JENS H. HUTCHENS
May 30, 1911 - Dec. 10, 2011
Jens H. Hutchens passed away peacefully in his hometown of El Centro, where he had lived for over 50 years. He was born in Lawton, MI and spent his early childhood in Indiana.
Jens' family moved from Indiana to the San Diego area in the early 1920's. Jens attended Wilson Junior High, San Diego High School, and San Diego State College, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1934. He was a good athlete and played basketball at San Diego High School. Also during the 1930's he played basketball in the YMCA church league where his team won several championships. Out of college, Jens decided to become an educator. He wanted to help others find through education the love of learning he had received through his education.
He came to El Centro in 1934 as an elementary school teacher, with his first assignment at Wilson Jr. High School, and before the use of air conditioning. The field of education became Jens' passion, and he continued his education at night and during breaks in his teaching schedule. He went on to earn a masters degree in education at the University of Southern California (USC) in 1939, and a doctorate in education from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1950. Yes, it is okay for us to refer to him as "Dr. Jens", though he was most humble about his personal achievements in formal education.
Jens closed his distinguished career in education as superintendent of the El Centro and Central Union School Districts where he served in that capacity from 1965 to 1973. Prior to that appointment, his career path included being a teacher and principal in the Escondido Union School District, 1936 to 1939, teacher in San Diego City Schools, 1939 to 1940, assistant superintendent of schools for San Diego County, 1943 to 1955, superintendent of the Cajon Valley Union School District, 1955 to 1961 and assistant superintendent of the El Centro and Central Union School District, 1961 to 1965. He was a member and officer of many professional organizations and received numerous honors, some worth mentioning include: being made P.T.A. Honorary Life Member for both the State of California and P.T.A. National. He was chair of the Bank of America Award Program from 1951 to 1961. For many years he was trustee of University of La Verne, La Verne, CA., and past president of Kiwanis.
In 1935, Jens marreid Mary Alberta Gibson, who preceded him in death in 1976; and happily, he is survived by all 28 descendants of that marriage. Included are three sons, James A. Hutchens (Karen) of San Diego, Philip H. Hutchens (Kathleen) of La Mesa, and Jens H. Hutchens (Chrissy) of El Centro. He has one daughter, Mary Dell Worthington of San Diego. In addition to his four children, he is survived by 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grand- children.
To his friends and the El Centro community he was widely known as a "true gentleman" and a leader in his community. Also, to his family and close friends he was known for his clarity, virtue and high moral principles. As a result of his dedication to education, thousands of El Centro children passed through the school system during his tenure. Jens was an El Centro giant, perhaps not in physical stature, but in the impact he has had on the El Centro community through education and his many community activities.
Upon retirement, Jens worked for the Neil Horne Realty Company and was a Kiwanis member. He also voluntered with the Cancer Resource Center of the Desert, El Centro Regional Medical Center and the Cemetery Board.
A "Celebration of Life" service will take place on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the First Christian Church of El Centro, at 11 a.m. Jens' wishes were that should you care to make a contribution in his memory, please choose the
. Special thanks to his loving caregivers and to the staff of ECRMC for their care of Jens during his final days. In keeping with Jens' philosophy of living in service to others, his body was received for study and scientific research by the University of California at San Diego.