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In Memory of Jim Hutchins

November 17, 1935-February 24, 2024

This memorial book has been lovingly compiled by the Hutchins family.  We are deeply touched by the beautiful memories.

It would have been impossible to request a submission from all of Jim’s connections, or to provide enough time for everyone to collect their thoughts.

Happily, this book will become a “living memorial” to Jim at

If you are inspired to share, please email your remembrance to with the subject line “Remembering Jim”.  Make sure to include how you would like the message signed.  Understand that your submission will be published at

One of Jim’s favorite memories….

Swimming with Salmon

September 19, 2013

Heading home following my 3-day trip working with coastal kiddos, I stopped one last time for a dip in the South Umpqua, just upriver from Roseburg Lumber.  During summer visits I had seen bass, mostly small, rolling for flies.

After pushing off the huge rock, to my amazement, I saw a huge fish roll.  Wow, that’s not a bass.  It’s a Chinook salmon.  Lots of salmon rolling 8 to 10 feet from me as I paddled around.     Salmon were rolling upstream and downstream.

I swam with salmon.

Up on the huge rock as I left, I could see 10 or 12 pods of fish, 6 or 10 per pod. I counted 9 in one pod that passed by 10 feet away.  Circling, rolling, and dancing, waiting for the rain.

I swam with salmon.  ~Jim Hutchins


In Memory of Jim Hutchins By Rich Rosenthal, Director of Medford Parks and Recreation

Hutch was a man of many rituals, and one of them was his insistence on meeting with the Parks and Recreation Director – me and only me – on a monthly basis, and specifically on a Wednesday morning, sometimes 9, sometimes 9:30. Because, after all, Jim was a monumentally busy octogenarian on a tight schedule! And he’d dutifully type a meeting agenda, although it was pretty much the same stuff each month.

I’ll miss these meetings not only because of the importance of Jim’s work in the overall framework to what the City of Medford wants to accomplish in our park system and in riparian areas, but because meeting with Jim was a kaleidoscope of an experience. Except for him showing up, generally seven minutes early, you never knew what direction the discussion would go.

There was always the no-nonsense Man-on-a-Mission flavor of Hutch’s personality. Interrupt or disrupt his section of the agenda at your own peril!

And there was the Bob Hope Hutch – when the conversation would veer into comedy hour, verbally jousting and teasing, and joke telling. And the referencing and repetition of good-natured teasing from previous meetings, some from the distant past. Lots of laughs!

There was the Guru Hutch – the portion of the meeting where he’d drop some pretty deep philosophical stuff on you. Upon conclusion of the very serious point, he’d give you the paternal serious look to make sure 1. You were listening closely, and 2. Understood his point, whatever it was. Sometimes I’d push back on his pearl of wisdom with a witty comment, and sometimes he would be amused by that comment. I enjoyed trying to throw him off his game!

There was Panther Hutch – the avid South Medford High sports fan, who would recap the Panther football, basketball and baseball team accomplishments, and retell stories about his interactions with the various head coaches. “Cut-the-Red-Tape” Hutch would frequently show up to the meeting, bemoaning government bureaucracy and more specifically conflicting processes and procedures of regulatory agencies. And at the top of the list were the Medford parking lot rules enforcement officers, who had the audacity of ticketing Jim’s illegally parked white pickup truck while he was working along the creek. He never, ever forgot the audacity of being fined for doing a good deed.

I saw the “Don’t Mess With Me” Hutch a lot in which he’d talk about unnerving encounters with challenged people he encountered along the Greenway who threw rocks, shoes, and branches at him. Jim had a lot of compassion for them but definitely not for the speeding cyclists along the Greenway. What angered Jim the most was when he was startled and/or sideswiped by thoughtless bike riders along the Greenway. “Can’t you ticket these people?,” he’d fume. And he didn’t like my response, “Sorry but PD isn’t going to set up a speed trap for bikes on the
Greenway, Hutch.”

Along these lines was the “Stop Ruining My Life” Hutch. This was when local government staff made mistakes like accidentally mowing his young plantings, not acknowledging him when passing by, or by taking too long to respond to a particular service request, which he took as being “blown off”. He would sometimes bluster for a few minutes, get it out of his system, accept the apology or explanation, then his mood would become sunny again. After all, he was a City Councilor in Lynwood, Wash. He understood how city government worked.

And finally, what most people knew and heard from Hutch was the ultimate Environmental Steward, the kind-hearted tireless advocate for riparian restoration and management under his watch, especially how it related to teaching and helping the high-school and SOU students he mentored. And the pride he took in the accomplishments and efforts of these students, current and past. There’s no question this is Jim’s greatest legacy, among many.

Jim is gone but I refuse to let the monthly meetings go. I kept the recurring meeting notices on my electronic calendar as a way to honor him and to remember one of the greatest people I’ve met. It’ll just be a shorter meeting until the next time we meet.

Another time, Hutch!

From your City pal, Rich Rosenthal

Jim’s nephew Tedd give us a description of Jim as a young man.

I have sent two photos of my Uncle Jimmy along with Grandpa Hutchins and my Mom. These were taken at the Angle Lake home in what’s now called SeaTac, Washington and was formerly a Seattle address in unincorporated King County during that time period. The house is behind them in these pictures, as they all face the lake, and in fact are standing on Angle Lake as once upon a time the lake would freeze with ice at least 1-foot thick and as much as 2-feet thick in the winter. Ice skating was a popular activity and Jimmy, Wesley, Arthur, and my mom were all accomplished ice skaters. I inherited Jimmy’s ice hockey skates that were stored away at the Angle Lake house, and I eventually used them on the Lake and also at the Lake we lived on at Twin Lakes Golf & Country Club in Federal Way, WA. Those were fun times filled with very fond memories as Uncle Jimmy and the family would visit a few weekends each month and/or we would visit at his home in Lynnwood, WA.

Please find below my fondest remembrances of Uncle Jimmy:

My fondest remembrances of my late Uncle Jim all took place from when I was just a child up thru the age of 14 years in 1971. Our family was still relatively close before the time when relationships changed and families were broken apart by dissolution of marriage and people moving and just plain life.

I remember while living at Angle Lake and also at the old Anderson house when Jimmy would take me for walks and we would go fishing or check the traps he set for muskrats and other animals. I remember when we were visiting his Lynnwood home and he took me downstairs and showed me his traps and how they worked and his large collection of pelts from that seasons trappings. He told me how he tanned the hides so that the fur remained intact on the tanned hide. Jimmy was the person who taught me how to tie a fishhook and a fishing lure and how to catch a fish and clean the fish and how to cook the fish. Jimmy was an avid outdoorsman and loved all creatures, including those he trapped and caught or harvested for food. I learned a lot about the outdoors from my Uncle Jim during those days.

