SOCCCD mourns the losses of longtime community members

Saddleback and Irvine Valley College have lost a number of influential and respected campus icons in the past few months, including George Hartman, William (Bill) Jay, Richard White and Dick Stuetz.


George Hartman, pictured above, is one of Saddleback's original Gauchos. (courtesy of Jerry Hannula)

George Hartman, pictured above, is one of Saddleback’s original and most influential Gauchos. (courtesy of Jerry Hannula)

George Hartman

Coach George Hartman, the Saddleback College Gaucho who was largely responsible for the college’s current athletics program, died at the age of 83 this past February 7.

In 1968 Hartman became Saddleback’s first football coach, first athletic director, and first division chairman.

“Hartman was really a visionary because he understood what he had to do establish a solid program from the get-go, both on the field and in the classroom,” said Tony Lipold, current Saddleback Athletics Director and Dean of Kinesiology and Athletics. “He made sure all the pieces and support were there. He had a huge impact on what we are today because he started it and he did it right.”

He was also responsible for the college’s colors and the “G” on the side of the helmets. Furthermore, he surveyed local high schools who chose the Gaucho mascot, Lipold said.

Hartman was voted Orange County Coach of the Year three times, was inducted into the Saddleback College Athletics Hall of Fame, and is responsible for many athletic records that still stand today. In 2014 he was inducted into the California Community College Athletics Hall of Fame and the ceremony will be held this March.

“Those that played for him have endless stories that are shared with great humor, respect and love,” current Gauchos football coach and former student Mark McElroy shared on Facebook recently. “His players loved him and loved their great time at Saddleback. ”

He is survived by his wife, Mary Lynn, daughter Donna Haley, son David, and granddaughter Heather Hodosh.


It was announced that SOCCCD Trustee William (Bill) Jay had passed away on March 3. (courtesy of SOCCCD)

It was announced that SOCCCD Trustee William (Bill) Jay had passed away on March 3. (courtesy of SOCCCD)

William (Bill) Jay

It was announced on March 3, 2015 that Trustee William (Bill) Jay of the South Orange County Community College District, who has long been involved in the Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges, died at 79.

Lariat News Editor Aaron Mitzlaff reported on his passing earlier this March.

Jay’s dedication to Saddleback College has been life long and he was committed to providing expanded academic opportunities for college students young and old.

“All of the tributes you are hearing about him are accurate,” Bill Kelly, a long-time friend and colleague since 1975, said. “He had a special place in his heart for Saddleback College and our district. One of the qualities I always appreciated about him was that he had a ‘can do’ approach to everything. He was always willing to try new ideas if it could serve more students.”

In addition to having served as a SOCCCD Trustee since 2004, Jay held many leadership rolls at Saddleback College between 1974-1999, including Saddleback College President, Dean of Instruction, and Professor of Mathematics.

Jay was also largely responsible for developing off-campus programs for students to provide greater access to classes, the beginning of the Irvine Valley campus.

Jay additionally served as Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services and Human Resources for the District from 1994-1999. Even after retirement Jay never stopped caring about student education, and became as a trustee in 2004.

Jay is survived by his wife Bobbie, children, Jennifer Cordon and Jeffrey Jay, five grandchildren, his sister, Judy George, and his mother, Julia Waterman Jay.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that Bill’s legacy be memorialized through the establishment of a Dr. William “Bill” Jay Memorial Scholarship at the Saddleback College Foundation.

A memorial service will be held Friday, March 20 at 2:00 p.m. in the McKinney Theater at Saddleback College.”


(courtesy SOCCCD0

Richard White, who recently passed from cancer, contributed his time and talent to empowering students’ artistic skills. (Courtesy of Nina Welsch)

Richard White

Full-time ceramics instructor Richard White, who is responsible for the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial on campus, passed away the morning of February 3 due to cancer.

In 2004, White and ceramicist Fred Olsen began working on the memorial’s design which began construction in 2008.

“The ‘fired-in-place’ ceramic technique is a perfect metaphor in building this memorial,” White said of how the memorial was constructed. “Its transformative process is representative of the troops who have had a transformative effect on our nation.”

The memorial, which according to Joyce Van Schaak of the

Richard White helped design and create Saddleback College's Veterans Memorial. (Anibal Santos)

Richard White helped design and create Saddleback College’s Veterans Memorial. (Anibal Santos)

Orange County Chapter is the only veterans memorial on a college campus in America, received the prestigious George Washington Honor Medal Award, the highest award given by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge‘s National Awards Program.

“Art has a huge spiritual element to it, but for me it is more about intuition,” White once said. “I have spent my life trying to put my finger on it.  It is important to note though that every college has an art department and no one at this point can define art.”

White also had the opportunity to create a project for the Ninth Ward in New Orleans following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

White was beloved by both colleaugues and students alike.

“Richard White, you are and always will be my friend,” said Jon Ginnaty, Senior Lab Technician for the Fine Arts department and longtime friend and colleague of White. “Thank you for sharing your life and your beautiful family with me.  Ten years of sharing an office together seems like a blink of the eye, an eye that is now filled with many tears just thinking of you!  I love you Richie! RIP.”

Former student Danny Scher also had a dediation to his former instructor.

“You helped shape my ideas on life and art, and I was fortunate to share a part of my life as a young man growing up around you,” Scher said. “There will never be another like you and the world is a little less brighter today… but you will live on through your work and all the lives you touched.”

Richie is survived by his daughters Isabelle and Madelyn White.

A  memorial was held on Sunday, February 8 in the Saddleback College ceramics studio followed by a second line march conducted to the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial led by a brass band (New Orleans style) and a vigil where a sop box was provided for those who wished to speak about White.


Dick Stuetz. (Courtesy of )

Dick Stuetz, who recently passed at 81, has been a Gaucho icon since 1969.

Dick Stuetz

Dick Stuetz, assistant football coach to the Gauchos for 35 years and defensive line coach from 1969 through 2003, died over this past winter break on December 30, 2014, at the age of 81.

Stuetz has also ran the football program for a term, taught golf classes and coached the Saddleback baseball team, contributing to the development of Golden Spikes Award winer Tim Wallach, current bench coach for the Dodgers.

He remained an active participant on-campus from 1969 until his death, dolling out advice, offering support and attending sporting events.

“He would always pop his head in and check on what was going on, he was always there, always going to games,”  said Tony Lipold, current Saddleback Athletics Director and Dean of Kinesiology and Athletics.

A memorial was held at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo in mid January where family, friends and colleagues celebrated Stuetz’s life.

Stuetz was inducted into the California Community College Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame recently and the ceremony is set to take place this March.

“Saddleback college athletics is what it is today because of guys like Coach Hartman and Coach Stuetz,” Lipold said. “They laid the groundwork, they created the culture.”


Featured below is a photo gallery dedicated to Hartman, Jay, White and Stuetz, who each dedicated their lives to Saddleback and Irvine Valley College.

  • George Hartman, pictured above, is one of Saddleback's original and most influential Gauchos. (courtesy of Jerry Hannula)