BAYONET POINT — Cars crept by their house at night every December for 25 years. Families admired the animated creatures and thousands of colorful lights, and Bill and Dotty Cutler greeted them with cheer and candy canes.
They were like Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, and their innovative decorations inspired others on Western Way in Beacon Woods to turn their street into a holiday wonderland.
Just a few weeks ago, the Pasco Times featured the Cutlers. Age was catching up with them, and they had scaled back on the number of lights and robotic animals that Bill had brought to life in his garage. After the story, they were amazed at the response as total strangers stopped by to say thanks.
"Dotty was so excited and happy," her husband of 71 years said on Thursday. "It was like we were celebrities."
But just before Christmas, she fell ill. And on Wednesday (Dec. 30, 2009), she died.
The news came as a shock to everyone at the Hudson Library, where Mrs. Cutler had volunteered since moving here in 1984. She and Leah Cadieux earned the affectionate title of "Wednesday girls," because that was their day to work.
"Wednesdays won't be the same," said Doree Bonello, a library technician. "Dotty made everyone smile. She liked to tell jokes and always brought in little baggies of candy. She was always smiling and laughing, just a wonderful person."
Last year their family took them on a cruise to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. The Cutlers raised two sons, Willard and John. There are six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for Mrs. Cutler has been set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church on U.S. 19 in Hudson. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Rotary Club of Hudson Scholarship Fund. Mr. Cutler, 91, is a longtime member of that club and has led an effort over the years to donate more than 200 wheelchairs to poor people in Barbados.