When I was 12 years old in 1969, I was already a big fan of rock-n-roll music and the blues, as opposed to the modern pop music. Album Rock was just coming into its own and getting a lot of airplay on AM Station KOL, and FM Radio was in its infancy with KISW and KZOK playing album rock exclusively. My favorite Band during this time and one of my favorites still to this day as I write these words, is Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) and that was also Uncle Jims favorite Band at the time. Uncle Jimmy had to beg my Mom to allow me to attend the CCR concert at the Seattle Center Arena. On Saturday, July 12, 1969 Jimmy took my cousins and me to see the concert and this one act of kindness by my Uncle Jimmy is the standout memory of him for me, especially since my own mother and his own sister was suffocatingly strict and overly protective, but Jimmy was able to get her to agree. Mike said “I bet your mom’s got an Excedrin Headache right about now” as we entered the arena. It was funny because there was a funny Excedrin TV commercial that was popular, and Mike was good at making sarcastic jokes back then about everything. The concert opened with Tony Joe White who had a hit song on the Charts called “Polk Salad Annie” and another song I liked even more called “Hoochie Woman” that was lessor known. Tony Joe really set the mood for what followed with CCR taking the stage and playing their music practically album perfect. That was an accomplishment that most bands can’t even duplicate to this day except a few select bands, and no pop bands whatsoever. I remember Mike, Mark, and I think John was there and Julie too, and we were all laughing and giggling about all the marijuana smoke and other intoxicants that were clearly visible to our young impressionable eyes and senses. Mike was cracking me up with his usual humor and Uncle Jimmy had his hands full keeping us in check as we were all supposed to be on our best behavior. That was my first of many Concerts I’ve attended over the decades and I will always cherish the fond memories I have of 1969, because of my Uncle Jimmy taking me to my very first Rock Concert. It was so awesome thanks to Uncle Jim!

About 2 years later in 1971, after I turned 14, we had moved from the Country Club lifestyle at Twin Lakes in Federal Way to the tiny little cow-pie town of Colfax, WA that was the County seat for Whitman County with a whopping population of 1650 in 1971, mostly cattle and rednecks. I hated it! As a result I ran away from Colfax and my overbearing ultra strict parents, twice within the first 90-days. I know my Mom asked Jimmy if he would come to Colfax and try and “get through to me” and so we spent an entire day and evening together. Jimmy took me pheasant hunting alongside the Palouse River just outside of town. This was my first experience hunting anything beyond frogs. Jimmy taught me how to hunt pheasant that day and how to operate and handle and shoot a 12 gauge shotgun. That was also my first experience with a firearm. Jimmy taught me firearms safety and talked with me about firearms responsibility, it’s stuck with me all these years later. I’m grateful for the time he took to spend with me, even though I had this funny feeling I might get accidentally shot by a 12 gauge that day…lol.

As the years passed and our lives grew apart and life got in the way of family and friendships and relationships, I’ve never forgotten the kindness that Uncle Jim gave to me nor the lessons in life that he taught me. He has given me much to remember during a brief time during the formative years early in my life that’ll remain with me along with his memory till my end of days, may Uncle Jim rest in peace.

Regarding the Creedence Clearwater Revival concert, I’ve sent a photo of an actual promotional poster for that concert we attended back in 1969. There’s a very good concert from their European tour during the same time, and it’s more of a documentary but with lots of actual footage and the sounds decent and it’s obvious just how talented the guys were as they sounded almost album perfect and stayed true to their sound and music, unlike these no talent so-called artist today that rely on lip sync and overdubbed instruments while they pretend to sing and play whatever.

One last story:
As a kid I used to have a nickname for my Uncle Arthur and Uncle Jimmy whenever I’d see them together at family get togethers,, and I always had a laugh inside about it because they really did remind me of Laurel and Hardy, especially because Arthur was a big strong ox of a man and because Jimmy was a tall lanky man, just like them two comedians. I always kept that to myself until now.
They were both funny when they were together and when they teased my mom. Both of them were very good to my younger brother and I, and that’s what’s important to a kid because we remember those who are kind and good.


Tedd Branstetter, Nephew of Jim Hutchins


In Loving Memory of my Father, Jim Hutchins
 Living the Dream on Jamberry Farm in the Rogue River Valley

From his son, Mark Hutchins

The cool morning dew renews the day in the valley, deer meander in the field keeping a close eye on their fawn.

A countryside run through historic downtown Jacksonville past breathtaking vineyards, Victorian homes and B&Bs that have stood the test of time.

A sunrise visit bringing fresh garden cut flowers to Pony Espresso to enjoy coffee, breakfast burritos and conversation with good friends — if only time stood still.

Taking in the beauty of the abundant gardens of vegetables and spring flowers thoughtfully tended to throughout the seasons. Sunflowers swaying, reaching for the skies.

Alpacas roam freely through the fields admired by curious children and guarded by the dog, Cody, with reason.

A guided tour through the majestic Rogue River, very tranquil and still — the fly fishing is great, but the catching is not. Wishing this day would never end.

Wine tasting at family style local vineyards, enjoying Oregon Pinot Noir, set amongst beautiful gardens and vistas, who could ask for more?

Farmers Market, taking in all the senses of endless displays of plants, flowers, and locally grown treasures.

Water coloring leaves with a rainbow of colors producing masterpieces to cherish.

A memorable dinner in a historic B&B Victorian home in Jacksonville, enjoying fine wine, food, and family.

Admiring the beauty and stillness of the forest,  looking for signs of Salmon soaring upstream, a true miracle is happening in Bear Creek.

Amazing sunrises and sunsets, meandering mountains and fields, sunny days drifting on the river.

We were living the dream on Jamberry Farm in the Rogue River Valley….  Mark Hutchins


From his son, JP Hutchins

My mother and father instilled a sense of magic and possibility throughout my childhood—let me give an example.

When I was 4 years old, I loved the picture book “Whale in the Sky” by Anne Siberell.  The folktale was originally depicted in Northwest Native American tree carvings, so, naturally, my father contracted a wood carver friend, George Deforest, to recreate the totem pole from the book for our garden at Jamberry Farm.

Meanwhile, my mother contacted the author and invited her to attend a dedication where the totem pole would be installed.

And so, there I was.  The totem pole from the story had come to life.  The author from my favorite book gave a speech.

For me, it was normal.

I’d like to share with you, dear friend of Jim Hutchins, that Jim Hutchins was normal.  (I wish you could ask him!)  He took pride in his abilities, but only in the same way he was proud of his friends: the businessperson, the poet, the painter, the musician, the hunter, the organizer, the preacher, the worker, the teacher, the fishing guide, the farmer — everyone.

So, I will tell you my father’s secret: he worked hard.  More than you thought.  He would sit at the table, carefully planning—perhaps bringing a folktale to life or even fostering agreement among a logging company, a hunter’s association, environmentalists, and county politicians—and then enlist his connections (friends) and share his time to do it.  And he would get tired, frustrated, he would fail and get angry, he would be impossibly sad, filled to the brim with grief and regret, burdened by guilt and fear, but he would keep working until his last days.

    As I got older, the sense of magic and possibility faded.  I feel the weight of hopelessness in the face of incomprehensibly complex problems.  But that’s wrong.  Jim Hutchins would brag to his friends about your accomplishments!  Hard work reveals that the problems aren’t so complex, that we don’t really disagree, that we do have the time, the money, the people, everything.

So I’m thankful that I ended up normal like my dad—stubborn, and unyielding in the face of challenges, and a little annoying.

Dad, I am so proud of you and everything you accomplished together with my mom and your friends.  With eternal love, JP


From his grandson, Noah Zermeno

My Grandpa Jim was truly one-of-a-kind. He was beloved by so many – even the salmon seemed to like him. How could you not smile and laugh in his presence? I cherished our time together, relishing his bright smile and sharp mind. His dedication to fishing, teaching, and preserving the environment has always inspired me.

He didn’t care about money or material things – and neither do I. Yet, his generosity knew no bounds. Among my grandparents, he was the only one who actively sought to be a part of my life, for which I’ll forever be grateful. Before I left for Medford to say my goodbyes, my 4 year old son told me to bring him his “blankie so grandpa stays warm.”

I remember fondly on a fishing charter he had booked for us on the Rogue River when I finished my sandwich for lunch…and I was still hungry. “Boy, you are hungry! Here, take my sandwich.” He gave me his food and laughed at my insatiable appetite. He was kind like that.

