University News

Hutinger Obituary

April 7, 2014

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MACOMB, IL -- Patti Hutinger, the longtime former director of Macomb Projects (later, The Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood Education), and professor of early childhood education, at Western Illinois University passed away March 26 in Macomb. She was 82.

Hutinger first taught kindergarten in area elementary schools, and then with Headstart. She was hired as an assistant professor of early childhood education at WIU in 1970, and in 1975, she founded Macomb Projects, which later became The Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood Education, a service unit within Western's College of Education and Human Services. Hutinger evolved into a national leader in cutting-edge research and development for young children with special needs. Her career in education brought in more than $38 million in grants to WIU for early childhood and children with disabilities through 40 years of effort. She retired as director of the center in 2008.

Hutinger, who was a longtime arts supporter, activist and humanitarian, received the 2010 WIU Distinguished Friend of the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) Award. An artist herself, Hutinger was an ardent supporter of the WIU Department of Art, the Art Gallery and the Student Art League. She also supported Western's Visiting Artist Fund in memory of her son, Scott.

Hutinger is survived by her longtime companion, Don Crouch; son, Chuck and daughter-in-law Jan; and grandchildren Rachel and Chris and Jordan and Kelsey Bucholtz, and their mother, Karen. Her son, Scott, preceded her in death in June 2007.

Cremation rites have been accorded and there will be a Celebration of Life in the fall, which was Hutinger's favorite time of year. Plans for the celebration will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to the WIU Foundation Art Gallery Enhancement Fund in memory of Patti Hutinger. A significant work for the gallery will be purchased for the gallery in memory of Hutinger and her many contributions to the entire community.

The full obituary is available at

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