Updated: William R. Cutrer, seminary professor, dies suddenly from heart-related complications

Communications Staff — July 13, 2013

William R. Cutrer, a professor and staff physician at Southern Seminary, died Saturday morning, July 13, from cardiac-related complications.

According to his wife, Cutrer, 62, left his home for a bicycle ride around 7 a.m. and not long after, fellow cyclists  found him tipped over on his bicycle. The cyclists and emergency responders tried to revive Cutrer without success.

In a letter early Saturday afternoon, Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. informed the seminary community of Cutrer’s death.

“Bill Cutrer was known to many as “William Cutrer, M.D.” For many years he was a prominent obstetrician in Dallas, Texas. He delivered thousands of babies, including some of our own students,” Mohler writes. “Later, Dr. Cutrer trained for the ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. He came to us as a member of the faculty more than a decade ago, teaching in the areas of ministry, medical ethics, marriage and family and personal discipleship. He was also known to the Southern Seminary family as a trusted doctor in the clinic.”

Cutrer became the first medical doctor to join the faculty of Southern following his successful medical career as an obstetrician and gynecologist in Texas. In 1999, he assumed an endowed professorship as C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Ministry. He was also the director of the Gheens Center for Family Ministry. During his tenure at the seminary, he served as staff physician of the school’s Hagan Clinic, an on-campus limited health maintenance service staffed by a charge nurse and physician.

In his letter, Mohler writes about “first-hand” knowledge of Cutrer’s medical expertise, referencing his own major surgery and ensuing complications.

“Dr. Cutrer cared for me and supervised my recovery and months of subsequent testing,” he writes. “I know what a trusted physician he was, and I know what a friend he was to so many on the Southern Seminary campus.

“Bill Cutrer spent years helping thousands of babies to be born before helping scores of young Christians to be born as ministers. He was a remarkable man, and he lived a remarkable life. He touched and influenced thousands of lives and he leaves a great legacy. He died all too soon, from our perspective. We will miss him greatly,” Mohler writes.

In addition to his duties at the seminary, Cutrer was an active pro-life advocate and practitioner in the Louisville, Ky., community. For many years, he was the medical director for A Woman’s Choice Resource Center, a non-profit special health clinic that provides pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and other services for crisis pregnancies and post-abortion support.

In a 2006 article, a reporter for the The New York Times quotes Cutrer about his work with the center. Noting the variety of needs and interests that attract women into the center, Cutrer tells the reporter that the center provides ultrasounds primarily for “persuasive, not diagnostic” reasons. He says: “The primary purpose is to show [women who come into the clinic] that [their pregnancy is] not a clump of tissues but a human being.”

Cutrer, who spoke at conferences about various topics such as marriage enrichment, bioethics and wellness lifestyles, was the author or co-author of several books, including Sexual Intimacy in Marriage, The Infertility Companion, The Contraception Guidebook and The Church Leader’s Handbook: a Guide to Counseling Families and Individuals in Crisis. He also performed missionary work in a variety of countries and contexts. Cutrer held a medical degree from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., and a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.

Following announcements of Cutrer’s death, his former colleagues, students and friends filled social media outlets with appreciation and thanksgiving for Cutrer’s ministries, along with sympathy and support for his family.

One such student, Athanasios Bardis, an alumnus from Australia, sent out a newsletter expressing his appreciation for Cutrer. He writes:

“In introducing himself [Cutrer] told us he was a living time bomb and could die at any moment with a condition he had in his heart,” the student writes about he and his wife’s first encounter with Cutrer during a marriage enrichment seminar. “This did not stop him, make him fret, or cause anxiety. He lived all out there for Jesus, pursued and continued to serve students till his last breath. His godly counsel, his living example of his life and marriage has impacted and influenced our marriage like no other.”

Cutrer leaves behind his wife, Jane Curry Cutrer, and three children and their spouses — William Jr. (Elisabeth), Robert (Meredith) and Jennifer Snow (Casey) — and grandchildren Emily, Zachary, Maddie, Abigail, Alexis and Victoria . Cutrer was a member of Crestwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.

Closing, Mohler writes, “I know you join with me in praying for Jane Cutrer and the entire family. … Let us praise God for the gift of Dr. Bill Cutrer and pray for God’s grace and mercy to be very real to the Cutrer family at this time.”

The Cutrer family will hold a visitation Monday, July 15, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Rd, Louisville, KY 40205. The funeral service for Cutrer will take place Tuesday, July 16, at 10 a.m. at Crestwood Baptist Church, 6400 Sweet Bay Dr., Crestwood, KY 40014. A burial will follow immediately at Louisville Memorial East Cemetery. The family asks that expressions of sympathy go to the Gheens Center for Family Ministry at Southern Seminary or to A Woman’s Choice Resource Center.

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