His passing taught me that life is short, and the only thing that matters is relationships. Relationships with family, connections with friends, and being one with Mother Earth define our existence. I don’t think my grandpa wasted a day on this Earth.

March 5th, my birthday, became a bleak reminder of his absence. Every year, he would call to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ – forever etched in my memory. When I confided in my mother, she honored his tradition by serenading me over the phone. She sang it just like he did. We both cried, a testament to the deep void his absence has left. He will forever hold a special place in my heart. Miss and love you, Grandpa. Say hi to Mike and John for me. I’ll be seeing you.

Noah Zermeno



Dear Jim,

Your deep water-colored eyes

Brim with emotion

Reminiscing the past

Protecting the future

Loving every minute of life

Every fish counted

Every seed, every tree planted

In the ground

In a young mind

Cultivated fruitfully

Over time

You have taught us to pay attention

Test the waters

Jump in

Feel the winds changing

See the tides turning

Don’t get pulled down

Hold on and make waves

Remain grounded in truth


The righteous evergreens reaching

The hearty hazelnuts hiding

The salmon spawning

Fish climbing ladders

Bullfrogs, tadpoles

Hornets’ nests and birds galore

Every day is an adventure

You have shown so many

The Power of Being

Stewards of our Land

Caretakers you’ve inspired

It’s our charge

Sparked by you

Your ripple effect leaves

Big waders to fill.

Jaime Kinstler (Szijjarto)

From Coquille Oregon

I served as the principal of Coquille High School for ten years and worked with Jim during that time.  Jim helped me learn how to slow down and work on real human connections.  When he visited the school I would stop anything I was doing and give him my full attention.  He taught us that real attention, listening and genuine communication are the important things in a day and what allows us to connect to each other.  I will miss him.

Jeff Philley


Jim, formerly known as Hutch

One of the assumptions I’ve harbored for decades is that Jim would keep going strong into his nineties for sure and quite possibly well into his hundreds. We call him the Energizer Bunny, A Force of Nature. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the idea that we can’t see him, that he doesn’t have a physical arm around Carla or isn’t adding background comments when Carla and I talk on the phone. Because Jim is a present tense guy.

When I first met him, I didn’t trust him. He once told me that, as a salesman, he would promise customers anything and then make sure it happened. It sounded a bit fishy. How could he promise everything in every situation? What was my friend Carla getting into?

Jim decided to go into landscaping. What? As far as I knew, he didn’t actually know anything about it. But he started his own landscaping business, which grew as he lived right into it.

In 1985, Normal Heights had what was then the worst brush fire in San Diego history. It destroyed 76 homes and damaged many others. The day after the fire was extinguished, Jim appeared with plants he then put into the ground for his affected customers so they would have some beauty around them in the midst of the devastation.

And I think everyone knows the rest of what he and Carla put into present tense, like Oregon Stewardship. His example shows me how I can act to manifest a healthier future. I’m, hopefully, a better person for knowing him. My heart is happier knowing how much he loves Carla, his family, his people, salmon, habitat—so much.

And I’m realizing how much he teaches me about God. God is the Great I Am, in present tense. We are made in God’s image, and God is love. Jim helps me connect those beliefs in new ways—like why we say “I do” instead of “I will.” And if God is love, if we are God’s image, and if God is eternal, love is eternal, then the love we receive, add to, pass on is eternal.

So even though we won’t see Jim here (although, with Jim, who can be sure?) I have to talk about him in the present tense. Hey, Jim’s a force of nature and a force of God, man! I pray that all of us who love Jim find peace in knowing that Jim’s ripples and love continue within us and continue to spread.

And I’ll play my internal movie of Jim’s expressions of incredulity when he tells some of his stories, his grin, his relentless energy, commitment and kindness, and the touch of pride in his voice when speaks about his kids or says, “My bride.”

Love, Cindy


I loved Jim for his expansive acceptance and inclusion of everyone, including me and my three sons, now age 46, 41, and 38. He was always interested in my boys, Matt, Andy, and Evan, what they were doing and how they were doing. He took them fishing, and likely shared his knowledge of salmon and life with them. He was the most enthusiastic promoter of my flower book.

He lived his faith daily by his kindness, his writing, his reading, his art, and his stewardship of nature, mentoring and encouraging young people, and his ever willingness to help. He touched many lives in his long life. I will miss him.

Love, Susan MacKinnon


I’ve been reflecting on Jim’s mentorship when I was younger, especially those days spent along the Applegate River in Southern Oregon. I have a fond reminiscence of our time together on the river, especially as I fish new rivers here in southern British Columbia. I’m grateful for the valuable lessons that Jim imparted upon me during those trips. His mentorship extended far beyond simply teaching me how to fish. He instilled in me a deep respect for nature and appreciation for life. His wisdom and patience helped shape my love for fishing but also my character and perspective on the world.

I want him to know that his legacy will live on through the people he has influenced. He really made a profound difference in my life, and I am thankful for his mentorship.

Kind Regards,  Matt MacKinnon

Many students at Curry, Coos and Jackson County schools participated in his program teaching stewardship through activities focused on natural resource conservation.  Working with local kids gave our younger generation a clear direction and the values needed to maintain our beautiful Oregon for future generations.  His program, Oregon Stewardship, with help from students, planted hundreds of trees, helped build
and maintain the Elephant Bar trail and  many  other hands-on projects that students and teachers enjoyed. Do you remember Jim and his positive personality?

John and Deb Wilson


I first met Jim when I was a young student at Ophir Elementary School. I remember him coming in to facilitate outdoor education and art activities in our classroom. Later, when I became a teacher at Riley Creek, he came in every year to take my students on hikes along the Elephant Bar Trail that he built with his group of high school students from Gold Beach High School. He was a master at educating my students about the animal and plant life along the trail. He used storytelling to capture their attention and teach them information about the ecosystem. After the hike he would plan follow-up descriptive writing, art and poetry lessons in the classroom that tied in with what the students experienced on the trail. The students adored him and were always excited when Mr. Hutchins stopped by.

One thing that Jim always emphasized with my students is how important a written note is. He would encourage them to write notes to the people they cared about or were thinking of. Especially when it was time to thank someone. So here is my thank you note to Jim:

Dear Jim,  Thank you for your years of service to our students. Your love for the outdoors, art and poetry was evident and touched countless lives. I will always appreciate your kindness and support. May your memory always be present in the sights, sounds and touch of nature. Rest in peace Jim! 

Brianna McGinnis

Dear Carla and Family –

I remember when I was working at South Medford Jim stopped by my office and shared with me how amazing our students were and how much he enjoyed working with him.
I am grateful that he took the time to teach them about our environment.  He was an amazing mentor.

When my father passed away in 2007, I was deeply saddened, but knew that he was no longer in pain and was worshiping in Heaven.  The song by Mercy Me “I can only imagine” has always been special to me and I knew that my father no longer had to imagine what it would be walking by  His side. I know that this is the same for Jim, he was a great man of faith!

Though he is no longer here with us on the earth, celebrate his new life in Heaven

With Sympathy and Celebration, Tim and Lynn Rupp, Members of Ascension Lutheran Church.


Coquille River

Hutch loved to fish!   In the mid 1990’s we were steelhead fishing on the South Fork Coquille River.  One of the few times Mel Sherbourne let me go fishing with Hutch :)! This was the best steelhead fishing day I’ve ever experienced! Although Hutch was hooking fish as well, I hooked a nice one,
and before Hutch had a chance to argue, the rods were switched. After landing a nice buck, Hutch admitted, it was the biggest steelhead he had ever caught!  Whenever we were fishing together, I never let him forget that the biggest steelhead he ever caught was the rod handed to him.


