BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon-Upshur County community is mourning the loss of Upshur County Commissioner Terry Cutright.
Cutright passed away Thursday, Sept. 1.
Friends and co-workers remembered how Cutright influenced their life, work and the community during his time serving the county for almost eight years. Upshur County Commissioner Sam Nolte said Cutright became a friend and a mentor after they served on the commission together for so many years.
“It’s going to be hard; it’s just hard to imagine not seeing him at all and not working with him,” Nolte said. “He was very straightforward and sometimes that’s what you need, especially on a sensitive issue. He was just very, very upfront and I think everybody respected that. He ran unopposed last time, and I think that spoke volumes to the kind of job the citizens thought he was doing.”
Nolte said Cutright was always determined to serve the county in any way he could.
“I remember several years ago – and this was prior to him running again [in 2020] – he said, ‘if I feel good, I’m going to run again,’ and I remember him saying, ‘and if I feel good after that, I’ll run again,’ and this was not too long after he had some issues on the walk trail,” Nolte said. “I remember him looking at me saying, ‘I enjoy working with the community, the focus of the county employees, and working for the citizens,’ and I remember him making a comment that, even with all the stuff he had going on, he said, ‘if I feel good again, I will run again.’ His focus was trying to do what he thought was best for the citizens of Upshur County and he was excited to be involved.”
Upshur County Commission president Kristie Tenney said she regrets she did not have the opportunity to work with Cutright for a longer period.
“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work alongside Terry Cutright. My heart is broken to know our time together on the earth has been cut short,” Tenney said. “Having a colleague that not only was a mentor, but became a close friend is rare to find, and I will always treasure the time I had with him. Words cannot express how much he will be missed throughout the entire community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through this difficult time.”
Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry said Cutright operated as a mentor during the seven years they worked together.
“I am so very fortunate to have worked with Commissioner Cutright during the past seven years. He was a wonderful man with a big heart and an admirable passion for our community,” Perry said. “He shared numerous life lessons with me that I often find myself reflecting back on when handling daily situations with my own children. I will cherish those personal and professional talks we had and am grateful that our paths in life crossed. While saddened by our loss, I look forward to continuing to assist the Commission in carrying out the projects he assisted with and are not yet completed.”
At city council’s Sept. 1 meeting, Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders said he and Cutright knew each other for almost 40 years.
“Today, we mourn the loss of Upshur County Commissioner Terry Cutright. Upshur County has lost one of its leaders and I have lost one of my dearest friends,” Sanders said. “For close to 40 years, I have been honored to lend my voice through radio and my image through television to Ralph’s Furniture. Both Terry and his son, Joe, allowed me the creative freedom to create the commercials while they each provided the technical input needed so that I sounded like I knew what I was talking about.”
Sanders also shared a Record Delta article that included a variety of Cutright’s memories, spoken in his own voice.
Mayor Robbie Skinner said the city council and county commission have had several strained conversations recently, but regardless, he learned a lot from Cutright over the years.
“We have had some tense conversations with our friends at the county commission; we have had tense conversations amongst one another, but it doesn’t really matter because Brenda (Cutright’s wife) is going to be home tonight without Terry, Joe is not is going to wake up tomorrow without his dad, so we deliberate the business of the city and our community, and it is important business, but at the end of the day, if we can’t walk out of here and shake hands and be friends for the betterment of ourselves and each other this community, then we need to re-examine,” Skinner said. “I’m proud of us because we as a council, we do that, we shake hands, we don’t always agree, but we shake hands with the county commission.”
“We didn’t always agree, but I always enjoyed talking to Terry,” Skinner added. “I always enjoyed learning from Terry, he was a pistol.”
Skinner reflected on his interactions with Cutright outside of their county-city council relationship.
“I’ll never forget one time when I was president of the Chamber of Commerce and I said, ‘hey, Terry, do you want to give the closing remarks?’ and he said, ‘Robbie, if I gave closing remarks, everybody in here would leave because they’ve known me for many years,’” Skinner said. “Terry had a reputation, Terry had lots of stories, and I’m going to miss him. I know we’re all going to miss him, but let us be mindful as we move forward, that even though we might have a disagreement or two, what is important is our health, our families, our friends, and what we do as human beings outside of here — how we carry ourselves – and Terry carried himself as a gentleman.”
According to Cutright’s obituary, friends will be received Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held Monday 11 a.m. at the funeral home with Pastor Ed Lowther officiating. Burial will follow in the Buckhannon Memorial Park in Buckhannon.
Editor’s note: My Buckhannon staff members always enjoyed working with county commissioner Terry Cutright and offer our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to his family and friends.