By Georgia Valdes, April 27, 2021
Cal Poly Pomona suffered the loss of fellow Bronco, 21-year-old Jack Detmers, an accounting major and involved member of the campus community who died unexpectedly on March 22. The nature of his passing has not been disclosed.
Detmers’ impact was widespread at CPP where he served as director of public relations for the Cal Poly Society of Accountants; senator, treasurer and secretary of Residential Suites; and treasurer and Greek Council member for the Cal Poly Interfraternity Council.
Detmers’ father, Ernest Detmers, is reeling from the loss, as it has always been “just him, our cat Miles as in Davis (she’s a really cool cat) and me.”
Assistant Professor in the Finance, Real Estate & Law Department Anthony Orlando took Detmers on as a research assistant for a project focused on a house pricing model to understand the variation in risks and returns across neighborhoods. Orlando recalled Detmers as gentle and determined when facing challenging questions that surpassed the concepts he learned in the classroom.
“Jack always rose to a challenge. He had a fierce work ethic and a devotion to fulfilling his responsibilities. He found new levels of insight in that research project. To this day, I am inspired by his example, and I am grateful for the conversations we had,” Orlando said.
A dynamo at an early age, Detmers was an avid Boy Scout and made Eagle Scout in 2015 with 42 merit badges and a project aimed toward alleviating poverty. He had the rare opportunity to visit one of four “High Adventure” bases, Philmont Ranch, where he and his 8-member Crew from Troop 90 trekked 100 miles over the course of eight days.
“Even with all our pre-trek training, having a 46 lbs. pack on my back at (that) altitude Jack saw early on that I was in trouble. So, on the second day before we started, without me asking, he offloaded between 10-12 lbs. of my gear onto his pack and carried it for the next 87 miles,” Ernest Detmers wrote. “And that is just a small flavor of who Jack Clemens Detmers was. A hard-working young man who always looked out for his wards and lent a helping hand to those who needed an assist.”
Through this connection to the BSA, Detmers worked for the Newport Sea Base and taught children from the ages of 7-14 how to safely navigate the seas as a U.S. Level 1 sailing and offshore fishing instructor.
Director of Program for Outdoor Adventures Group at Orange County Council Thomas Hartmann remembered Detmers as a source of joy on staff.
“He had a knack for helping light up a room with his smile and wit,” Hartmann wrote. “He was always inquisitive, wanting to learn, willing to listen, and always respectful. It is nothing short of devastating to lose such (a) good young man and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Every memory Ernest Detmers has is precious, and he can recall spending days watching his son grow as a leader with love.
“He always made sure to install a sense of confidence and independence in each of his charges. What gave me even more pride was when after a lesson I happened to overhear one of his campers dragged their parent over to introduce them to ‘Captain Jack’, a moniker the campers picked. And see them look up to Jack with that smile of accomplishment and enthusiasm from what he had taught them,” Detmers wrote. “The next time you go to hug someone in your life who is deserving, hold them just a little longer for me as I will never be able to hold my son ‘Captain’ Jack ever again! Life is short, work hard and enjoy it.”
To see a photo gallery of Jack Detmers’ life visit here.
Counseling and Psychological Services are available for students here. For staff and faculty, CPPLifeMatters can be reached here.
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