Hutch has been responsible for more improved stream side habitat projects and trail systems than anyone else I know. His Bear Creek project, is by itself, a legacy!  And how many high school student lives has he changed with their involvement in Oregon Stewardship?  That statistic will continue on forever.

John Thiebes. ODFW, retired


Julianna, my step daughter, worked on the trails with Hutch through her high school years.  That was at least 20 years ago.  One day I was invited to join them on a trip to the
Illinois river. Once we got there, I learned that we were
going to jump off a large rock into the river.  I did it and…
it was very cold!  This is how I first met Jim.

Over the years that followed, Jim, Terry, Charley and I would meet at the Pony Expresso Coffee shop in J’ville most mornings around 7:30 AM.  You would always get harassed if you were late. Jim was very popular with the staff and they would bring his coffee to the table, while the rest of us had to go to the counter for ours.  We mostly talked about football and sometimes about politics too. We always said that we had the answers but no one was listening. Jim would tell us about his trips to the coast and the kids he worked with.  We were always amazed at what he did for those kids and what a major influence he was in their lives. One time when one of the kids needed a car to get to work and school. Hutch reached out to some of Oregon Stewardship’s supporters to donate money for the young man to buy a car.  Wow!! What a guy.

I will always remember Hutch for his great passion and commitment to the rivers and kids.  I, and so many others are grateful to have known him and will miss him a great deal.

Rod McLeod

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Jim is his smile. It would light up a room and say Hello without any words. I will never forget his dedication to conservation and his work along Bear Creek. He made his mark and will be remembered by me and many more.

Lem Wilbur


Jim Hutchins will always be Leader of the Elite Youth Team.

His life and energy qualify him as part of the .005 %  of humans who are Forever Super Young.  Only 6% of applicants become Navy Seals, so Jim’s Super Young Qualifications make it 12 times more difficult to become part of Jim’s team.

On top of that, Jim Hutchins received more front page newspaper accolades than anyone else in the Rogue Valley. And deservedly so! Jim will always be remembered as a person who dedicated his time and energy to improving the environment and helping our youth grow into improved human beings physically, mentally, and spiritually.  He did so much for so many. The Manes family was blessed to have both our kids have an opportunity to work with Jim.  Nobody could keep up with him! And most lovely of all, Jim was my Mother’s last dance. At our daughter’s wedding in 2010, Jim came over to Glady, age 86, and asked her to dance. She was so delighted! I can still see the two of them – Jim, always the gentleman, and Mom, so happy to dance with the dashing Jim Hutchins. He lives on forever in our memories… And Jim, we will meet again on the other side. We want to walk the new
trails you are creating, watch you disengage from another blue heron in your fishing line, and enjoy your never-ending smile and good humor.  Our hearts are with all the Hutchins family.

Love, The Manes Family


I was so sorry to hear about the passing of Jim. I am out of town but heard about it through the Garden Club. Although
I didn’t really know Jim personally, I had heard him speak a few times, and I have long been an admirer of the incredible work that the two of you have done through the Oregon Stewardship. So many young people have been impacted by that wonderful organization, and carry on its work through their commitment to the environment. Jim truly made a difference in the world. I hope that during this time you are surrounded by the love and comfort of family and friends.

With best wishes, Sue Miler

I have known Jim Hutchins since I was 13 years old. Jim was one of my greatest friends, grandfather figure, and mentor. We worked many hours together and shared many memories. This was one of my favorites.

In the early summertime when I was no older than 14-15 years old, Jim invited me on a fishing trip to our local spot, Emigrant Lake. Jim, a Salmon/Steelhead fisherman, and myself a Bass fisherman loaded up Jim’s truck with our gear along with his small fiberglass boat and trolling motor. While out on the lake, Jim and I were having a great time laughing, sharing stories, and even helping a non-local bass fisherman in a nice bass boat to find some spots. (In exchange he gave us 2 boxes of bass lures) While we continued to fish, Jim would constantly pick on me about how hard I would “Set the Hook”. Being a bass fisherman, we set the hook with much more force and ferocity than other anglers. Jim would joke with me and say “you’re gonna rip that poor fish’s head off with one of them hook sets!” Or “why don’t you set the hook a little harder”. Both of us sat in the boat and laughed and laughed. Well, it was my turn to get him back. Prior to all the jokes, Jim had caught a small rainbow trout which we were going to keep to eat. While Jim was busy casting out his line, I pulled out my pocket knife and cut the head off of the small trout and attached it to my hook and slowly dropped it in the water. After a few seconds I said “I think I got a bite” and I set the hook as hard as I possibly could. Jim immediately snaps back and says “Dylan, you’re gonna rip that fish’s head off you crazy kid! Don’t set the hook so hard!”
I proceeded to fight my “fish head” and just before I got it to the boat I pulled really hard and the fish head shot out of the water and landed right at the base of Jim’s feet. The look on Jim’s face you might ask? Absolutely priceless. Jim was sputtering “There’s no way, There’s no way!! I told you! I told you, you crazy kid you were gonna rip that darn fish’s head off!…. That’s not possible!!” I fell back into the boat laughing so hard
I could barely speak. I looked at Jim and said “gotcha”. As I lifted up the body of Jim’s small trout with the missing head. Jim proceeded to almost drop his rod in the water and was laughing so hard he almost fell out of the boat. We both looked like a couple of goons in the middle of the lake laughing like crazy.

I will miss Jim every day and was so blessed to have spent as much time as I did with him. His memory and legacy will never be forgotten.

-Your Friend, Dylan – Mr. Baseball.

I taught elementary school with Jayne Applen from the church. We wanted to take our 2nd graders to Denman Pond area & Jayne said she knew a guy to help us. When we arrived at the park area with 75 2nd graders, we all met “Hutch” as Jayne introduced him. He was so calm and had a big smile on his face when he saw all the kids. He led groups down to the river’s edge. Lo & behold there was a dead salmon on the shore like it had just washed up. I was as amazed as the kids exclaimed how lucky we were to see it. He then  whispered to me that he had planted it there that morning. With a chuckle, he then proceeded to tell the kids about the life cycle of the salmon.

Hutch was not intimidated by all the kids & came with us to Lithia Park on another field trip. He patiently walked the path with us explaining about the plants & trees. The kids just thought he was so smart & knew everything.

My husband & I walked the Bear Creek pathway many a day & would often come across Jim working with kids taking care of the park. What a legacy he has left to our valley! The Lord blessed us all with such a kind, dedicated & loyal man. May many wonderful memories give you warm comfort.

Vickie & Jim Grantland


Jim touched so many lives, including thousands of students.
I met him nearly 3 decades ago as a 15-year-old and the passion he had for nature, conservation, and mentoring students was apparent and still influences me today. As a university educator and scientist, I hope to bring the same energy he had. His legacy will live on in the educators and scientists he mentored.

Erim Gomez, PhD

It has been said about one’s truest calling in life that it is “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Frederich Buechner) That piece of wisdom, embodied in the life of Jim Hutchins, is my most significant memory of the time I knew him. Oh, I have stories, as we all do. Stories by Jim and about Jim fill my mind and my heart – adventures on the trail, with “the kids,” with the people who lived along Bear Creek, Jim fishing in bad weather (“There’s no one else here?! Yes!”), and countless other tales, jokes, one-liners, and marvels. I treasure these.

