus. He is still professionally active in organizing the biennial International Symposium on the Vibration of Continuous Systems, and runs the web site for that organization (www.isvcs.org).
We met Jim and Pat through the Davis Comic Opera Company (DCOC), so he has been in our lives for almost our entire time in Davis. Their son Bill was a member of the Sunshine Children's Theater with our kids and their daughter Kate owns Ciocolat, where we just were on Tuesday.
Jim was a performer (among lots of other things) with DCOC and Pat, for years and years, was the house manager.
Man with a Load of Mischief , 1984
(Photo by Tom Estes)
One of his roles was as one of the ghosts in Ruddygore. For those who don't know the show, the set for Act 2 includes life-size portraits which hang in a gallary and at a point, the portraits came to life. This means that the actors who play the figures in the portraits must resemble those figures and when the show finished, Jim took his portrait home. It hung on the end wall of their hall...and completely covered the wall. It was quite an experience the first time you headed off to the rest room and saw this humongous painting of a guy in a suit of armor staring at you.
There were so many parties and dinners at Pat and Jim's, Jim always the gracious host ready to share a glass of wine with his friends, Pat cooking wonderful gourmet suppers. Their living room had stained glass windows on either side of the fireplace, which Jim had made when taking a class in stained glass.
He was a man of many talents. In later years, I mostly saw him when he and Walt got together to transport ficus trees to the theater for the annual Citizens Who Care fund raising concert. DCOC owned six ficus trees which lived most of the year in a garage, but Jim and Walt would cart them out each year and take them to the theater and then back into storage. They just did that this last February, in fact. Jim had been undergoing chemotherapy, but was looking well and was not going to pass up the chance to work on that 20th anniversary CWC show.
If you needed an MC, Jim was the guy who could do it for. After the last performance of the CWC show, it was Jim who handed out the gifts to all of the performers.
The thing about guys like Will and Jim is that they had such huge hearts and they touched so many lives. I'm sure I don't know a fraction of all the ways that Jim helped everybody that he met. But he was one of the original good guys and there are many sad people in the world today, hearing of his loss.