Eric Stephen Cutler of Quogue died on November 17 of cardiac arrest. He was 67.
Born on March 3, 1948, the son of Wilbert and Senta Cutler, he was the oldest of four.
Seventh grade would prove to be a pivotal year in Mr. Cutler’s life, as it was the year he would first meet the girl he would marry—Pamela Lomas. The two become friends in high school and he asked her to be his date to the senior ball. Years later, they were married on the beach as the sun rose over the ocean on the morning of May 11, 1974.
Mr. Cutler always had a passion for the sea, survivors said. A lifelong surfer, he would attend Fort Schuyler Maritime College, graduating with a degree in marine transportation as a deck officer. This led to a career as a Merchant Mariner for 45 years. The Maersk Wisconsin was the last commercial vessel he sailed on, although he would continue to use his talents as a sailor in many ways, up until his death.
For the first 14 years of their married life, the couple believed they couldn’t have children. They spent much of their time with Mr. Cutler’s cousin, Linda Shene, her then-husband Jerry, and their two children, Bethany and Adam, all of whom became a very special part of the Cutler family. Then, in 1988, their first and only child, Hana, was born. Although he had his captain’s license, after the birth of his daughter, Mr. Cutler chose to sail as a supporting crew member so that he could spend the majority of the time at home with his family.
Always one for learning new things, Mr. Cutler was continually finding new hobbies to embark upon. An avid Jimi Hendrix fan, he was teaching himself bass guitar. The family elderberry bushes supplied fruit to make delicious homemade elderberry wine. Every week he, his uncle Ben Larson, and the boys would spend time playing board games for hours. Emails from his friends, Chad Burgess and Sacha Ames, provided jokes and hilarity at the dinner table. Mr. Cutler and his daughter Hana spent time watching campy black-and-white science fiction films. There was always room for more knowledge and more laughter in his life, survivors said.
Along with being a skilled sailor, Mr. Cutler was a talented craftsman and owned a small carpentry business. He was often called upon to do odd jobs for people who needed help. He was a member of Calvary Baptist Church of Riverhead for 30 years, and a volunteer at the Quogue Fire Department for 22 years. In recent years, he was assisting in the restoration and general maintenance of the historic fireboat Fire Fighter in Greenport. He liked to work behind the scenes, out of the spotlight, but wherever he was serving he excelled, survivors said.
In 1993 his captain’s license, along with an introduction by his wife’s older brother, Ken Lomas and wife Brandell, would help to make a lifelong connection with a Christian humanitarian organization called Friend Ships. Their purpose was, and continues to be, to bring food, supplies, housing materials, medical expertise, other kinds of support and the love of Christ to areas in need, all via ship. The Cutler family would travel and serve together with Friend Ships, on and off, for more than 22 years.
While he and his wife were staying at Friend Ships in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Mr. Cutler went into cardiac arrest on November 9. Despite immediate medical assistance from Ms. Cutler’s younger brother, Keith, he died on November 17, after eight days in the hospital.
Mr. Cutler is survived by his wife, Pamela; daughter Hana; godchild Arleen Johnson and her sons, Yah’eez and A’sheyr; a sister, Karen Johnson and husband Michael of Florida; nephews, Aaron Johnson and K.C. Cutler, who is serving overseas in the U.S. Army; a brother, Mark of Massachusetts; and a sister-in-law, Mary of Mattituck. He was predeceased by a brother, Karl, in 2010.
A memorial service will be held at Calvary Baptist Church in Riverhead on Saturday, December 19, at 10 a.m.
Memorial donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, cbcriverhead.org, or Friend Ships, www.friendships.org.