“His mother has a tattoo that says ‘son.’”
“At museums, he is allowed to touch the art.”
“He once had an awkward moment just to see how it feels.”
“He has won the lifetime achievement award twice.”
“He is fluent in all languages including three that only he speaks.”
Now there are 22 of these sayings total, but I must stop with them now so I can get to my subject of this week’s column. This week, I am featuring our own, and by our, I mean Trigg County’s version of the most interesting man in the world.
Many times you meet someone, work at the same place, become acquainted with them but you really don’t get to know much substance about them. This was the case with myself and a man that worked at Trigg County Schools for a few years. I knew the guy but yet I didn’t really know him at all. Someone in the community recently suggested that I should interview him. That is when I got to know “A Most Interesting Man.” Today, I want to introduce you to Dr. Robin Gutmann. Dr. Gutmann was the district technology coordinator for Trigg County Schools from 2002-06. That is where we crossed paths. It is his diversity of skills and life experiences that makes him so interesting. Well, that plus the fact that he is now making turkey calls. Let’s start from the beginning.
Robin Gutmann was born in Milwaukee, Wisc. His dad was a Cannon in the Episcopal Church. He also worked for the Health and Welfare Department. After moving around, Gutmann ended up going to school in Washington D.C., eventually graduating from Duval Senior High in Towson, Mary., in 1963.
Gutmann joined the Navy and became a deep sea diver from 1963-66. He left the Navy in ‘66 and went to college at Montclair State Teachers College where he graduated with a degree in fine arts in 1970. Upon earning his degree, Gutmann quickly was hired to teach at Dumont HS in New Jersey. He had a side job installing alarms around town as well.
When 1976 rolled around, Gutmann could be found in Florida working for Rollins Protection Company. He also took a job as a firefighter and did that for the next 13 years. The firefighter job led to him becoming a fire inspector. Then he became the public information officer for emergency services for Hollywood, Fla. Eventually, Gutmann went to the National Fire Academy in Maryland and became a course developer.
A few years later, Gutmann went on to work as Technology Coordinator for the Broward County School System in Florida. All the while, he was using graphics and generating slides for the national Fire Academy.
In the year 2000, Gutmann and his wife Rosalie bought some land from Steve Allen and moved to Trigg County. Gutmann met Mr. Paul “ Puddin” Stallons and they developed plans to build the Gutmann family a house. Gutmann says, “We never signed a contract on the house with Mr. Stalllons. It was simply a handshake agreement. He was the most honest man I have ever met in my life.” Gutmann also remarked that there was something that really impressed him before he ever got completely moved into Trigg County. “We attended a Relay for Life. When the invocation was said, the kids all around the stadium removed their hats and showed respect. I was awestruck at that. That said a lot about the community to me.”
Speaking of his home. Gutmann literally carved a spot out of the woods just big enough for his spacious home. When walking through his home, your eye is drawn to paintings and drawings that adorn nearly every wall. Who did them? Why, none other than Robin Gutmann himself. As I said before, diverse and talented.
When Gutmann got settled in, he began his work for the Trigg County School System. He also designed graphics programs for the Night Stalkers helicopter pilots at Ft. Campbell through a contract with Lockheed Martin. In 2005, Gutmann retired. It wasn’t long till he found a new hobby. A friend of Gutmann’s, knowing Gutmann loved to work with wood, brought by a homemade turkey call and asked if he could make one similar. In a short while, Gutmann was turning out handmade turkey calls out of cured cedar. He produced them directly out of his garage. The call is lightweight, beautifully crafted and, according to some of the first users, really effective. Gutmann has already sold several of these. All of you turkey hunters out there may want to purchase one of the early models. It may be worth something grand someday. Remember, Knight and Hale had to start somewhere.
Most days now, you are likely to find Dr. Gutmann and wife Rosalie eating lunch at the Cadiz Restaurant with friends Ned and Martha Davis. If you run into Dr. Gutmann, stop and get to know him. As I said, he is a most interesting man.
OT: Dr. Gutmann and Rosalie have two children. Eric is 43 and Adam 39.
OTT: Hopefully, there will be a website out soon from which you can purchase his turkey calls.
OTT: Thanks for the encouragement in getting back on the horse and writing again from many of you, such as former Cadiz resident Margaret Ann Reynolds, who I bumped into at the restaurant. All of you motivate me. Keep it up!
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.