Rob Cutler – a Remembrance

April 7, 2011

by Ben, Aaron, Cindy and Jeff Cutler

Rob Cutler’s motto could well have been “actions speak louder than words”. He led his life by example and by exemplary actions. He treated everyone he met with the same regard, whether they were wearing a tuxedo or a plain pair of work khakis. It’s no wonder he loved the quote, “that Robbie Cutler; he’s no slave to fashion!”

No one was beneath his respect or unworthy of his time, and he touched almost everyone he met. Cutler made friends everywhere he went and was considered a great friend by many. He had a remarkable sense of humor and a joy for life that can only be described as transcendent.

Robert Jeffrey Cutler, happily married to Margaret Steers Cutler for over 46 years, father of four and grandfather of 6, died this week at home in Hingham, MA, of complications from cancer.

Rob Cutler was born in 1940 to parents Henry and Lillian Cutler. He grew up in the Merrymount section of Quincy with his parents and older brother Steve. Rob graduated from Thayer Academy in Braintree in 1957 and went on to Tufts University in Medford, MA. He later took graduate courses in business at Babson College. One of his first jobs was working for his father at Cutler Buick in Cohasset.

Cutler worked for Mobil Oil after college, taking a six-month hiatus to join the Air Force Reserve. Throughout his life, he invoked his training as a medic in the Air Force helping people with a cut or scrape. As far as is known, he never lost a patient.

After working several jobs in the oil industry (and getting fired once), it occurred to Cutler that perhaps an entrepreneurial tack might be his best opportunity at success in business. With two mortgages – he had moved his family and had not yet sold his house – his wife, and four children under the age of 8 to support, Cutler established a successful petroleum wholesale and retail business in the early 1970s. No one could fire him and he never stopped working hard.

Rob Cutler was never a spectator in life. At Tufts, he was president of his fraternity, Delta Upsilon. He enjoyed skiing and spent years dedicating winter weekends to Mt. Snow with his family and friends. He was an avid boater and sailor and was never far from the water.

Working hard and wanting to work hard are very different, and the distinction was punctuated by Cutler’s early retirement. He found a beautiful home in Sanibel IS, FL and took residency there where he could golf, boat, bike, swim, and basically squeeze every last drop out of the warm sunny days of island life. Retirement suited him. He held golf club memberships at Beachview Country Club in Sanibel  and at South Shore Country Club in Hingham, those were indeed his playgrounds. A passionate sports fan, Rob held season tickets to the Patriots, and rarely missed an opportunity to attend a Sox, Celts, or Bruins game. He attended Super Bowls and World Series games as well, but preferred regular season games when the genuine fans were in the stands.

Above everything else, Rob was a family man. He loved Margo and his children and their spouses, Jeff (and Gretchen Kinder), Cindy (and Alex Swartwood), Aaron (and Katie Fischer), and Ben (and Katie Doran), unconditionally. He was happiest when surrounded by them and his extended family; his brother Steve and his wife Alice and their children, his cousins and the many close friends that he considered family.

He was a grandfather six times over, fondly called Bobby by the grandchildren (Charlie, Sophie and Whit Swartwood and Libby, George and Bo Cutler). They adored him and he them, taking much joy in spoiling them in ways he never spoiled their parents and uncles.

Cutler demanded much of his employees and his children, but never more than he himself would give. He expected complete honesty and ambition, and while he didn’t suffer fools, he had patience and compassion for those less fortunate than he. It was this compassion that drove Rob to join the board of Grampy’s Charities nearly 25 years ago. Grampy’s Charities has donated millions of dollars to children’s charities like Make-a-Wish, Ronald McDonald House, the Jimmy Fund, CCFA and others.

When Robbie was asked how he felt about his cancer diagnosis, he replied that he’d been very fortunate and had accomplished almost everything he could have hoped to. He had truly lived and was content with that legacy. One of the last things he asked of his children was that they continue to enjoy themselves and love their family. And, most of all, to be happy and true to themselves.

Rob Cutler truly led by example.

A memorial service will be held at Schlossberg & Solomon Chapel, 824 Washington Street in Canton, Friday, April 8, 2011 at 10am.  A private burial will follow in Hingham.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Grampy’s Charities.