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Recalling a mentor, a friend — a newsman

In Remembrance

Stonebridge Press co-owner David Cutler, seen above in the Southbridge Evening News editorial department in 2004, passed away Sunday. File photo. (click for larger version)
March 02, 2010
In an era when newspapers are facing difficult challenges, it is rare to find optimism in the front office. When a company loses such a booster it hurts.

Such optimism was the guiding spirit for Stonebridge Press co-owner David Cutler, who passed away last weekend at age 66 with a hand still in the newsroom of this paper and several others.

For many who knew him, whether they're still in the journalism field, have left for other pursuits, or were town officials he covered, Cutler had a reputation for being knowledgable, fair and immensely dedicated to his profession.

"I forgave him for being a Republican, but that's to make a point," said former Southbridge Town Councilor Bernard Haggerty. "He never let his personal stuff get in the way of community interests."

Cutler was "completely informed on the issues, and that's rare," Haggerty added, noting many writers today, especially on the Internet, "let their personal aspects filter into the public."

In the newsroom, however, the connections with Cutler were often close and personal.

Former editor Lorraine Martinelle described him as "my mentor. I knew him very well and he's a really important part of my life."

Martinelle, who was Lorraine Urbanski during her stint with the paper, started here as a college intern in June 1996, shortly after Cutler and partner John Coots bought it and several related papers. She recalled that Cutler made a point of giving his staff opportunities to learn the craft of journalism — sometimes in unexpected ways.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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