Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sad ending to a Bayonet Point Christmas tradition

After they scaled back decorations this year, Bill and Dotty Cutler were amazed as strangers stopped to thank them for 25 years of turning their yard into a winter wonderland.


After they scaled back decorations this year, Bill and Dotty Cutler were amazed as strangers stopped to thank them for 25 years of turning their yard into a winter wonderland.

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.

Sad ending to a Bayonet Point Christmas tradition 12/31/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2009 7:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Johnny Depp asks about assassinating the president at Glastonbury Festival (w/video)


    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

    Actor Johnny Depp introduces a film at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. [Grant Pollard | Invision/AP]
  2. Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's



  3. Florida education news: Charter schools, traveling man, lunch prices and more


    #HB7069: Now that it's law, HB 7069 has a new target on its back: Will it be challenged in court? Broward County Democrat Sen. Gary Farmer says he's doing all he can "to …

    Thousands of children attend Florida charter schools, which are growing in number and now stand to receive capital projects local tax revenue.
  4. Forecast: Hot, humid and mostly dry conditions prevail for St. Pete Pride weekend


    The threat of any lingering effects from Tropical Storm Cindy have passed, leaving behind a relatively dry — but hot and humid — St. Pete Pride weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast [WTSP]
  5. Florida Insiders: The state parties are dying; 'I heard someone long for the leadership of Jim Greer'


    For all the attention on Florida Democratic Chairman Stephen Bittel's bone headed gaffe this week, the diminished state of the once mighty Florida GOP today compared to even a few years ago is arguably more striking than the condition of the long-suffering Florida Democratic Party. A decade ago, no one would have …

    Florida Insider Poll