But through it all, one amazing reality held it all together. Jim served creation and community doing work he loved to do. That is why he could never imagine stopping. That is why it never seems like work to him, in the way so many of us think about work. Jim somehow managed to find the spot where doing what it was that needed doing was exactly the kind of thing he liked to do best.

I find that to be rather remarkable, and quite wonderful. And that’s what shines most brightly as I think of him and give thanks for having known him. He lived all this in his own unique “Jim Hutchins” style, of course. But he lived it fully and well and faithfully. Thank you, Jim.

Pastor Doug Vold

Poet, teacher, friend.

Inspiration to us all.

Blessed Journey on.

With love,

Charles and Luann Lane, Oregon Stewardship

Hutch was a dear friend who we’ve known for decades as he collected native seeds and cuttings for us to grow at Althouse Nursery. In turn, many of those plants went right back to Hutch’s Oregon Stewardship projects. Eventually, we coached Hutch in growing many of the species himself, and then he taught his students those skills. He loved what he did and showed the kids the pragmatic and aesthetic values of horticulture. He always kept an open mind and was willing to share – opinions and skills alike.

And he truly loved those kids. He’d stop by our nursery on his way to and from the coast and he’d always have a story to tell about what the students were working on. And he often dropped off a piece of steelhead or salmon that he’d caught along the way. I think he ALWAYS carried his fishing gear with him and often noted that he’d stop by a favorite hole to cast a line if the opportunity arose.

Hutch also spoke often of his good friend and fellow fisherman Bob from the Illinois Valley. Bernie passed away last year, so I’m sure that wherever Hutch is, he and Bernie are out there doing a little fishing.

Graig and Barbara Delbol

My memory of Jim is a lasting one. This occurred when my love of cycling met with Jim’s love of the Wild Salmon. Jim took me out along Bear Creek and taught me the most likely locations to spot the Salmon during the Salmon run in October/November. After the expert lessons this became an annual ritual for me. I ride my bike along Bear Creek and have found multiple locations where the Salmon can be spotted. I would report to Jim approximately how many Salmon I found at each location and Jim would inform me about the total Salmon run for the year. I will continue to do this each year and continue to think of Jim each time I spot the Wild Salmon. Thank you Jim for adding this amazing delight to cycling. I won’t forget you.

Ted Menold


There are lots of memories, stories, and thoughts of gratitude when I think of my time spent with Jim. I always looked forward to heading to the coast with him to work with high school students and explore rivers and natural spaces. At the end of a work day, we’d find some body of water to relax and recap the day. I really loved our conversations and shared laughter. He became a good friend. When I think of our adventures in working outside, there were sketchy moments
like clearing rocks off the 199 in the Smith River Canyon during a torrential downpour so we could get through, mellow moments like sitting in the sun by a little riffle while Jim fished for steelhead, but in this moment I’m thinking about when Jim created a little contraption for getting shopping carts out of
Bear Creek – a long narrow rope with an S-hook tied to the end. One day we spent a couple hours fishing for shopping carts in the creek, hooting and hollering when the hook would catch it. It was always a fun time working alongside Jim.

Because of my time with Jim and Oregon Stewardship, I decided to pivot in my path and pursue a career in education working with adolescents and teenagers. I take lessons I learned from Jim with me and think about him often. When there was a need, he would fill it. Picking up trash, planting trees, helping out a young person in need… he would just do it, and I really appreciate that about him. He modeled that you can work hard and have fun at the same time. He also connected so many young people to nature. Because of him, many more young people are aware of salmon spawning in Bear Creek. What a gift! Jim has been such an awesome influence in my life and in so many others’. Thanks so much for everything, Jim.

~Celina Weeg


Jim is a person you meet once in a lifetime. He’s the type of person to be in a room full of people and still make everyone in the room feel special and heard. Jim didn’t complain he just did what needed to be done. That has always stuck with me. It didn’t matter what the obstacles were. Jim always knew how to get the job done. We could have maintained two trails, the hatchery, worked on the high school garden beds, and all it would take is a caramel latte break to get the rest of the
day’s work in. After a long day’s work we would never forget to dip our feet in the creek. Meeting Jim changed my life. There are so many life accomplishments that I would have never conquered if I hadn’t met Jim. He gave me confidence. He made me feel like I was capable of doing anything in my life. He even made me feel like I could become Mayor. I will treasure our memories for the rest of my life. My only hope is that I can continue to make him proud.

-Taylor Montgomery, Oregon Stewardship

Jim and I loved to verbally joke back and forth over the years. Jim had a keen sense of humor. I’ll miss our phone calls especially when I’d say “Can I call you Jim?” and Jim would say “Can I call you Mel?”  I remember our last call in December when we agreed that he’d have a “shot” of whiskey and I’d
have a “shot” of tequila whenever we called. Here’s a “shot” for you Jim!

Mel & Helen Speegle

We always enjoyed spending time with you and Jim over the years and he will certainly be missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.

And, as Jim would say “Friends Forever”.

Bart & Cindy Speegle

“It goes without saying that Jim has been a huge influence on my life. I doubt that I would be where I am today without his teachings, his values, his humor, and the experiences and projects he has offered me. Be it endless maintenance of TouVelle State Park, building a trail in Denman Wildlife Area, or reclaiming and restoring riparian regions of Bear Creek, I always enjoyed the work that I did with Jim.

At the time, it was easy enough at the time to think that those Eagle Scout and Senior Projects were just hurdles to jump, but I highly doubt I would be the environmentalist I am today, teaching and researching issues of climate and ecology, and working at a world-class university without some of those humble experiences digging in the dirt, pulling up blackberries, and planting native vegetation. It is a real point of pride for me to know that I was part of the original effort to restore Bear Creek and I look forward to seeing the work continue and thrive in time.

Jim: I owe you a considerable debt of success. I am beyond sorry that I am unable to say these things to you in person.

I recently found a quote that resonates with me: “Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to
you by your children.” Beyond a doubt, Jim has looked after this world well and left it better than where it started. I will continue his work as best I can in the future.”

Walker Ross, PhD. University of Edinburgh

Criss Cross Applesauce

Jim, or as we know him, “Hutch” taught me how to prune trees on our property. He explained his technique as “Criss Cross Applesauce”. I’m still not sure what he meant, but I remember that training session every time I pick up my loppers.  Hutch also laid out a walking path for us in our back property. We walk or run it most days with our dog Boo. A day does not go by when we are not grateful for Hutch’s help creating this path and the impact he has had on our lives.

Cathy Fultineer, Oregon Stewardship


I am speechless. What shocking news. I know we all have to go some day and yet, it always catches us by surprise. I will miss Jim, his humor, his laughter, his vitality. And yet, I know he was more in your lives and especially in Carla´s life. Jim touched so many lives in a good way. He was such a good mentor for the students. I believe, as long as we live he will live on within us, in our minds and especially in our hearts.

My deep sympathy. Nicolaj

I had the pleasure of knowing Jim for many years. We met when he came to Glendale Elementary School offering to teach my students about streams, fish, and habitats. I jumped at the chance and never regretted it. I got to enjoy watching him teach kids the wonders of all those things through art, writing, projects, and field trips. We became good friends and good fishing buddies. I loved seeing his excitement when showing me fishing spots he had found, and later catching
fish there with him.

People that knew Jim lit up when he met with them. He had a quality of delight that showed in the way he was around them, children and adults alike. They always felt better after being with him, and I believe that goodwill spread outward from them to many others. Jim always seemed to be in a good mood no matter what. He once told me that it was a choice he had decided to make, one that I find easier to make because of him.

