In Memoriam: Jutta Deuschl – 1973-2021
Some people come into our lives, leave footprints in our hearts and minds and we are never the same again. – Jared Leto
Jutta Deuschl passed away on the morning of 19 January 2021 after a long illness at the age of 47. Regatta München e.V. and all members of the regatta team mourn the loss of their dedicated board member and a great sportswoman.
Jutta’s path as the daughter of the rowing enthusiast Schausten family led her directly into the rowing boat of the Mühlheimer Ruder-Gesellschaft in the 1980s. In the 1990s, she was successful at German championships, World Cups and World Championships. At the 1995 World Championships in Tampere, she won the bronze medal in the Lightweight Coxless Four. She also competed at the World Championships in 1996 and 1997, in 1997 in the Lightweight Pair with Cora Zillich.
Her friend Cora Zillich remembers the training time together with coach Stefan Piesik and Karin Stephan: “We didn’t eat much, but Kinder Chocolate, lots of fun, many countries, many successes but also many blisters and a lot of sweat and one or two disappointments were on board.” Their best race together, says Cora, “was perhaps the 1997 German Championships in Duisburg. As lightweights, we raced with the heavyweights and finished on the podium in the women’s double sculls. Every 250 m Jutta announced a spurt. I’m still sweating in my mind today. At the same time, it was one of my most intense and best races with Jutta.”
The two rowers have shared a lot: Laughter, crying, the focus on common goals as well as a deep friendship. “We stayed in touch – in and out of the boat.” Together, they continued to take part in international regattas such as the Head of the River in London after their time in the national team. The Lightweight Eights and the participations in Boston and Philadelphia were unforgettable for both, which gave rise to numerous rowing friendships around the globe.
But Jutta was not only successful on the water, but also on land. As Managing Director, she headed the Munich branch of the international PR agency LEWIS. She remained faithful to the sport of rowing on the water, first in the Münchner Rudergesellschaft 1972 and then in the Münchener Ruder-Club of 1880, and on land in an honorary capacity with the Olympia-Regattaverein München and until recently with Regatta München.
Board of Directors in the Regatta Association
Jutta’s board colleague Oliver Bettzieche remembers: “I met Jutta in 2007. Together we were involved in Jörg Reinhardt’s team at the World Rowing Championships in Oberschleissheim. At that time, we already formed what would later become the Board team for Regatta München. Subsequently, we could always be found together in the regatta office at the World Cups until 2012. Even then, we were united by the desire for a perfectly orchestrated implementation of the events.” Regatta München e.V. was newly established at the end of 2013/at the beginning of 2014. “At that time, I was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ to form the future Board of the regatta association,” explains Oliver. “Jutta was the only one who wanted to take this risk with a rookie like me in December 2013. After a short period of reflection, she agreed. It was to be seven great years together. We had an ambitious plan. After quite a few international and national regattas, including three Euro Masters Regattas alone, we were successfully bidding for two international World Rowing events in 2019. We were flying high in the regatta Olympus.”
Jutta Deuschl was the spokesperson, the linguistic soul of our regatta association and the guardian of our communication. But Jutta was much more than that. Jutta was our diplomatic, balancing component. Jutta has spent thousands of hours over the years working for regattas and the regatta centre in Munich, promoting our cause at home and abroad. She was internationally cherished in the Masters community as both a determined rower and a perfect and charming hostess of the Euro Masters Regatta. “While she spent months preparing the regatta with the team, she never neglected her rowing training. After all, she didn’t just want to organise a regatta, she also wanted to win races. Jutta was a real role model in that respect,” recalls Jörg Reinhardt, Vice-President of Regatta München.
“Her statement was intellectual, imbued with her personality,” Prof. Klaus Ulbrich, Honorary Chairman of the Bavarian Rowing Association and Honorary President in the OC of the European Rowing Junior Championships 2021, enthuses —and not without reason. “Through her commitment at the most diverse regattas, she has made a great contribution to youth work in our sport,” affirms Sebastian Haase from the board of the German Rowing Youth and member of the Munich regatta staff. “In her warm and open manner, Jutta contributed significantly to the fact that I immediately felt comfortable in the team and after the regatta I was eagerly looking forward to the next one,” recalls Luis Heiß of the regatta team. Magdalena Prantl, Jutta’s colleague in sponsoring, “would describe her as a realist who kept us in mind at the end of the day why we are doing this and what is most important. Her ‘hands-on’ mentality and pragmatism were perfectly complemented by her ease and openness.” Jutta was an integral part of the team. Lukas Abelt, Head of the Regatta Office: “Jutta was always friendly yet strong and always focused on her current goal.” She was omnipresent and was able to assert her ideas in a balancing but impressive way.
The fight against cancer
In the last four years, Jutta fought a tough battle against a powerful opponent at the same time — unnoticed by many and way beyond the sport. Often the cancer was ahead, but Jutta increased the stroke rate, caught up and won some races against the cancer. Jutta fought with the same determination as in competitive sports, the same strength and willpower, immense energy and admirable stamina. She never lost sight of the goal.
“Jutta fought courageously for her life. At the same time, she worked with all of us throughout 2020 to save our 2020 events, which were threatened by the Corona pandemic, and to prepare us for the 2021 European Rowing Junior Championships, simply admirable,” Oliver recalls. Everyone was keeping their fingers crossed for Jutta and hoping for the best. The forecast was good at times. But the races were increasingly unfair towards the end, with constant squalls and race extensions. Jutta was strong. Jutta was brave. Jutta had an incredible fighting spirit. As late as the beginning of December 2020, she gave an interview to Bavarian television at the regatta centre. Jutta was simply Jutta. And Jutta loved rowing.
“I let go, but I didn’t give up,” Jutta told her friend Cora shortly before her death.
Thank you, dear Jutta, for sharing so much with us. Thank you for leaving such a deep mark on so many hearts. We miss you.
“The legs were getting heavier and heavier, then a wind came and took her away!”
Our heartfelt condolences go to her husband Thomas, her entire family and all her friends.