A tribute to my unforgettable husband James M. Lutz. He was also our friend, colleague, mentor, co-author, and Jim was the father of my two daughters. This tribute has been very difficult to write and one would think it would be somewhat easy for a writer to write something rather straight forward and brief like a tribute, but such is not the case where Jim is concerned.
With Jim, I had it all even though he was anything but the typical person. He was unusual and different in many ways. I saw something quite special in Jim and for that I am grateful.
In the early1990s, I was in the process of relocating to Boston, MA when I had the marvelous idea that a semester of attending a political science course at Indiana University would look impressive on my resume, and my resume was important. I registered for a class on West European politics, and Jim was the professor.
Once Jim mentioned that there would be a research paper required, he lost about ninety seven percent of the class. As it turned out, the class consisted of me and another student. There was plenty of one- on- one time, which of course, worked to my advantage.
Right from the start, I knew there was something very special about Jim. After the semester was over and grades had been submitted (no, I did not receive an “A” in the class, but neither did the other student!), we finally got together for a film and a pizza. Jim was nervous on that first date. I was too, but not nearly as much.
Jim definitely marched to the beat of a different drummer; He may or may not have been aware of this- I do not know. Jim really did not like change at all and being in a relationship was a challenge for both of us, and being eleven years younger presented a few challenges as well. Thankfully, we knew our relationship was going to “work.”
We had many interesting as well as intellectual conversations, and I found these conversations something I looked forward to, and we both learned quite a lot from each other. Jim enjoyed our conversations too, and it was so nice just to be together.
We were married in November of 1993 on a crisp, glistening, magical, snowy Friday night! It was a fairytale wedding in almost every way. We were both so very happy and we stayed that way for over twenty- seven years.
Along came Cara and she was like adding a tiny piece of heaven to our family. Jim adored his daughter, and not only did he say so, he lived his love. He took care of the 4.00 am feedings and I think he changed as many nappies as I did. Cara was such a blessing to our family, and she was so cute (she is a real beauty now!), and a pleasure to parent.
Tessa joined our family in November of 1995 and she was as much of a blessing to our family as Cara was, and was every bit as cute. We were quite busy during this part of our lives and we loved being parents. Now, Jim had two very cute (they both look like Jim), little girls that he completely adored and it surely showed in almost everything he did. Jim was on sabbatical when Tessa was born, which was great timing for us! He helped with anything and everything. There was no “a man’s job or a woman’s job” in our house, the jobs were things that needed to be done by either one of us.
Jim loved his daughters, and his wife as well, and he lived his love. Also, Jim was dearly loved by his daughters and by his wife, and by whatever dogs we had at the time. We had a good, healthy marriage. He loved his friends, neighbours, and his colleagues as well. Trust, integrity, kindness, and loyalty were extremely important to Jim and anyone that knew him, knew this.
Jim loved his job too, he was a professor for over forty years and I know he really enjoyed writing—especially getting published.
Concurrently whilst the girls were in their toddler years, I attended Indiana University to complete a BA in Political Science and Jim worked full time, teaching, writing, and doing what professors do.
Jim and I went to academic conferences when we could. We tried to attend the International Trade and Finance Association conference as often as we could given it had the nicest members (still does) and good locations and we often spent extra time either before or after the conference visiting or site-seeing.
Jim was assigned to teach a class on terrorism. As he perused the available textbooks, he was unimpressed and would come home and complain about the available text books on terrorism. There was always an overload of work to do around our household, and Jim never complained, so it was quite unusual for him to complain like this. After being with toddlers all day, I looked forward to some adult conversation.
One evening, whilst Jim was telling me about the lack of quality terrorism textbooks, I came up with a great response (I thought so, anyway) which was, if the other textbooks are not what you want, then just write your own textbook on terrorism. He came back at me straight away with “I will, if you will help” and of course, there is no way to say no in this situation. This is the story of the beginning of the books, chapters, and articles by Lutz and Lutz on International political violence and terrorism.