I will greatly miss Jim. Yet when I see a picture of him leading a group of kids hiking on a sunny day, or when I’m near a stream or river, I’ll remember what a great guy he was and how much he shared with us.

With gratitude,  Mike Brassill


Jim was such a bright spirit bringing joy and kindness to everyone. when I was young about 11 years old he came out to our school and taught us about the hawks and trees and forest in the back of oak grove elementary. He was so cheery and kind. I really enjoyed that time getting away from the playground and loved learning from him. I don’t actually remember much of what he taught but I remember him and his gentleness and his passion for wildlife and nature.  It was really inspiring for a young person!

When I saw he went to Ascension it made my heart so happy. He always loved to give Mike and I a hard time in a loving way about how we would hold hands or cuddle close at church. It was so sweet, we really enjoyed talking with him and you! We will miss seeing his bright smile at church but he will always remain in our hearts for the bright spirit he was!

I will be thinking of you and your family during this time and want to send all the hugs and love.   You all have done so much at our church, we are so lucky to have you!  I hope all this bright spring sunshine will be you warmth and grace!

Olivia Sweeney


You taught us 

To look for home 

amongst the salmonberry, alder and willow

along riparian banks that

coalesce beside countless unnamed streams

That the chokecherry, steelhead and kingfisher are

our kith and kin

That our backyard is an abundant sanctuary of

plants and creatures deserving of devotion

That when we have lost ourselves 

we can look to our rivers and streams to

navigate home

For my friend and mentor, Hutch

by Lydia Beeman Kendall

Jim was a great friend for twenty-five years.  I enjoyed working with him during my times as principal of Coquille High School and providing support for his many projects in Myrtle Point.  He was well respected by all the school personnel on the South Coast.  I will miss our morning breakfast meetings and the story telling.  He was a great man and provided a tremendous service to students through the Oregon Stewardship program.  He will be missed and remembered.

Carl Wilson


I was introduced to Jim by Mel Sherbourne many years ago and would have lunch with him occasionally to share stories about our involvement with youth programs and spending time in the outdoors.  I would always get an update from him on Oregon Stewardship and had the privilege to fish with him a few times over the years. I was amazed by the energy that Jim had to mentor the youth and travel the distance to keep the youth involved in the many projects on the Oregon coast or here in the Rogue Valley on the Greenway path. I appreciated Jim for being a man who stood firm for his faith, family, community and friends.  I also respected his easy going attitude during tense conversations or situations, always willing to bring the volume down. Jim will be missed, especially by the youth he mentored over the years.  I have had the privilege to meet many of those young men and women who were impacted by his humor, love and wisdom.  Many of those youth considered Jim as a father they may never had and believe that Jim was instrumental in guiding many of them on the right path of life and career opportunities.

Reggie A. Jones


Jim is such a loss to so many of us. We have learned from him and he has made this world a better place… so… there must be Snowberries and salmon in Heaven and Jim smiling when we do good things for the environment. Rest in Peace Jim.   Jeanena

Wildlife & Educational Mentor to Sarah Villarreal and many other students from South Medford High School, the Rogue valley, Illinois Valley and Oregon coast schools.

Carla and I mentored a weekly group of after-school hungry students at Jacksonville Elementary School for Youth Garden Club.  Along the way I met JP and their new puppy.  He had just graduated and was on his way for summer music camp before college.

Jim would stop to see our gardening projects (really to see Carla his sweetheart). That’s how we heard about Oregon Stewardship. The summer before 10th grade Sarah and I met Jim at Hawthorn Park. He handed Sarah a pair of too-big gloves and a bucket; told her to put her cell phone away in his truck and told me to come back in an hour or so. They went down to the water to clean trash from the shore and looked for wildlife. She has worked with Jim and Oregon Stewardship ever since.

Over the years Jim introduced her to nursery people & plant growers, land stewards and owners when they picked up plants or did projects along Bear Creek, Illinois Valley River, Smith River, Patrick Creek and more. On hot days Jim liked to jump into the rivers, swim across and right back out to get to work. Sarah wanted to hang out longer to explore for salamanders and water critters or a plant she had not seen before, but there was work to do.  They enjoyed a good banter about what different critters were and what environmental condition caused them to be there — like waterdogs at Patrick Creek or the giant salamanders along the forested colder water.  Sarah learned counting salmon to compare the years and find solutions if the numbers dropped; the beaver families behaviors that aureate the waters; the value of bioswales keeping auto debris our of the streams; to start trees and plants from cuttings. Jim, Sarah and other OS students taught young kids how to plant seedlings along Bear Creek.

Jim encouraged Sarah through OSU getting degrees in Biology/Botany & Zoology. She did plant projects for OR Stewardship during semester breaks. Most met OSU requirements for credits. We enjoyed hearing them banter about if frogs or snakes were eating the others’ eggs at Denman affecting their survival count, or the count of invasive vs native salamanders. There was always a topic to pique their interest. Sarah was no longer the shy introvert youngster. With Jim and OR Stewardship projects she puts  on her boots and has a net ready for discoveries in wildlife. She found her voice through knowing Jim and we are forever grateful. Oregon Stewardship is an incredible project-based program.

Jim has been an incredible leader, teacher and steward. He will be missed forever. His students will help our world remain a lovely place through his teachings of plants and wildlife.

Sarah is now on the O.S. Bd of Directors; works as Plant Dept Manager at the local Grange; and weekends at Bear Creek, cleaning, planting, and trail management; and teaching others. Thanks to Jim, Sarah discovered her voice. And she is just one of many.   Thank you Jim and Carla

It was as if the Bear Creek corridor in downtown Medford was Jim’s “Happy Place”. Over decades I saw  Jim walk in Bear counting fish and nurturing his “school” as they returned to spawn. Nurturing included pulling out the stubborn, non-native Himalayan Blackberries and planting native species along the stream banks (riparian areas).  On occasion Jim would encounter and get to know many of the homeless people living along the Greenway. Some of these folks actually helped in picking up trash and maintaining the young native plants.  Jim introduced many high school students to real field work. They worked hard to keep up with Jim and to emulate Jim’s energy and expertise. Many hard working students from Medford to Gold Beach received scholarships to help further their education

I remember a time when Jim got in trouble for technically violating established water laws. Maintaining newly planted natives requires water. With no established irrigation system nearby, Jim carried buckets of water from Bear Creek and watered each new planting by hand. Well Bear Creek has been closed to further extraction since 1959. Of course, the water amounts were trivial, but still amounted to a violation. I think it made the local paper. The area now has irrigation thanks to efforts by the Medford Parks Department. Problem solved.

Eric Dittmer, Oregon Stewardship

Jim was dedicated to tradition, even when it meant jumping in the river in the rain. He was committed to sharing his passion for the environment with his students and community. His presence in the schools will be missed.

Thea Barker-Cortrecht Bauer

Ian Barker-Cortrecht, IVHS Fishwatch member 2004-2007:

“Jim was tough as nails. He truly cared about the environment and the students he worked with. His work ethic and values showed with everything he did. He was a friend and mentor to many.”

Occasionally we are privileged to know someone whose contributions to humanity and our environment are so extraordinary that they are difficult to adequately describe. Jim Hutchins fits that description. Jim not only accomplished a large amount of riparian restoration of local, fish producing streams, especially including Bear Creek and its tributaries, but in the process and of even greater importance, he educated thousands of students on the need and satisfaction of caring for the environment. He accomplished this by classroom talks and taking students out to streams for hands-on planting, removing invasive species and constructing trails. A number of these students received Oregon Stewardship scholarships and went on to college to major in the biological sciences and eventually work in the area of environmental conservation/restoration.

