Tuesday, January 23, 2018
News Roundup

Paul McCutcheon devoted his life to family and simple things

SEMINOLE — Though born into wealth, Paul McCutcheon Jr. strived for a simple lifestyle and very nearly achieved it.

He chose a career that allowed him to get his hands dirty and stay lean and brown under the sun. The owner of McCutcheon Nurseries was less interested in money than the fun he could have with it for himself and his children.

He ate at diners and ordered whatever was cheapest, his family said. He drove a green Chevrolet pickup and took eager neighborhood children for rides in the back when he came home from work.

He used money to make things grow, whether shrubs or flowers or relationships.

The Evening Independent devoted a page in the Father's Day 1960 issue to Mr. McCutcheon and his family. The "father most likely to succeed" stood indulgently beside a golf cart filled with children, behind the wheel of his pickup and beside his wife, Patricia, loading the dishwasher.

As his children grew up, he took them fishing and diving, even hang gliding in the hills of North Carolina. The death of a son, Paul McCutcheon III, would sadden him greatly but did not dampen his enthusiasm for the simple pleasures.

Mr. McCutcheon was born in St. Petersburg in 1926. At age 3, he inherited $500,000 from a maternal relative. His father, Paul McCutcheon, once owned the Goose Pond land beneath what is now Central Plaza.

An uncle, Robert McCutcheon, was mayor of St. Petersburg in the 1940s, a Republican in a county run by Democrats.

Mr. McCutcheon attended Florida Military Academy, the University of Florida and Florida State University. He served in the Army once and the Navy twice.

In the 1950s he bought 5 1/2 acres on 34th Street S where a Pinellas Technical Education Centers campus stands now.

In 1953, his father sold the Goose Pond property, a $6,000 investment, for $250,000. Mr. McCutcheon first called his property Goose Pond Jr., then changed the name to McCutcheon Nurseries.

In 1955 he married Patricia, a native of the Redington area who had been widowed during World War II. Mr. McCutcheon, who owned a glass-bottomed pram and one of the first outboard motors sold locally, invited her and her two children to go fishing.

"He made a very good first impression," said Patricia McCutcheon, 87. "He was very nice and kind to my children."

Mr. McCutcheon would adopt those children; then they had three more.

Mr. McCutcheon took his children on produce runs, encouraged them to set up their own stands and showed them the basics of business. He bought a swing set for the back yard and a gravity-powered kiddie roller coaster.

In the late 1970s, he began a different kind of roller-coaster ride as a parent.

Paul McCutcheon III, known to friends and family as Mackey, had been slipping.

His grades in high school dropped dramatically. His father entered him into a drug treatment program.

In 1981, Paul McCutcheon III died of an overdose of Dolophine, a methadone derivative, three days after his wife also died of the same causes.

"They say you never give up on your child, "said Tom McCutcheon, Mr. McCutcheon's son. "He would keep trying to bail him out. It hurt him."

Mr. McCutcheon still spoke of his son in later years, remembering his better aspects.

The last 20 years, he enjoyed working in his garage and his yard.

Earlier this year he broke a hip. His health declined in recent months.

Mr. McCutcheon died Oct. 21 after an illness. He was 86.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments

Updated: 28 minutes ago
Map: Where to park for Gasparilla and the NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa

Map: Where to park for Gasparilla and the NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa

The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates and NHL All-Star Weekend overlap Saturday in downtown Tampa. Here are highlights of what to know before you go.GETTING THEREThe parade route runs generally along Bayshore Boulevard north to Ashley Street (In blue on t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Troopers: U.S. 19 at Countryside Blvd. now open except for inside lane

Troopers: U.S. 19 at Countryside Blvd. now open except for inside lane

CLEARWATER — Officials have reopened U.S. 19 at Countryside Blvd. except for the inside lane.† The entire highway was closed for a brief period Tuesday while workers cleaned up a chemical spill after a Terminix truck flipped over. According t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco joins opioid litigation

Pasco joins opioid litigation

NEW PORT RICHEY ó Once every three days in 2017, somebody in Pasco County overdosed on opioids. The statistic, revealed Tuesday by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, helped cement the Pasco County Commissionís decision a few minutes later to join ongoing lit...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Five Hernando County educators nominated for LifeChanger of the Year Awards

Hernando County Public Schools has five educators in the running for prizes ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 in the 2017-2018 national LifeChanger of the Year awards. The program will give out 17 awards.Travis Bruns and Doug Poteet of Pine Grove Elemen...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Brooksville church starts ministry to feed the hungry

Brooksville church starts ministry to feed the hungry

BROOKSVILLE ó It was the first sermon of 2017 at Grace World Outreach Church when Sue Bailey heard her pastor, David Garcia, talk about visions."He preached about a huge vision and said we should Ďstay the courseí and not let Satan distract us," Bail...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Chase to make $20B investment, raise wages

Chase to make $20B investment, raise wages

JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday that it will boost wages, open new branches and hire thousands of new workers, citing improved economic performance and sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code. Wages will rise to between $15 and $18 an hour from a rang...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Column: The left is so used to being sold out that it canít tell when itís winning

Column: The left is so used to being sold out that it canít tell when itís winning

Democrats are feckless. When it counts, they always fold. After all, theyíre more beholden to donors and lobbyists than they are to their base.This narrative is so old, so straightforward, and so pleasingly infuriating that it just rolls off the tong...
Updated: 2 hours ago
No reports of dog flu in Tampa Bay, but another virus could pose threat

No reports of dog flu in Tampa Bay, but another virus could pose threat

A nasty strain of the flu is sweeping the country and the CDC reports that deadly cases have increased in nearly every region of the United States. To make matters worse, your pets are also at risk of catching their own flu.But while Humane Society o...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Suspect in custody after man fatally shot in Holiday

HOLIDAY ó A 60-year-old man was arrested by Pasco County Sheriffís deputies Tuesday, after deputies say he fatally shot his neighbor.Deputies identified the man as Qiu Feng Ke during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.The victim, a man in his 30s, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago