Dick Hutchings

The bee is not afraid of me,
I know the butterfly;
The pretty people in the woods
Receive me cordially.

The brooks laugh louder when I come,
The breezes madder play.
Wherefore, mine eyes, thy silver mists?
Wherefore, O summer's day?

Goodbye our friend...

You will stay for ever in our hearts !!!

Ania Malinowska[Dish]Poland

I was deeply saddened to hear of Dick's recent passing. I and my family enjoyed this gifted teacher's passion & energy from the time we met him in 1969 through this past Christmas when we exchanged holiday letters. I was a student in Dick's biology class as a 9th grader in 1969, and he became a frequent dinner guest at our home, sometimes over holiday times until the family left Geneva in 1979. I remember one holiday gift that Dick brought to us: a showing of a nature film he had made and edited to the music of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. I can never hear this music without vividly seeing some of his film moments. Although I only saw the film that once, many of the beautiful images etched on my memory. Dick made every experience an adventure and he tackled life with a gusto and a "take no prisoners" approach. He would as often quote Shakespeare or expound on the joys of hiking in his class as detail the intricate lessons of organic biology, all in a passionate stream of words that commanded attention.

Dick taught me to live what I loved, and I have carried that lesson into my career as a college professor. He was one of the formative teachers of my life for which I am grateful to Ecolint. I was happy to stay in contact with Dick, sporadically, as he moved on from Ecolint and eventually landed in his beloved Poland, where he found a landscape to fill him with daily pleasure and inspiration. For years Dick sent news via a holiday letter to my mother, Betty Culbert, and when he joined the electronic age, he and I exchanged emails on a fairly regular basis. His were always letter-like: long & rambling, written in his "voice" and covering topics as far ranging as orchids and transportation systems. I know he became something of a loner in later life, and I am most sorry that his passing was without loved ones near.

I will hold Dick Hutchings in my heart always. From his own "Patsawats,"

Patricia L. Culbert
Artist in Residence
Department of Theater and Dance
Union College
Schenectady, NY

Only yesterday did I receive knowledge of the unexpected death of my dear and loyal friend Hutch. I am in great sadness and shocked and regret that he could enjoy the nest he built in Poland for only such a short time. He would have celebrated his 70th birthday on 11th March.... As a former student of his at UWCSEA (1976-1980) in Singapore I frequently heard him speak of his fond memories of his time in Geneva and so I although I only met him just thereafter I thought IŽd share my menories with you. I loved his passion for nature, photography an filming which he could so vividly share with so much enthusiasm for life and in his own unconventional, sensitive and touching way. Our hearts were connected for over 30 years and throughout all travels and change of residencies over Asia, Europe and Africa we never lost touch and accompanied each other in our lives. He called me Queenie and I am greatful to have had the gift of his friendship and the inspiration of his so-being in our very special relationship. He will be in my heart forever in love and I miss him so much. Thanks for the opportunity of sharing....

Dr. Regina Huber

It's with a sense of deep sadness and shock that I learned of the passing of Dick Hutchings. Dick was my friend and mentor, an inspiring teacher who fanned the flames of my passion for Biology during my time at Ecolint in the early '70s. He was one of the ablest teachers I have had the good fortune to study under and his approach was always innovative, engaging and enthusiastic.

"Hutch" was a true eccentric, one of a rare species that makes the world a more interesting place. He formed his own, often unconventional, judgements about what is and is not important. He was nothing if not opinionated. His rants against modern technology were legendary, and often hilarious, as illustrated by this passage on the joys of electronic gadgets from an e-mail he sent me earlier this year.

"Yes I am in danger of being left behind. The entire use of English in computers is just Greek to me. I bought a telefax in 1997. It used this weird phrase.. 'set as default'.. What the hell did it mean? Why not state in clear English "in place and activated as sold" or "the condition in which the item is sold". Default means something is missing. But.. you can't get away from the fact that the modern electronic age is painfully, woefully dependent upon electricity..."

"I don't like modern electronics (it's the language which totally beats me). I like things I can understand. I can't understand computerese. Polish is far worse.. but I can find Poles who'll help me. I can't find anyone to help me, slooowly enough for me to draw each little grey box and label it.. So I'll stay with my huuuuge CD library and my best of all I've ever had (and I've gone through a whole load of 'hi-fi gear) muzak systems."

The man was a gem, a gloriously unreconstructed product of the '50s and '60s, and I'll miss him greatly. He was the inspiration that informed my decision to read Botany and Zoology at the University of Bristol (his alma mater), all those years ago. I think of him every day, as I see the series of six beautiful signed photographs of Mediterranean terrestrial orchids (a shared passion) that he gave Becca and me as a wedding present 20 years ago. They hang on a wall of their own in our den, in pride of place, honoring (or "honouring", as he would have preferred) a singular influence in my life.

I was lucky to have the chance to meet Hutch again about 10 years after I left Ecolint. We were both living in Bristol, in the West of England. It gave me the opportunity to get to know the man as a person, rather than as a teacher. We shared a love of field biology and spent many happy days hunting and photographing terrestrial orchids in the south of England, and discovering the best pubs in the process. He was a kindred spirit.

I can hardly comprehend that he's gone. He seemed like a fixture, immortal. We corresponded by e-mail sporadically but regularly, if that isn't a contradiction in terms, in recent years. He seemed to have found his Shangri-La in Poland, and enthused about the house and garden he was establishing. I'm only sorry I didn't have the opportunity to visit him there, to take him up on his numerous invitations. I always thought there'd be plenty of time.