Jim not only taught students in local elementary and high schools but also in Butte Falls, Illinois Valley and made monthly trips to the coast lecturing and making field trips with students from Brookings to Coquille.  His pleasant, positive demeanor and good humor endeared Jim to students and adult friends alike and he received many heart warming thank you notes from students he worked with. Jim was a real life Pied Piper. It would be totally remiss not to mention Jim’s dependence on his wonderful wife Carla, who served as secretary, newsletter editor, treasurer, entertainer, caterer and untiring supporter. They made an incredible team. Jim leaves a void that will be difficult to fill but he has a number of talented, hard working, knowledgeable students in the wings who can hopefully carry on his amazing work.  

 Keith Miller, Oregon Stewardship

Jim was a genuine, loving Christian man. There are few good qualities one can find in a person that Jim did not display at one time or another. Our neighbor for many, many years, he was the best anybody could ever have; there was just no better neighbor than Jim. He saved our bacon more than once, giving us rural newbies wise advice that saved the rights to our pond, and speaking up for us with accusing neighbors in the midst of a flood.  That said, Life as Jim’s neighbors was not without its crazy moments, by any means. There was the bonfire so big it went nearly went out of control though it was in a large green grassy area. Then there were the flimsy pens that led to us chasing his pigs before church on a Sunday morning. Jim’s approach to calming our horse named ”Taboo” when it was on the loose one day was to wave his arms and shout at it! Then there was the time he broke our back door window to “help” our daughter to get in—Not to mention coaxing her (our daughter) on another occasion, to climb in the window of our elderly neighbor’s house to “check on her”, only to startle the poor woman while she was bathing. There was never a dull moment with Jim around!

Steve and Betsy McDonald

I am missing your Monday morning visits.  Always a time for a short story and a good laugh.   Dadgummit!    Kathy

There was never a dull moment spent with Jim. He was an amazing mentor, teacher and great friend. He taught me, and so many other people about riparian health, the importance of showing up on time, and teamwork. We could talk about salmon, frogs and salamanders for hours; he always had so many stories to tell. Even while picking up piles of trash he would always be joking and laughing, making the very best of the situation. I loved how Jim was so passionate about his work and making the world a better place, he was truly one of a kind. He always talked about being a lifelong learner for which I’ll always admire him. I’m very grateful for Jim’s friendship, he truly changed my life for the better. I already miss him tremendously.

Sarah Villarreal, Oregon Stewardship

A Poem for Hutch

Poking around amongst the trees and shrubs

Cool river water of the Illinois

A twin berry

A salmon berry

Seeds planted in the ground

You help seeds grow

And help us know our place in things

– Julianna Fultineer

Hutch, you had such an impact of my life, and helped me
know my place in things. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Jim was such a wonderful character.  We loved it when he used to come visit – all those many years ago.  When did I first meet him?  1995??  Could it be 29 years ago?  Our friendship with Jim began during the early years of his Rural Outdoor Education program.

After our initial meeting, I had introduced him to a couple of teachers in Myrtle Point.  The kids loved Jim.  His enthusiasm and dedication to teaching those young minds to embrace and understand the natural world around them, was boundless.  It was fun to accompany the class down to the wetland – to traipse through the brush in our rubber boots to understand the workings of the wetland as filter for the town runoff headed down to the Coquille River.  He was right – good to get to those young kids thinking about cause and effect so that they would learn to care about their surroundings.

But he was more than a teacher – he was a doer.  He developed the plan and worked right alongside the kids.  He loved his “job” and always made you feel that he received far more than he gave.  His smile was generous and his energy and enthusiasm were endless.  He couldn’t wait to tell us what the kids had accomplished.  And even though he worked right with them, I know he (and you) put in many extra hours to complete and maintain the work.  He was so committed to all of his kids, schools, and projects.  He loved seeing them all succeed.   Lately he was excited about the establishment of the fish hatchery in Coquille and I’m certain he devoted endless hours to see to its completion.

Jim was one of a kind.  Upbeat, creative, an artist, poet, writer, story teller, adventurer, fisherman, native plant grower, arborist and true environmentalist – working to preserve the natural beauty around us, he so loved and enjoyed.  Kevin and I looked forward to – first, Jim’s visits over the years – and then your visits together.  You guys never arrived empty handed – sharing the bounty of fish, whiskey, or your home-made jam!!  We enjoyed having you and Jim stop by, to eat a little something, to tell stories and most of all – to laugh.  We will miss Jim’s quick smile and laughter, his childlike glee at a joke – and his ability to razz Kevin. He took great joy in that.

His stamina was remarkable.  It seemed he would go on forever visiting his rivers, trails, and restoration projects. He held tough right up until the end – .  A gentle man on a mission.  He was a wonderful friend and we will miss his laughter and energy, terribly.  We feel empty knowing hewon’t be stopping by again.

Our love to you and JP, Carla.  May Jim’s memory be a blessing…

Kevin and Debbie Houshour


Dear friend, Jim,

Your Friendship is eternal.  You have blessed my life in so many ways… far too numerous to recount in simple words.   From the moment you set foot into my classroom and instantly became a friend to me, to our times on the River together, you sharing knowledge and a love for fishing. Even hosting my daughter at Jamberry Farms   You’ve planted so many memories in my mind that have taken strong root.

Indian creek cafe, Pony Express Coffee, Dead road kill raccoons coming to life in student presentations, poetry, art, Cole Riffle evenings, Riparian planting along Cunningham Creek, Salal growing on the banks of my home, a book, Tracks, my first Steelhead, a rusty spoon lure, a wallet of special Roque River flies, a scratchboard drawing of the N. Fork Coquille….  The list goes on and on….   You have given me far more than you can ever imagine my dear friend.  I look forward to that day when I will see your smile again, and we will sit beside a river,  bathed in Holy Light, and laugh and share the joy of eternal friendship.

I love you,   Norm Devereux


Stewardship:  cherishing, conserving, directing, guarding, managing, preserving, protecting, safeguarding”  Quite a dynamic and honorable way to live your life.

In 1992 Jim formed Fishwatch, a stewardship club at Illinois Valley High School. From the beginning we started to brainstorm ways to join forces. I was the Art and Yearbook teacher and I had an interest in creating opportunities for multi-age groups to share and learn about the area in which we lived. Out of our combined inspiration the Illinois Valley High School Calendar Project was born. In the spring of 1998. Jim and I took the first group of IVHS Art students, Fishwatch members and a third grade class from Evergreen Elementary to the Forks. Out of that event we published our first calendar Through Jim’s affiliation, encouragement and work the project spring boarded into sixteen years of calendars, multi-age field trips and stewardship and art learning opportunities. Sales of the calendars provided funding for on-going field trips and student exposure to a variety of experiences.  Our trips to the Illinois River yielded multi-age mentoring experiences, investigations into the biology and botany of the area, writing and drawing, inspiration for future competitive art work, and a host of good energy and memories.

As the years passed, Jim came into my classroom to share art projects, he mentored my two children, Ian and Thea, and later in our lives he thoughtfully checked in when my husband was ill. He would stop by with some of Carla’s raspberry jam and share some good words and concern about every one’s well being.  Oh, and he taught me how to ‘lace a tree’ by pruning one of my trees. I’m holding on to that lesson, Jim.

The thing about Jim that helped me grow was that he was undaunted by ‘hesitation.’ Where I tend to over think most things, he showed me how to jump right in and get things done…and that it can come out just fine!

