Beloved former English instructor remembered for kindness, dedication


Kristin Skager

Jim Luotto 1999

Cameron Oleary, Reporter

Jim Luotto, beloved former English literature instructor at De Anza College, died of cancer in April at the age of 86.

Luotto was one of the first instructors at De Anza, beginning as the college opened in 1967.

He taught for a full 35 years and was also a part of a collaborative learning group, aimed to teach instructors how to incorporate student collaboration into their classes.

Luotto was a veteran of the Air Force and grew up as an Italian-American in Brooklyn and Chicago.

He received his bachelor’s degree at Notre Dame University, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate at Loyola University of Chicago before coming to De Anza as a professor of English where he developed close ties to fellow faculty.

By the time Luotto retired from De Anza in 2001, he had developed such a strong relationship within the English department it resulted in a legendary party said Tim Shively, English instructor.

“It was just a blowout, I mean the entire English department was there and a lot of other people from around campus and there was lots of drinking and fun,” Shively said.

Alan Simes, 57, English instructor who worked with Luotto, described how much he was adored by the entire English department for his gentle nature and kindness and maintaining a positive relationship with both faculty and students.

““He was pretty universally liked by the teachers and students alike, nobody had anything negative ever to say about him that I ever heard,” Simes said.

John Swensson, English instructor and coordinator of the Global Education Partnerships, said Luotto was an avid cyclist, loved studying and was a dedicated family man.

“He loved to do long distance bicycling,” Swensson said. “He was a great scholar, always had an inquisitive mind, he loved study, he loved art, literature and had great love for his children.”

There will be a Zoom celebration of Luotto’s life on May 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. put together by Swensson. Link to meeting