James T. Hutton
1957 - 2020
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James T. Hutton
1957-2020
James Thomas Hutton, 63, passed away after a long illness in Boise, Idaho on July 23, 2020. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up in nearby Euclid and Hudson. He graduated from Hudson's Western Reserve Academy in 1975 and earned a degree in Biology from Kent State University in 1980. Jim earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration and Resources Management from Boise State University in 2009.
With a love of the outdoors and a profound conservation ethic, Jim worked for the National Park Service for 33 years, retiring in 2013. He began his career as a park ranger, educating the public and protecting the lands - front country, backcountry, law enforcement and more. From several of the "crown jewels" – Grand Canyon and Grand Tetons – to numerous smaller parks, Jim was fortunate enough to live and work in some of the most beautiful places on earth. He had wild stories and anecdotes galore: the grizzly bear that wreaked havoc upon a fancy wedding party in the Tetons, the excitement at Big Thicket in Texas at the discovery of an (extinct) Ivory-Billed Woodpecker! (alas, false alarm), the ranch foreman at Channel Islands, CA who trusted only Ranger Jim to bottle-feed his rescued wild baby elk four times a day, falling asleep by candlelight in his tent at the Florida Everglades, only to wake up and find his paycheck burned up. A thousand stories kept us enthralled!
And as if the adventures of life as a park ranger weren't enough, Jim had another great calling: wildland fire! Partway through his career he switched gears, and hats, and took a position at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in CA as the Fire Management Officer (fire chief) and in addition joined a team as a fire management specialist. He loved going out on those wildfires! If Yellowstone was burning, Yosemite, Glacier, he was there and in his element. The team members were allowed one five-minute phone call per day and we could hear the thrill in his voice.
His final destination as a National Park Service employee was his promotion to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. After all those years of remote living, it was a bit of an adjustment to a work space in an office building in a city, but a good challenge nonetheless.
Jim enjoyed countless outdoor activities – camping, hiking, river rafting, skiing, fishing, golf, tennis, bicycling, swimming. And perhaps, above all, birds were his biggest passion. He was the quintessential ornithologist. He knew every bird, every call. Binoculars always at the ready, his excitement on the occasion of "getting a glass on a life-lister" was something to see! During his years in northern CA, he was very active in the Audubon Club, and taught a springtime college level ornithology class as well. Over the years he amassed an impressive floor to ceiling collection of ornithology books, some so old and rare, they describe birds that today are long extinct.
Jim was a brilliant and unassuming intellectual. He was a voracious reader, his interests crossing every genre, but again, he was perhaps most riveted by his esoteric journals of scholarly bird articles. The scrabble king, we were always quick to "accuse" him of having the best letters. But no, merely the best mind. He loved the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, a summer highlight every year. Once settled in Boise, he was thrilled to take full advantage of Boise State University where he could pursue his Master's degree. An active member of the Cathedral of the Rockies, Jim and his wife taught Sunday school together for seven years. With a little trepidation, they took on the role of science teachers and discovered it was loads of fun, and that there are innumerable exciting science experiments one can perform with the kids based upon the current theme of the week. It just takes a little creativity!
Jim was a devoted family man and a wonderful dad. Whether enjoying together all the outdoor activities he loved so much, attending sports events at Boise State, going on father-daughter trips to the fair, coaching his son's soccer team, or being fully engaged in a most unusual, family-created, high-stakes game of charades, he was happiest when spending time with his family.
The son of David and Ruth Hutton, Jim is survived by his wife Jessica, his children Lowell and Jane, his brother Ted (Connie), his sister Robbie and six nieces and nephews. Services are on hold due to Covid-19 and will be arranged at a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Idaho Statesman on Aug. 9, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
September 18, 2020
Uncle Jim was a kind, generous, fun, and inspiring person. I rarely call my closest loved ones by their given names, so as long as I can remember he was Mudpuppy and I was Moonbeam. I was fortunate to share many outdoor adventures with Mudpuppy even though he lived across the country and I was undoubtedly influenced by his love of parks to study and work in the environmental field. He appreciated the natural beauty of our world and was dedicated to sharing it with others. I often feel his joyous spirit when I see pileated woodpeckers, anhingas, and other birds I remember spotting with him.
Sara Hutton
Family
August 20, 2020
Reminiscences 2005
Hutton family
August 20, 2020
Jim and Jane 2009
Hutton family
August 20, 2020
Jim and Lowell 2011
Hutton family
August 20, 2020
Trailhead - Wind River Range, Wyoming
Summer 2014
Ted, Jim. Bob and Robbie
Hutton family
August 10, 2020
My wife Maureen and I were so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. Jim and I both worked 30 plus years for the National Park Service. We were inner canyon rangers together at the Grand Canyon for a number of years. On the critical incidents there was nobody I wanted with me more than Jim. His skill set in search and rescue and emergency medical services was an example for others to follow. He was one of the finest Rangers I was fortunate enough to work with.

We both specialized in wildand fire management about midway through our careers. His ability in this complex and high profile field was exemplified by his ascension to the national office, for Fire and Aviation, of the National Park Service (NPS). Jim was also one of the few NPS employees to serve on an Interagency National Incident Management Team, there were only 16 in the country. The teams were designed to deploy to a variety of complex and long duration disasters across the country. Jim was a key member of his team for several years, participating in several deployments of national significance.

He was my friend. I will miss him every day.

Dan Oltrogge
Friend
August 6, 2020
Jim gave his sister Robbie, my husband George and I a wonderful gift of sharing his "work home" with us down at the bottom of grand canyon. All we needed to hike down was snacks and water. Such a treat! He had us laughing over some of his more ridiculous encounters with tourists, the Bermuda triangle of the area where people often got bewildered. We provided him some laughs too as we did the kaibab shuffle the next morning sore from the hike.
He had quite a record collection in his apartment on top of the rim. He must have loved music as well as bird song. I did get to see his excitement getting to add another bird to his life list. A white crowned sparrow, quite common here in the northwest but oh , so exciting to Jim.
He was a bright spark.
Rosie Wuebbels
Friend
August 4, 2020
It was with a deep sadness that I recently heard of Jim’s passing. Though we had lost touch with one another and not spoken since the 90’s, I will always have fond memories of growing up with Jim. When I first moved to Hudson in 1970, Jim was the first person to welcome me to the neighborhood and taught me how to play chess and turned me onto numerous rock bands. I am glad Jim was able to follow his passion as a conservationist and it appears he was loved by many in his field. You will be missed my friend...... my condolences to his wife and kids
Jeff Kleinschmidt
Hudson Classmate
Jeff Kleinschmidt
Friend
August 4, 2020
So sorry to hear of Jim's passing. We were classmates in Hudson for many years, and I think my first attempt at a rock band occurred at Jim's house! It sounds like an extraordinarily rich life surrounded by some of the most beautiful places on earth! My condolences to the entire family.
Jim
Classmate
August 4, 2020
Although it’s usually the older sibling that serves as a mentor for the youngers, I don’t feel it was so in my case. We all grew up with a love of nature, but it was Jim that taught me how to use all of my senses, to really pay attention to all the nuances around me. Instead of just identifying an animal - observe it’s habitat, vocalizations, and behavior. Those lessons still create the richest experiences of my life.
Jim was a kind and gentle optimist. When his young duckling disappeared one night, he insisted it had flown away (although it was too young to fly). On family trips in the car, if we saw a dead animal next to the road, he’d say it wasn’t dead, but sleeping. I always say that now.
Thank you, my little brother.
Robbie Hutton
Family
August 3, 2020
Robbie Hutton
Family
August 1, 2020
Robbie Hutton
Family
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