L. Herlwyn Lutz left us quickly on Jan. 12, 2012.
Born in Salt Lake City Sept. 5, 1934, he grew up in Wyoming, Ky., and Illinois before hitchhiking west to Seattle at 17. After a stint as an army medic, he graduated from SPU in 1963 with a degree in zoology and education. Marrying Barbara Barnowe the same year, they settled in Kirkland, where he taught 5th and 6th grade.
With a truck and trailer packed to bursting, he and Barbara arrived on Orcas in 1993. A certified Master Gardener, and member of the Garden Club, Herlwyn transformed their simple property on Kramer Lane into a blooming, fruitful Eden. It was a matter of course to find a home-canned jar of pears, a brace of beets, or a fat squash on your counter after one of his visits.
An arborist for 34 years, it was a common sight to behold Herwlyn high in a swaying fir, sawdust flying. A lover of the trees he knew so well, he often refused to take one down if it was especially regal. He also spent his early years here filling in as a substitute teacher at Orcas High School.
Herlwyn loved music, and spent a lifetime singing. His expressive tenor/bass voice was a staple in the Orcas Choral Society for 16 years.
His foremost passion, however, was self-realization. A devoted seeker of deep spiritual truth, he meditated daily beginning in the 1950s, and spent long hours in the company of his spiritual teachers. With an encyclopedic knowledge of religion and philosophy, and an egalitarian approach, he believed in the common purpose and truth in all traditions. He regularly attended Circle of the Spirit, the Orcas Community Church, the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Sambodha, the Theosophical Society at Indralaya, and the Cross and the Lotus.
Perhaps what he will be remembered most for though was his non-stop, cheerful, open-hearted generosity and volunteering. It was a common sight to see him neatly tending one of our roadside community parks, mowing an elderly person’s lawn, or dropping off food for a community member in need. If help was ever needed, he would find a way to be there.
A man of simple means, Herlwyn nevertheless steadily donated to families in India, Thailand, Haiti, Africa, Central America, and elsewhere. Many lives have been touched by his noble giving.
Few people have been as devoted to making themselves, their community, and the world better. He was a shining example of humanity, and will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Barbara, his sons David of Eastsound, Shawn and Aaron of Woodinville, and daughter Mira of Anacortes.
A memorial fund has been set up for Barbara at Islanders Bank in Eastsound. Donations in his name would also be gratefully received at his favorite charities, including Seva Mandir (http://www.sevamandir.org) and Heifer International (www.Heifer.org).
Please join us in celebrating Herlwyn’s life at the Orcas Community Church Sunday, Feb. 5 at 1:30 p.m.
Submitted by Herlwyn Lutz’s family.