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Ernest Cutting Summary of Life
On March 26, 2023, Ernest Edwin Cutting died at home in Minneapolis. He was 81 years old.
Ernie is survived by his wife, Beth Adrian Johnson Cutting; their children, Clyde, Andrea and
Randall Cutting, all of Minneapolis; granddaughters Hazel (22), Skye (22), Birka (17) and Kirra
(13); siblings Todd, Robert, Rebecca, Vanessa and Craig and their spouses and children. He was
preceded in death by his parents, Edwin Albert Cutting and Doris Emily [Whitcomb] Cutting
of Portland, Oregon.
Ernie was known for his down-to-earth nature and dry sense of humor. He approached life with
open congeniality and interest in people. He was unfailingly kind, aware that everyone has
troubles. He stood for what was right and decent, always choosing the principled path regardless
of the effort or cost to himself. He also loved plants the way many people enjoy pets.
Ever eager for Spring, Ernie was born at 7:25 a.m. on March 21, 1942, in Rochester, Minnesota.
A Byron and West Concord farm boy, his family responsibilities included milking cows,
cleaning the barn, washing dishes, making hay, and plowing fields. During the growing season
he tended seedlings for the family business, the Cutting Nursery, and assisted on landscape
installations around Southern Minnesota. He was active in 4-H, Boy Scouts, the Grange, and the
Methodist Youth Fellowship. In 1960 he graduated as valedictorian of West Concord High
In August of 1960, suitcase in hand, Ernie took the train to the Twin Cities to continue his
studies. In the fall of 1962, he met Beth at a Wesley Foundation event in St. Anthony Park
United Methodist Church, where they would be married on June 15, 1963. He graduated
from University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts in 1965, by then raising a toddler with
another child on the way. He enrolled in the University of Minnesota Law School and graduated
with a Juris Doctor in 1968, just weeks before his third child was born.
After graduation, Ernie took a job with a St. Paul law firm specializing in real estate. By 1975, he
had established a solo law practice focusing on family law, matters relating to non-profit
organizations, and guardianships and conservatorships. Over the course of his career, as
something of a personal ministry, he supported the quality of life and financial well-being of
some 130 individuals entrusted to his care by Ramsey County Courts.
Meanwhile, his church and community involvement were picking up pace. In 1964, at age 22,
Ernie was ordained as an elder at Lexington Parkway Presbyterian Church, where he and Beth
were also Youth Directors. Never reluctant to attend a meeting, he remained active in the
leadership of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for over 40 years. During those decades, he held a
variety of positions, including Moderator and Stated Clerk, at many levels, from his start at
Lexington Parkway Church, to the Presbytery of St. Paul and the Presbytery of the Twin Cities
Area, to the broader Synod of Lakes and Prairies. In 1972-73, he was Moderator of the
Presbytery of St. Paul during the merger of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Presbyteries. He is
particularly remembered for his ability to listen, his calm (and calming) manner, and his clarity
of communication during the inevitable tensions and disagreements that arose.
His early participation in youth organizations led to a deep interest in the structures and minutia
of parliamentary procedures. A self-professed enthusiast for Robert’s Rules of Order, Ernie
upheld the orderly conduct of civil society as an officer of the Northern Lights Parliamentarians
and of the Minnesota State Association of Parliamentarians. He frequently acted as
Parliamentarian for the Presbyterian Church and once filled in as Parliamentarian for United
Church of Christ.
His community work focused on mental health and physical welfare. Concerned about barriers to
housing, in the late 1960s Ernie helped launch People, Incorporated, a nonprofit corporation
serving people with mental illnesses in the Twin Cities. People, Inc. now provides crisis shelter,
residential programs, case management, and in-home health services to individuals with mental
illness. He served on the People, Inc. board of directors for three years and subsequently as
president of the corporation for thirteen years.
In the late 1990s Ernie became involved with Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors, a Living at
Home/Block Nurse Program. He was elected to its board of directors in 2001 and became
chairperson of the board in 2003. He remained on the board in various capacities for nearly 20
years, resigning only last November.
Amidst his busy meetings schedule, Ernie was dedicated to his immediate and extended family.
As a parent, he and Beth took their kids on weekend camping trips many times each summer.
They visited every Minnesota State Park, most many times, and explored state and national parks
from Minnesota to the West Coast, where they traveled each summer to visit his parents,
siblings, and other family. He taught his children to build fires, set up camp, fish, and other
outdoor skills. He showed families how to make their own Christmas wreaths at holiday Advent
workshops. At home he gardened and maintained the family home where they lived for 55 years.
The house expanded over the years, creating space to host family gatherings on holidays and
when any other excuse presented itself. Ernie and Beth offered their hospitality widely, housing
family, friends and even strangers passing through the Twin Cities as well as longer-term
residents mostly from younger generations. When Ernie and Beth attempted to list the people
who have lived with them for longer than a brief visit, they came up with 50 names.
A memorial service for Ernie is scheduled for 11:00am on Saturday, April 29, at Macalester
Plymouth United Church, St. Paul. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be sent to one of Ernie’s
Macalester Plymouth United Church, https://Macalester-Plymouth.org
Presbyterian Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center, https://ClearwaterForest.org
Hallie Q Brown Food Shelf, https://HallieQBrown.org
Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors, https://LSHealthySeniors.org
Friday, April 14, 2023
Starts at 1:00pm (Central time)
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
Macalester Plymouth United Church (Saint Paul)
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