Jannette Carolyn Hutchison, 83, of Cedar Rapids, died Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, of heart disease. A private Celebration of Life service will be held at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27. The Rev. John Louk will officiate assisted by the Rev. Linda and the Rev. Steve Bibb. Burial will take place at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery officiated by the Rev. Linda Bibb. Following the continued guidance from health officials, physical distancing must be practiced, which requires a limited number of people allowed. The use of face masks or shields is required. A livestream of the funeral service may be accessed on the funeral home website under the obituary for Jannette Carolyn Hutchison under the video tab starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.
Jannette was the daughter of Clarence and Geneva (Parks) Reece of Cedar Rapids. Survivors include her brother, Richard (Joan) Reece of Marina Del Ray, Calif.; nephew, Gregg Fishbein (Leslie, children Lexi and Jack) of Plymouth, Minn.; cousins, Barbara (Jack) Brackett of Marion, Shirley Miller of Cedar Rapids and Betty Meyer of Palmyra, Va.; and foster sons, Mugisha Bwenge, Joshua Byamungu, Vuge Byamungu (Cedar Rapids), and Ekou Materania (Quebec, Canada).
Jannette graduated from McKinley High School in 1955 and Westmar College, Lamars, Iowa, in 1960. She was a physical education teacher for eight years in Grundy Center and Waverly, Iowa, and 32 years at Kenwood, Palo, Noelridge, Squaw Creek, McKinley, Wilson and Cleveland schools in the Cedar Rapids school system. For over 40 years, she volunteered with the Eastern Iowa Special Olympics directing all track and field events. She coached and escorted athletes to the state of Iowa Special Olympics and the U.S. National Special Olympics. She trained and escorted Eugene Shackford to the World Special Olympics in Baton Rouge, La., in 1983.
She organized the "torch run" through Cedar Rapids for the Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Ga., in 1996, as well as planned the design and construction of the Cleveland School exercise trail which was dedicated and named for her.
For many years, Jannette mentored and encouraged four boys from the Republic of Congo. They consider her to be a mother who taught them what faith, perseverance, honesty and compassion truly are. They are now grown adults who have maintained their special relationship with Jannette and are successful in their chosen careers.
She was a life-long member of Salem United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids and dedicated her life to helping people achieve their full potential. It was impossible for Jannette to go anywhere in Cedar Rapids without running into people who knew and admired her dedication. She extended much love and a ready smile to everyone.
Jannette was the recipient of the following awards: 1969 started in Special Olympics; 1984, Grand Marshall Special Olympics Parade of Champions; 2008, Special Olympic Outstanding Volunteer of the Year; 1994, Tait Cummins Citizen of the Year award; 1997, Cleveland PTA dedicated the Cleveland Track to her name; 1998, H.O. Maxey Humanitarian Award -Cleveland Elementary; 1998, Kennedy High School Hall of Fame; 2008, Percy & Lileah Harris - Who is my Neighbor Award. Jannette was always game to do unusual things like visiting cousin Betty in Alaska and assisting with the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, or visiting brother Richard in California to help build Rose Bowl parade floats.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Village Ridge for the excellent care Jannette received.
Memorials in memory of Jannette may be made to Salem United Methodist Church or Eastern Iowa Special Olympics.
Please leave a message for the family on the website www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.