The day I went for my interview as (then) Clerk Stenographer for the National Park Service, John Hutzky asked me what my career goals were. I said, “I think I’d like your …
The day I went for my interview as (then) Clerk Stenographer for the National Park Service, John Hutzky asked me what my career goals were. I said, “I think I’d like your job!” John got a kick out of that. Of course as time went by, I knew of a certainty that I would most definitely NOT want John’s job.
I transcribed his letters and reports, suggested edits, and commented from the ‘gallery’…John’s letters were thoughtful and well-timed--both in terms of hours or days—and in terms of well-metered prose. Even until retirement—when preparing letters of my own for the NPS, I would frequently resort to thinking about how John might present what needed to be said.
Sitting in MANY meetings over 15 years working with John, I watched as he masterfully listened to the Citizens Advisory Council and other organizations, negotiated, translated what he heard into positive results, and lead creation of the Upper Delaware River Management Plan and formulation of, and partnership with, the Upper Delaware Council. Though sometimes tasteless attacks were hurled at John by groups or individuals afraid of what they imagined might happen, he always responded with dignity and respect, ultimately gaining the respect of those organizations and individuals and moving forward toward common goals. “We can agree to disagree,” he’d tell me. “The only thing that will convince anyone of our intent is when in 30 years NPS hasn’t taken over the valley.” Well, as we move toward 50 years, John was right.
So many times after he retired and I was “moving up”, I’d call John and ask for clarification, or recollection, or instruction. He was as thorough, patient and respectful as he had always been, and he was equally magnanimous with succeeding Superintendents.
In those days (I know, the “olden days”), NPS was a very different organization than now. Begun as a pseudo-military organization (thus the uniforms), John was quite formal. His care for the uniform was priority, and his ability to work within the organizational structure was spot-on—whether he agreed or disagreed.
He cared for his staff and for our futures. Humorously, he used my career “goal” against me once, when he insisted that I take courses in statistics. He said I’d need it when I was Superintendent. I hated statistics…I’ve used that training many times over the years. He insisted that his management staff study, read, and be able to converse both with him and with the public about the Land and Water Use Guidelines and the River Management Plan. He challenged our thoughts and his own as we worked to implement the River Management Plan.
And personally, John loved his wife, his kids, and his dogs…symbols to me—and anyone who knew him—of his character.
Farewell, John. I hope one day we adequately acknowledge and thank you for leading this “Unique National Park Service Area” into the new era of protecting and conserving without acquiring the land…through understanding, cooperation, collaboration and respect. I also hope we continue that leadership for the next (almost) 50 years.
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