Our careers soared once 911 occurred. We ended up going with a different publisher when all was said and done. Terrorism and international political violence was instantly a flaming hot topic around the entire globe.
I think this is likely about one of the happiest times in Jim’s life, when terrorism and international political violence became incredibly interesting to the world even though it has been there for a very long time already. We were both very busy with academics and Jim still made the time to be a great father and to be physically present at the school activities of the girls.
Also, Jim was a wonderful baker. Cara and Tessa thought it was great that their father could and would bake. He also did all of the holiday baking. His baked goods were delicious and the girls and I will always miss his baked goods. I especially enjoyed his scones and walnut cranberry bread.
Jim co-coached the girls in soccer. This is a role that he especially enjoyed and Jim had fun being a soccer coach. His father had coached a high school football team many years ago, and Jim liked being like his father. There was not a better co-coach the girls could have had. He was the best.
We almost always had giant breed dogs like Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards, and currently a little boy English Mastiff, Nigel who weighs about 230-240 lbs., or 104-109 kg. This two-year old is fantastic company for me, although no one can fill Jim’s place or space. Jim loved his dogs and it was so obvious that he did. We helped with some dog rescues when we were able, and Jim went and collected dogs from high kill shelters and take them to rescues when he could, to save their lives. He did that many times.
Jim always thought that time spent with his family was well worth the it, and he always made sure he spent time with his family. Jim would help almost anyone do almost anything. He would avail himself if he could be of help. Jim liked the “pay it forward” quotes and he tried to apply this in his own life.
Jim was a well- mannered, quiet man for the most part. The center of attention was a place he did not care to be in. Some people like very much to be the center of attention, Jim was just not one of them. Jim was mellow, easy- going, and polite.
About seven years ago, whilst driving to campus, Jim ran into some major “black ice” and rolled his SUV. Fortunately, he was not injured and no other vehicle was involved. The SUV did not survive and it was totaled.
The girls, and Jim and I were so grateful that he was not injured after that very close call. Jim’s driving improved after that incident. I think we all became more cautious drivers after that episode.
Jim was the best husband I could ever have asked for. Men like Jim are extremely hard to find. He was a rare jewel and I knew that he was. I often told him that I appreciated him. I never had second thoughts about marrying him. Every evening when I went upstairs to go to bed, I would tell him that I loved him and he would respond the same when he was awake. Jim often fell asleep on the sofa with Nigel whilst watching television.
First prize for the “Best Father” could have easily been awarded to Jim. He was one of the best fathers ever, and he far exceeded in what was expected of a father.
In fact, Jim far exceeded in every area, husband, father, employee, writer, etc. His sudden and unexpected death came as a powerful shock to everyone that knew him. The academic world lost an outstanding writer, a powerhouse of knowledge, and a friend to many. Jim was like the “Titanic” in the world of terrorism and international political violence. Sadly, like the “Titantic,” Jim hit his iceberg way too early.
Cara and Tessa and Nigel and I miss our Jim more than is possible to put in to words on a sheet of paper. Our hearts ache because each one of our hearts had a devastating and potent punch that has left a large empty void.
No one can fill Jim’s shoes and there never will be the same routine or schedule or even normal. Our normal is not what it used to be. Life has drastically changed for us.
Are we OK? No, but we will be. The girls and I pray every day for the strength we need. Together along with God’s help, and the help of friends, we have the strength to get through this tragedy, and to find some sort of purpose in it. Our friends also provide us with comfort and with companionship,
I think it is Jim’s companionship and his friendship, and just his presence that I miss more than anything. After almost thirty years with Jim, being on my own is just plain strange, and I do not like it at all. Nigel is adorable and quite a lot of company and it is so nice to have him here with me. My neighbourhood is great as are my neighbours and I could not ask for better neighbours.
So, life goes on, albeit very different now. As I said earlier, I had it all with Jim, and I did!
To conclude my tribute to Jim, I will borrow words that Tessa said, and I found her words very comforting…
“Daddy died a happy man!”