‘Good and kindhearted’
He was killed July 20 in his Kansas City home by an intruder. A giving heart: Those who knew Nick Dutcher remember a young man with a contagious smile who embraced life. Those qualities attracted people to him at and away from work at KSHB-TV, where he was an assignment editor who reached out to an audience through a Twitter account and took phone calls from viewers, among other responsibilities. His caring spirit touched Marilyn Ricci when he contacted her to help with Call for Action Inc., a hot-linebased international consumer advocacy group. Ricci said Dutcher convinced her when the two met in 2002 that even as a 22-yearold he was a longtime and competent volunteer. He even rattled off a list of previous affiliations. He had volunteered with the Optimist Club and election board. And when he learned of a dog that was severely abused, he welcomed it into his home. He inherited the giving spirit from his mother, Rebecca Dutcher, who died in early 2009, said his aunt, Judy Reid. His mother gave of her time when Dutcher was growing up. She assisted with a hot line for children who waited at home alone for their par- Who: Nick Dutcher, 30, assignment editor for KSHB-TV. When and how he died: ents to return from work. Easy to love: Dutcher had an ability to comfort people and put them at ease, said his former co-worker DeAnn Smith. He helped her through tough shifts, even on his days off. On bad days he returned to the station with a Sonic milk shake. “Every day he found someone to say something nice to, to let them know how special they were,” Smith said. Dutcher often called Ricci “Mom” or “Grandma.” The two had a tradition of going out to eat for his birthday. One time he drew a laugh from Ricci as they stopped the car and Dutcher reached for a microphone to jokingly interview a sculpture along Ward Parkway. Dutcher often called Ricci to ask her how to spell words or share with her a pleasant experience. “He was such a smiling, happy kid,” Ricci said. On the scene: The weather, which he often would pass along as part of his Twitter report, fascinated him from an early age. Reid, his aunt, remembers attending a tee-ball game in which the sky quickly blackened. Dutcher saw the approaching storm and kept looking to his mother in the stands. “He was giving his mom devil looks with his eyes like, ‘Tell them to call the game,’ ” Reid said. They did eventually stop playing, but it wasn’t fast enough for Dutcher, she said. As a youngster, Dutcher could repeat the forecast word for word from a television meteorologist, Reid said. His news sense evolved into his role of maintaining a Twitter account that gave followers breaking details. Dutcher was looking to advance his career. He had taken broadcast journalism classes and had hoped to move to Florida, his aunt said. “He was such a good and kindhearted person,” Reid said. Survivors include: His aunt. Last word: As a Call for Action volunteer, Dutcher took on tasks that were not even asked of him. “He definitely went above and beyond,” Ricci said.
Nick Dutcher is remembered by his TV colleagues for his ability to put people at ease.