Monday, Sept. 21, the Wilton Public Schools community was shocked to learn of the sudden death on Sunday of Wilton High School plant manager Cesar Jimenez.
Jimenez was a 33-year employee of the Wilton School District. Both of his children, Alex and Jessica, graduated from Wilton High School, and his brother, Mario Jimenez, is a WHS custodian. He also leaves behind his wife, Gloria.
In a message to the WHS community Monday, principal Dr. Bob O’Donnell wrote, “Mr. Jimenez was a friend and trusted colleague in addition to being our Plant Manager. Mr. Jimenez was a great man who was so dedicated to our school and to each and every one of us. He was honest, loyal, and very caring as a member of the school community. Mr. Jimenez was a very talented leader who was always focused on ensuring that the school in which we learn is clean, safe, and healthy. Mr. Jimenez was organized, decisive, and he had a good vision for what our school should look and feel like under his leadership. His knowledge of the school plant and the systems that keep it safe was outstanding.”
Superintendent Kevin Smith also paid tribute to Jimenez on Monday evening during a Board of Education meeting, calling Cesar one of the Wilton community’s Warriors. He described Jimenez’s “strength of character and tremendous work ethic,” and said he “very clearly made the most out of every day.”
Smith recalled how Jimenez immigrated from Colombia in 1984 and began his career as a daytime custodian at Wilton’s (then) Miller School in 1988 and was quickly promoted to head custodian just a few years later. In 2006, Jimenez requested the position of evening supervisor at WHS, a move Smith said, “reveals a great deal about who Cesar was as a human being.”
“For years, Cesar had a goal to finish his college degree. He’d been taking classes part-time for a while but was challenged to manage a full-time day job and attend college. [As] evening supervisor, Cesar saw the opportunity to maintain his employment and complete his degree. And while it was going to mean sacrifice, Cesar noted that he was committed to being the best role model for his children that he could be,” Smith said.
When he graduated from Southern Connecticut State University, Jimenez was quoted as saying, “I would say the American dream for me was to give my kids the chance to do whatever was possible. I think so far we’ve accomplished that.” He saw his son, Alex, graduate from WHS the same year, and join daughter Jessica at Lehigh University.
Smith said that “to know Cesar was to love him. He was much loved and much respected by everyone. He lived his values and was always the first to step forward when a job needed to be done,” adding that Jimenez was “described as caring, unassuming, humble, passionate, hardworking, and dedicated.”
O’Donnell credited Jimenez as being largely responsible for leading the WHS maintenance team in successfully readying the high school to open this year. “He approached the challenge of this pandemic with laser-like focus on the health and safety of our school.”
O’Donnell described Jimenez’s death as “a very difficult loss of a true Wilton Warrior who dedicated himself throughout his career to the students, staff, and families in Wilton.”
Both administrators noted that they would update the community about any plans for memorials or opportunities to support the Jimenez family.
Thank you so much for the beautiful article. It’s wonderful to read how truly loved my father was in the community.
My deepest condolences to you and your family! He was a true legend in our community for decades who will be greatly missed and never forgotten!
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