West teacher remembered for pushing students to succeed
BY ERIKA WURST email@example.com December 6, 2012 3:56PM
Former West Aurora High School science teacher Jim Pittman is remembered for putting students on the path to success.
Updated: December 7, 2012 9:41AM
The West Aurora High School community said goodbye to one of its most dedicated fans on Sunday, when long-time coach and teacher James “Jim” Pittman lost his battle with cancer.
Pittman spent nearly four decades molding young Blackhawks throughout the district.
“He was one of those people that really made an impression on you,” said West Aurora School Board President Neal Ormond. “(Decades later) people still say they remember the way he would teach. You can’t say that about everyone, but you could say that about Jim. He was so committed to seeing you be successful. He made his mark both in the classroom, and on the coaching sidelines.”
Pittman was born June 5, 1930, in Aurora where he spent his entire life. He attended Bardwell Elementary School, Immanuel Lutheran Grade School and East Aurora High School, where earned letters in track and football. He went on to attend Indiana State University, but later transferred to Aurora College where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree.
Ormond said he remembers watching Pittman play ball on AU’s football team.
Upon graduation, Pittman began his teaching career at the junior high level before taking a position at West Aurora High School where he taught biology for 34 years.
While at West, Pittman coached golf and sophomore basketball.
“The nickname ‘Sarge’ really personified his image,” Ormond said of Pittman’s coaching style. “He was tough, but very knowledgeable... He turned his boys not just into basketball players, but into very disciplined young men. He had a lot of pride.”
Ormond said that Pittman would often joke that you should never smile during the first month of school.
“He wanted to impress upon (his students) that he was all business,” Ormond said. “In the classroom he had a real impact because he was such a disciplined teacher. He really prided himself on conveying to students to pay attention to details.”
Following his retirement from West Aurora in 1992, Pittman went on to work part-time at the Orchard Valley Golf Course for more than two decades, where his passion for the sport continued.
“Golf was a particular joy of his,” Ormond said.
Visitation will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at The Healy Chapel, 332 W. Downer Place in Aurora. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Olaf Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1233 Douglas Road, Montgomery.