Erland A. Cutter ’69

Erland A. Cutter ’69 died on November 23, 2020 in Gorham, Maine

(The following was published by usobit.com on November 27, 2020)

Erland A. Cutter, 73, passed away peacefully at home on the morning of November 23, with his loving wife at his side. Earl had been bravely fighting Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) for over nine years and had made peace with his illness by living a remarkable life surrounded by love and laughter. His spirit remained strong despite the impact of the disease on his body. Erland Alfred Cutter was born October 6, 1947, the third son of Clifford and Dorothy (Rousseau) Cutter. He grew up in Westbrook where he was an Eagle Scout, a Little League catcher, an accordion player, valedictorian and Class Wit of the Westbrook High School Class of 1965. As a student he was active in Key Club, served as the school correspondent for the Westbrook American, played in a student band called the Six Situations, and won an S.D. Warren Scholarship to attend Bowdoin College. At Bowdoin, Class of 1969, Earl majored in French Literature and was a James Bowdoin Scholar. Upon graduation, he considered entering the priesthood and spent a summer living and working at Bowdoin’s Newman Center. Always deeply religious, Earl never missed mass and served as a lector at St. Hyacinth’s in Westbrook for many years. He served in the U.S. Army, then began a distinguished 37-year career as a teacher at his alma mater, Westbrook High School. He served as the language department chairman for many years, mentoring fellow teachers, until his retirement in 2008. As an educator, “Mr. C” was revered by his students who later in life sent him letters expressing affection and deep appreciation. He taught French and Latin, but he always used language instruction and literature as a means of inspiring students to be intellectually curious. As Jeff Stone, WHS ’73, wrote recently, “Earl was a fantastic teacher, so smart, funny, engaging, irreverent, a true lover of literature and language who also clearly loved his students. He was definitely the coolest, wittiest teacher at WHS.” For many years, Earl served as the voice of the Blue Blazes, announcing basketball, soccer and football games. When he retired, the broadcast booth at Westbrook High School’s Olmsted Field was named for him. Former student-athletes have shared their fond memories of his distinguished voice during their time on the field. In 1980, Earl married Judy LeBel, and created a beautiful family and life together. A devoted father, he experienced the joy of coaching and teaching all three of his children, Ben, Drew and Megan, and supported all of their academic and athletic endeavors. Earl held dearly in his heart those moments that included his family, such as trips to his beloved Paris where he met and fell in love with Judy, ice fishing at his brother Warren’s camp, and simply sitting around a Sebago campfire sharing stories and laughter, all with the music of Dylan and Kristofferson playing in the background. He was a passionate Boston sports fan, and family trips to Fenway Park remained some of his most cherished memories. Earl was happiest spending long summer days at the family camp at Sebago Lake surrounded by family and friends, or sitting quietly on the beach working on a NY Times crossword puzzle. After a family meal, his signature farewell to his children was always, “I love you, come again.” Earl remained close to his childhood friends, who created their “Out to Lunch Bunch”. This loyal group of friends included Edgar Beem, Roland Quinlan, Bob Smyth, and the late Chris Couch. They enjoyed each other’s company every week over lunch in a variety of locations throughout southern Maine. Earl and Judy were grateful for such supportive and loyal friends. “Earl’s determination and courage in the face of such a terrifying disease was truly amazing,” wrote Bob Smyth. Despite this ugly disease, Earl never complained and never allowed his disabilities to define him. A true inspiration to all, Earl maintained his positive attitude and irreverent wit right to the very end. When asked how he was coping with his illness, he never said “Why me” but always humbly responded, “Why not me”. Even years after retiring, Earl continued to teach us important life lessons in the way he carried himself. Earl is survived by his wife, Judy, who lovingly cared for him at home during his illness, the couple’s three children; son Ben and wife, Marissa, of Standish, son Andrew and wife, Laura, of Portland, and daughter Megan and fiancé, Anthony Savino, of Windham. He was the loving Papa to Grady, Haley, Hazel, and Dominic. Earl is also survived by his older brothers Wayne of Muskegon, MI, Warren of Limerick, ME, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents.

2 Comments Erland A. Cutter ’69

  1. Bruce Griffin

    Earl was the only person I knew who talked his way out of the Army. He was drafted as a Conscientious Objector and was sent to San Antonio to train as a medic, where he realized that even non-combatant status was in violation of his anti-war principles. He applied for discharge, enlisting the support of his chaplain and others to support his case. I visited him at the holding company where he was confined while he waited to see what the Army would do with him. I had just been discharged from the Army myself, and drove back to Massachusetts in the Texas truck I had acquired. When I got home, I was astonished to hear that the Army had been persuaded.

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  2. Bruce Jordan

    Erl was a Freshman friend from Appleton Hall back in ’65-66. He had a smile wider than the Cheshire Cat, and his pneumatic, high-pitched laugh was as unique as it was frequent and contagious. A terrific guy; to use Erl’s top compliment, accompanied by that laugh, “He’s a classic!”

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