Karl Thomas Cutler, of Mattituck, beloved husband of Mary Fitzpatrick-Cutler and devoted father to Karl (K.C.) W. Cutler, died on Monday, December 20, 2010, at Stony Brook University Medical Center from complications due to an allogeneic stem cell transplant.
Karl valiantly waged a thirteen-year battle against Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. During those years, he underwent chemotherapy multiple times and a previous stem cell transplant in 2008. Yet, all who knew him were enriched by his love for life, his kindness and his determination to survive. Karl never complained about his cancer or about how he was feeling, telling anyone who inquired “He was fine.”
Born in Brooklyn on October 2, 1949, he lived in the Village of Westhampton Beach, N.Y., for the early part of his life. A 1967 graduate of Westhampton Beach High School, Karl was an outstanding athlete competing in gymnastics and track. He also spent much of his time surfing with his friends in the ocean waters off Dune Road. He was captain of the Farmingdale College Track Team, competing in the discus and javelin. After graduating from Farmingdale in 1969, he attended Cortland State College, earning in 1969 a bachelor’s degree in physical fitness and recreation. Karl spent his summers as an ocean lifeguard. He was recognized several times by the Town of Westhampton for making daring rescues saving several people’s lives. He also enjoyed racing his Hobie Cat and dancing.
In order to pursue his passion for surfing and windsurfing, Karl relocated to Florida in the late seventies. He was a member of the I.A.T.S.E. Florida local, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, working at the Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach. There he performed many aspects of theater work including carpentry, prop making and serving as the theater’s head fly man. He also maintained an interest in the South Florida Surf Sail Shop on Singer Island.
He met his wife, Mary, windsurfing on Shore Road in Remsenburg and returned to the South Fork full time after they married in 1988. They purchased a circa 1830s house on Foster Crossing in East Quoque. Karl spent two years meticulously renovating their home to its original character and beauty. Their son Karl (K.C.) W. Cutler was born on August 17, 1989.
The family moved to Mattituck in October 1993. Karl spent these family years working as a skilled craftsman and mill worker. He also taught Ballroom Dancing for Riverhead School’s Adult Education Program and for other local community centers. He will be fondly remembered by his many students for his amazing talent, but more so for his patience, encouragement and unending good humor. He also returned to his first love, theater work, building and designing sets for the Quoque Junior Theater and more recently for the Quogue Theater.
Karl’s leisure time was spent primarily with his family. He was a dedicated soccer dad, taking K.C. to practices and attending every one of his son’s games. Karl could always be found standing by the net silently supporting K.C., who played keeper. He also supported his wife’s equestrian pursuits, driving the trailer to her many competitions and often serving as her groom and coach. A lifelong car enthusiast, Karl would be seen about town driving his yellow Corvette ’65 coupe. He also loved motorcycles, and enjoyed nothing more than touring to Orient on his Harley Davidson. The family moored their older Chris Craft in Deep Hole Creek and Karl spent considerable time maintaining the boat. All who knew Karl admired him for his ability to fix and maintain virtually anything. From his thirty-year-old lawn mower to building dirt bikes from parts and pieces, Karl reveled in making things “old” be useful once again. As K.C. matured, he and his father enjoyed vintage military rifles and target shooting. Much of the past four years was spent traveling to Lexington, Virginia, to see his son K.C. participate in parades and events at Virginia Military Institute, where he is a First Classman (senior). Karl spent the remainder of his time playing frisbee with his boxer, Rocky.
Aside from his wife and son, Karl is survived by his devoted mother, Senta Cutler, of Quiogue; his brother Eric and sister-in law Pam, of Quogue; his sister Karen and brother-in-law Michael Johnson of Royal Palm Beach, Florida; and his brother Mark, of Boston. He was also dearly loved and survived by his father-in-law Walter Pfeifer of Watervliet, N.Y., and his sister-in-law Patricia Pfeifer of Waterford, N.Y. He is survived by his nieces, Hana Cutler and Katy and Grace Pfeifer and nephews Aaron Johnson and Thomas Pfeifer. His father, Wilbert, predeceased him in 1974.
His lifelong friend, Charlotte Lander of Quogue, remembered Karl as “a loving and devoted husband and father. A loving son and brother, and loved in return by all who knew him. He was an accomplished gymnast, fantastic dancer, Corvette fan, lifesaver and someone who had the most gentle way about him. People that knew him, knew who he was and what he did and those who never had the pleasure of knowing him missed out on a golden opportunity.”
Visitation, service and reception were held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Westhampton Beach on December 23, 2010, where Karl served for years as an usher. The service was conducted by Father Patrick Ward and funeral arrangements were handled by Follet and Warner of Westhampton Beach. Memorial donations in Karl’s name can be sent to the St. Mark’s Youth Scholarship Fund or the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society.
This is a paid notice.