April 09, 2014 - Oxford's weather-prognosticating llama has gone to roam that big pasture in the sky.
Tutor, a resident of Windstar Farm in Oxford Township, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, April 3, 2014. He was 9 years old.
"I'm going to really going to miss him. He was my buddy," said Mark Harries, who owns Windstar Farm with his wife Beth. "He'd been doing well. It was kind of shock to go out there and find him. He seemed as healthy as he'd been for the last several years."
Tutor was famous for making weather forecasts on Groundhog Day, a practice he began in 2010. He would only communicate his thoughts with Mark.
"He was always very proud of his weather predictions and gave it his best," Beth said.
Temperament-wise, the Harries family couldn't have asked for a better four-legged friend.
"He was a very docile, tame, friendly llama," Mark said. "He had been since he was born."
"Absolutely sweet" and "easygoing" is how Beth described him.
"I think he got that from me," Mark added.
Tutor was the Harries family's third weather-predicting critter and even though he owns 26 other llamas, Mark believes he'll probably be the last one to dabble in meteorology.
Mark isn't sure about continuing the tradition because media attention and community support has dwindled over the last few years.
"To be honest with you, there doesn't seem to be much interest in it anymore," he said. "(The Leader) seems to be interested every year and that's about it now."
But he hasn't completely ruled out the idea of selecting a successor llama.
"It anybody was (to take over) it would be Blue. I've used him in the last couple parades," he said.
Tutor's mentor was Mr. Prozac (Zac, for short), another llama who served as Oxford's official prognosticator from 2003-09.
For a while, Zac and his predictions were featured in newspapers across the nation including the Wall Street Journal.
Zac learned his secret weather-forecasting skills from the legendary Noah John, Oxford's famous one-eyed groundhog.
Noah captured the community's heart and much media attention with his popular public appearances in downtown's Centennial Park every Feb. 2 from 1999 until his last prediction in 2002.
He died in April 2002.
That's how Oxford ended up with a llama.
Rest in peace, Tutor.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.