I know that many others also have fond memories of Hutch. I hope that the wicked smile, the irreverent sense of humor, the sensitivity, the musicality, the questing mind, and the humanity of the man will survive in and better all of us who were lucky enough to know him.

Miss you, Hutch.

Blair Fraser. Ecolint, class of 1975.

About a month ago I visited Richard in Poland, with my husband and son. He was full of life, very happy about his new house and wonderful natural garden. First time I met him was in 1975 when he was a teacher in The International School of Geneva. Since then we have kept contact.

He visited us at our house in Sweden several times and we have travelled in Lapland with him. He was a close friend to us, we miss him very much.

Marketta Lundberg

This picture was taken the 21st of September, in Poland.

How sad I am to learn of Dick's untimely death. Among the memories that return of those passionate days of the early seventies at Ecolint are Dick's astounding photos of the dawn. He drove from Versoix to Ecolint along the lake each morning and took glorious photographs of sunrise over the Alps. We used to all get together at the Wednesday Club and the Pickwick - scenes of some heated exchanges as Dick lived every moment to the full. His snow-bike was very much part of our winter ski outings. Dick was unforgettable.

Shirley Curran (I was Shirley Hainsworth then - 69 to 74)

Does anyone else remember Dick Hutchings slamming a board eraser through a blackboard in one of the old labs? Must have been about 1973 or so. Someone was talking in class while he was writing on the board and he lost it. He then persuaded the class to tell people his hand had slipped while he was cleaning the board! There was always a 'stripe' in that board where they replaced a strip for as long as I was at the school... He was a great teacher and one of the reasons I am a biologist now. Learning was always fun and I try to take his example into the classroom whenever I teach.

Graham Clark '76

I am saddened to hear about the loss of a wonderful teacher from Ecolint, Richard. What a wonderful example of our International life he led. I am moved by his love of the Northern countries: he actually went to a place in Lapland that I am hoping to visit sometime in the future- to photograph orchids on the tundra. He also built his home in Poland based on what he learned in Northern Finland on architecture suited to the Northern climates.

I am grateful to his friends in Poland who loved him and took care of him. I hope you do find his cousin Emy.

Leslie Van de Ven, lgb 1971.

It is a great loss of a wonderful, fun-loving, caring, and creative person. He taught me a great deal and was one of my favorite teachers at Ecolint. I will miss him much.

Anthony van Daalen, LGB '77

May he rest in peace at the place he loved so much. He was also one of my all time favourite and unforgettable teachers! From him, we gained so much more than merely the ability to pass biology exams, as his enthusiasm was quite infectious and supported by an amazing sense humour. Many thanks to Anthony for revealing that humour by sharing some of his final words.

Is there any way for us to collectively or individually convey our condolences to his family?

Regards, David Sawe ('75)

Dick will be greatly missed. I was hoping to continue my recent conversations with him, which were always unusual and creative. Sadly not to be. He was a popular teacher and a heck of a character. He always had a witty retort.

Neil Clark ('79)

He has hoped to continue working until he was seventy but things did not work out and this caused him a lot of distress which he poured out in his e-mails to me since last summer. He was still passionate about teaching. When we were at his house he said the International School in Geneva was the best school he ever taught in and the year with Chris Warner in it outstanding. He could remember names of students and incidents in detail from thirty years ago.

For his adult life he wandered around the world and finally he had found a place where he wanted to stay and was full of projects. That is rare in someone of his age. His enthusiasm for life and its mysterious wonderfulness was undiminished. My husband and I will miss him sorely as one of the most interesting people we have known.

Audrey Johnson

Mr Hutchings not only taught me more science in one year than any other person before or since, he was also a kind and fun person. He was the one who came down the hill with me at Lenk when I tore the ligaments in my knee. Me in the luge and he on his "ski-bob". He kept my spirits and enthusiasm.

Everytime I see a fruit fly, I think of Mr Hutchings and the genetic experiments we did. I hope he knew what a difference he made in so many young people's lives!

Lara Hedgcock LGB 71/72

During a teaching career spanning nearly 50 years, Richard Hutchings has taught Biology at schools in Geneva, Hamburg, Rome, Warsaw, London, Lesotho, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Along the way, he has amassed an amazing collection of original photos that he has taken of hundreds of wild orchid species that are found throughout Europe. He settled in Poland where he built a house from a design discovered in northern Finnland.

Orchid fans will also enjoy Dick Hutchings's web site, featuring a choice selection of images from across the continent. His orchid expeditions have included many Ecolint alumni, including Jan Smit, Blair Fraser, Pattie Chevalier, and several others who participated in the weekend exploration group with Tony Dilley, trekking to fields around Geneva and the Jura. Dick chronicles his study of this amazing plant species, along with some entertaining stories about his former students at: European Wild Orchids.

Canoeing on the Ardeche or exploring the caves at Aven d'Orgnac, our intrepid Richard Hutchings has shared a number of snapshots from his days as a Biology teacher at Ecolint during the 1970s. The field trip to the Massif Central in October 1971 is captured in a group photo from Aven d'Orgnac in which many alumni and staff can be recognized.

Return to Tributes to Ecolint Teachers

2007-11-03 by: Ecolint Online


Site Introduction Alumni Network / Reseau des Anciens Authors / Auteurs Links / Liens Photos Members Only / Membres de l'Association