Thank you, Jim, for all the rich and meaningful experiences, lessons and the resulting memories and for your care.

Elaine Barker


Carla, thanks for sharing your wonderful husband with so many of us for all these years. I never completely figured out why I liked this crazy guy who put way too much sugar in his coffee, but I’ll forever love almost every minute I was around him. And I sure missed the almost 100 twice/month breakfasts since we moved here!  He was the most committed proponent of Oregon Stewardship’s mission to reach children with his dedicated and important message. He started many seeds for plants, but he planted many seeds in young minds to be aware of the beauty and importance of nature and humanity. “Believe You Can Achieve” with the hopes of encouraging at least one child per year to believe in themselves and the future.

“When I get tired, and when I get tired of kids, I’ll retire. But I don’t see myself retiring”- Jim, 2004. And he didn’t!

We’ll enjoy memory hugs for years. Our love and prayers of comfort, Susan & Glenn

Jim was my partner.

We met in 1980 on a 10K run up Black Mountain in San Diego County.  There was no transportation back after the run, so participants walked and jogged down the mountain and visited with each other.  We continued to run together for several years.  He was gracious not to complain about my slower pace.

We partnered in starting a landscape gardening business in San Diego.  After living in Seattle for his first 45 years, he was thrilled by the year-round flowers in Southern California.  He emphasized color gardens in his designs.  He always had a tremendous love of flowers.

Jim loved his children and was proud of all of them.  He never got over the loss of two sons Mike and John.  He cried for them the rest of his life.  He was excited about the addition of grandchildren and then great grandchildren.  He loved them all.

In 1989 we moved to a farm outside of Medford.  We again partnered in our many endeavors. We tried beef cattle, pigs, chicken, hay and finally settled on berries.  Jim never failed to help me pick for the next day’s market, even after a tiring workday.

He loved young people and saw our future in them. He first volunteered at Illinois Valley High School in 1992.  By 1995 he was working with students in five counties in Southwest Oregon.  We filed as a nonprofit and called it Oregon Stewardship.  He was proud to be a mentor.  He was beyond pleased to be able to offer scholarships to high school seniors to continue their education, either college or vocational training.  He kept in touch with as many students as possible and reveled in their successes.

And he loved to fish.  He treasured his fishing partners and guides.  Any day fishing was a good day… even in rainy, cold weather.  He would point out that it’s called “fishing” not “catching.” And of course, protecting fish habitat was a big part of Oregon Stewardship.

He was a writer.  He wrote poems and descriptions about what he saw. He  also enjoyed writing character sketches about his friends.  He journaled his adventures.  He was a watercolor painter and worked with collage and wax art.  He shared his talents with students throughout our area.

And most of all, he was my partner.  Jim, I will love you forever. Carla


Jim Hutchins
October 11, 2002

             This was to be another peaceful evening of casting spinners in the lower Rogue River Estuary near Indian Creek.  This was not, however, the evening for a giant Chinook salmon to grab my spinner and shoot to open water.

The only lucky fisherman was a beautiful, stoic Great Blue Heron hunting small fish 150 feet upstream. His position changed when a fisherman waded out next to his space.  My next backhand cast hit this graceful bird and entangled him, and the fight was on.  Another fellow fisherman, seeing my plight, ran behind me while I was chasing the heron.  The sounds coming from this giant bird were by now, not his usual calm, raspy croak, but a high-pitched squawk as if I had him by the neck…and I did.

As the distance between the heron and me shortened to ten feet, the fellow behind me said, “Give him some slack” like we fishermen do when we want a fish to turn.  What a mistake! The large, long-legged great winged bird turned and attacked me with a giant bill snapping, wings flapping, and still squawking like an off-key soprano.

As I stumbled and fell back into the brush, my fellow fisherman tightened the line and pulled him away from me.  He managed to hold this violent bird down with his size 14 boot while we untangled him, jumped back, and then watched him fly away gracefully.

Someone hollered and reminded me that you can’t catch these birds.  I answered, “It was hook and release.”



This was to be another peaceful evening of wading out, taking a stance, and waiting for a shiny fish to swim by my favorite spot just above Indian Creek.

My almost fatal event started when a noisy human fisherman with giant boots came crashing through the willows.  I took flight, gave a few raspy croaks, and headed downstream—a big mistake.

Suddenly I was engulfed in green line and felt like I was being pulled from the sky.  My loud screams and slapping wings carried me to a crash landing against willows and cattails just as the line loosened.  I took advantage, turned around, flapped my wings, and screamed and chased this white-hair varmint with my sharp bill trying to get a piece of him.  I was jerked backward to the sandbar, pinned by a giant boot, holding me breathless, until the line was free. The two varmints with boots ran one way and I flew freely in the opposite direction.

The next evening the same varmint with the green line appeared, and I quickly took flight.



Etched in silence, echoing winter

swirling shapes of red and gold

slip beneath darkened, icy water.

Dancing past dark forms of

shimmering scale and fins

pushing upward to destiny and decay.

Sleek furry forms create a ballet

of roll, tumble, and glide

Silently, orange spheres piled high

free from ghost or knife.

Swirling, circling smoke

from ageless chimney

slowly rising and disappearing.

Etched in silence.

Jim Hutchins



Near giant shadows of pirate ship

comes joyful voice of children

exalting in December sunlight.

With ponytail swaying and friendly eyes

smiling, an “angel” creates a

dancing shadow of free fall and frog.

Handfuls and cups of sand, one at a time,

with much patience, create

mountains, volcanoes, and castle,

complete with a moat and bridges made from tiny sticks.

As afternoon shadows fade,

an angel and her big brother

have realized the pure joy of imagination.

For my grandchildren

December 8, 2001

Phoenix, Arizona

Jim Hutchins



Slipping, sliding, ever moving,

diving, searching, curious,

paddling in place into a riffle,

around giant roots, sliding down

sloped log and back again.

Always alert, furry forms turning

moss covered rocks

chasing clawed creatures that

scurry backwards with a zigzag.

Crunching sounds of bone and  shell

from nearby sand bar,

a time to pause.

Strange chatter echoes over

graying expanse of icy water

as furry forms bob and roll

catching a riffle and disappearing

as evening approaches.

Jim Hutchins

November 23, 2000



At 26 degrees frozen leaves crunch with each step.

White coatings cover every branch, tree, and log.

Cold hands.

Smoke rises from campers across creek.

Green head ducks like small statues.

huddle quietly on top of frost-covered log in the creek.

Gentle sounds of riffle over a jagged boulder

Standing in creek a tall sharp-billed bird
waits for a tiny, finned creature.

Crossing bridge, back on Greenway
sun melts frost from giant trees.

As usual, a gray creature leaps from a tree
hiding his prize in bark chips.

A small red-capped bird flies upward
to a giant tree, hiding his treat.

Jim and his giant lab greet me near trails end.

Warm hands.

Jim Hutchins
December 19, 2022



Jim completed this watercolor and collage on the 25th of January, 2024, just one month before his passing, and only four days before collapsing and entering the hospital.

The piece depicts his sighting of an occurrence he had never seen before, one he wished that he had been able to capture on camera: an egret and a heron sharing the same fishing rock at Bear Creek.  And so he set out to depict the sighting in artwork.

Jim suffered from progressive peripheral neuropathy, particularly in his hands, for the last decade of his life.  The condition made the fine movements required for handwriting and artwork difficult and painful for him.

This work represents a triumph of his spirit.  To us, it is a perfect piece of art, because of the clarity of purpose.  It was very important to Jim that he share this moment with everyone.
Thank you for sharing his moments.

The  Hutchins Family