21, No. 8, Oct. 18, 2001
Lutz devotes more time to
By Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
by Bill Wiegand
off the presses
Larry Lutz exited a 34-year printing career at the university
Even as a boy, Larry
Lutz was fascinated by the printing business. As a 14-year-old newspaper
carrier in Fisher, Ill., he spent his Saturday mornings loitering around
the Fisher Reporters shop gawking at the presses until
the owner finally gently shooed him away, telling the eager boy to come
back for a job when he turned 16.
"The day I was 16, I was up there," Lutz said. "I said,
Im 16 today. "
"Thats good," the owner replied. "You start work
So it was only natural that a young man fascinated by the printing trade
should eventually wind up in the Printing Services Division at the UI.
Over the course of his 34-year career with the university, Lutz worked
his way up from his initial position as a printing production assistant
to the rank of superintendent, the position he held when he retired
"We saw an awful lot of changes from the time I started in 1967
until the time I retired," Lutz said. "We went from hot metal
to digital and all the stages in between. I really enjoyed working with
the people, and those people [in printing services] won a lot of awards
while I was there. Its an outstanding bunch of craftsmen over
there probably the best in the country."
Lutz fondly recalls the 41-inch, six-color press that he helped select
for the shop, making the UI perhaps the first Big Ten university with
When a co-worker was stricken with cancer a few years ago, Lutz decided
to donate 30 of his accumulated sick leave days to the shared benefits
program so employees in need could benefit from the additional time.
When Lutz got ready to retire, he donated another 1,200 hours.
In his retirement, Lutz is devoting more time to two disparate interests
that have become part-time businesses over the years: ostrich products
Lutz was persuaded to enter the ostrich-product business seven or eight
years ago by a friend of his younger son. The friend was buying a pair
of the birds to breed. Lutzs ostriches are raised on an Atlanta,
Ill., farm. When a yearling is butchered, Lutz markets the meat as well
as the hide. A restaurant in Urbana buys some of his ostrich steaks,
Although ostrich meat products havent gained popularity among
Americans the way Lutz had hoped when he entered the business, Lutz
said with a grin hes still "bound and determined to make
ostrich meat the other red meat. "
And the trunk of Lutzs Buick looks like a portable showroom, laden
with ostrich-leather products crafted from his birds hides, such
as billfolds and checkbook covers. So far the transactions have been
casual and singular, as particular items have captured the fancies of
friends or acquaintances. He has been mulling over finding a venue for
marketing these products.
Lutzs other business is wedding photography. Since his early 20s,
Lutz has been capturing couples ceremonies and receptions on film.
In recent years, however, he and his wife, Esther, have become selective
about his bookings to ensure all his weekends arent consumed by
Lutz also takes photos of nature scenes that have caught his eye: a
bee exploring a lush flower, a dove and her chicks nesting in a tree
in his yard.
But Lutz is proudest perhaps of his photos of dilapidated barns, some
of which overlook the Illinois and Iowa interstates he and Esther have
traveled on their way to their cabin in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Hes
fascinated by old barns too, Lutz said, and even drove to Monticello
in a snowstorm once to photograph a particular barn near Robert Allerton
Park that he thought would make a pretty winter scene with the snow
swirling around it.