Friday, April 20, 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
Woman says Hernando County commissioner kept her as a ‘sex slave’

Woman says Hernando County commissioner kept her as a ‘sex slave’

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Hernando County commissioner arrested on prostitution chargesThe commissioner faces charges of operating a location for prostitution and two counts of purchasing services from a person engaged in prostitution, according to the Hern...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE — A gunman who carried a shotgun in a guitar case opened fire Friday in a Florida high school, wounding one student before he was arrested on a day planned for a national classroom walkout to protest gun violence, authorities said. It...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone. It’s legal, but is it okay?

LARGO — Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip., was shot an...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

TAMPA — The NFL draft is one big game of Liar's Poker. Deal me out.Even the guys with a seat at the table don't know when someone is bluffing.Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows that the team's No. 7 overall pick this year will be affected b...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Parents sue Tampa football league, former coach accused of lewd conduct

Parents sue Tampa football league, former coach accused of lewd conduct

The parents of two teens have filed a lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Youth Football League and the man accused of harassing and molesting them while he was their coach.The parents say the organization and Davarius Durham were negligent and caused phys...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Tuesday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining ot...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Eakins: New ‘achievement zone’ would lift struggling schools

Eakins: New ‘achievement zone’ would lift struggling schools

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins is preparing to reorganize his cabinet — for the third time since 2015 — in an effort to coordinate programs at the district’s highest-needs schools.In an interview this week, Eakins descr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Woman attacks door of special needs bus with kids inside, curses at driver, deputies say

Woman attacks door of special needs bus with kids inside, curses at driver, deputies say

TAMPA — In an apparent fit of anger, a woman banged on a special needs bus door until it cracked. Children were inside and may have heard the string of profanities she shouted at the bus driver, deputies said.Now they want her to pay $250 in damages....
Updated: 2 hours ago