February 3, 1923 – December 2, 2013
Lee William McCutchen, age 90, passed away suddenly Dec. 2, 2013 at his home in Oracle, Arizona.
Lee was born in Dayton, Ohio on Feb. 3, 1923 to Harry Matthew McCutchen and his wife Bessie E. Lee McCutchen.
He lived most of his childhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from Blake High School in June 1942. He attended Ripon College in Wisconsin until he enlisted in the Army in World War II. In 1945 he entered the University of Minnesota from which he received a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. Lee studied languages the University of Arizona.
Lee was severely injured on May 30, 1944 in Italy. His left leg was amputated very high and he had eight major surgeries throughout his body. He was awarded the Purple Heart as well as Bronze Star for “heroic achievement, courage and devotion to duty.”
Before the war, Lee was an accomplished figure skater and enjoyed playing tennis. Despite the way his injuries altered his life, Lee refused to call himself handicapped. He enjoyed hiking and exploring Indian ruins even on crutches. He traveled widely in North and South America and lived several years in Mexico. In 1953 he got a pilot’s license and bought a small plane for his travels. He continued to improve on the radio skills he acquired in the Army attaining the highest amateur license possible for a “ham” radio operator. He established radio contacts with 100 countries, administered tests and taught promising new operators.
In February 1949 Lee married Janice Hoover. They had one son before they divorced.
Lee is survived by his son, Lee J, a grandson Kyle L and a great-granddaughter Sydney R McCutchen. He is also survived by a sister, Arline Noll, as well as nieces and nephews. Lee maintained weekly contact with two special friends Connee Sager and Phillip Sanchez.
Lee had the good fortune of acquiring an extended family in Oracle – the Gutierrez family – who cared for him 24 hours a day at his home with kindness and patience. He was included in Gutierrez family holidays and treated as family. They undoubtedly extended his life with their love.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 at Vistoso Funeral Home 2285 East Rancho Vistoso Blvd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755. (This obituary may also be viewed at www.vistosofuneralhome.com)
Lee was a charter member of a Tohono Chul Park in Tucson. In lieu of flowers, a donation to that park would support one of Lee’s favorite projects.