Frank Cutler, 'last of Mohicans,' dies at age 90

 


Frank Cutler, alias’ include Frankie, Anshel, Anshel Frankel, Dad, Grandpa, Grandpa Anchie and “My Man” died on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. He was deeply loved by his family, friends and any person who knew or had any interaction with him.

As his first cousin, Bunny Mendelsohn, “your father was the last of the Mohicans.” She was dead on, he was. His name goes back to our family roots in the Mayaki section of Moscow Russia where a son of Anshel Kotlyar made his way to America and some dude at Ellis Island with a handle-bar mustache changed his last name to Cutler.

Frank and his father Charles, had a grocery store called Cutler Serv-U Market in National Park, New Jersey, where they sold poultry and produce, not to mention Fudgie Wudgies. In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, it wasn’t easy being the only Jewish family in this small south Jersey town, but they loved Frank because he not only was the coolest guy around, he also gave everyone credit. He didn’t want anyone to be without even if they were broke. Frank even made sandwiches on Kaiser rolls for the homeless or drunks who would fall asleep out behind the store.


Frank, an only child of Charles and Miriam (Rosinsky) Cutler, graduated Woodbury Jr. Sr. High School in New Jersey, joined the Air Force during WWII and was stationed in the Philippines. During a break, he came home all-dapper in his uniform and went to Atlantic City for some fun. There, he found the love of his life, Marcia Bear from Camden, New Jersey, working at a 5 & 10 on the Boardwalk. It was love at first sight. Marcia became Frank’s main squeeze and married really young and started punching out kids: Elaine (Weinstein), Robin (Washburn) and me, his son Tracy “Lee” Cutler.

Marsh, as Frank called Marcia, loved to go on ocean cruises and Frank obliged even though he would get seasick because he loved her so much and knew he didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

Frank was clearly ahead of his time, a true Bohemian who sliced deli meat by day and had worn a fu Manchu and a French beret while smoking slim scented cigars when painting oil on canvas, including Batman for his son. He loved his sardines on crackers, OTC crackers, Borsch (cold beet soup), prune hamantaschen, steamers, brisket and kasha varnishkes and later on a health kick, grapefruit with a spoon and spirulina.

In Woodbury, Frank took his mother Miriam in to live with the family and immediately assumed the role of peacemaker in a house where two strong women wanted to rule the roost. Gotta give him credit for keeping things together and moving forward as he did.


Cutler Serv-U Market finally shut its light off and Frank shifted gears to real estate sales at Kingsway Realty in south Jersey. He was so determined to make it work, he stuffed envelops to mail out with the help of his mother Miriam and son Tracy, trying to get real estate listings. He would not go back to the office until he had a listing. This dogged determination and hustle was not lost on his family and between his success at real estate sales and Marcia’s teacher salary, the family made it through a difficult period. Frank led the way. During that rough patch, he also taught a sense of resourcefulness by collecting newspapers with his son and going to a weigh station to get paid. Again, this resourcefulness was not lost.

Later in life, Frank and Marcia found a great deal on a condo in Ventnor City, New Jersey, called The Breakers. They picked it up dirt-cheap and found great happiness there for years. He loved his gin & tonics while playing Quoits on the beach with his bud Matt Levitt. He and Matt used to sit on the benches on the boardwalk and pick out girls who could be contestants in the Miss America Pageant held at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Later when Frank and Marcia sold the Woodbury house they raised their family in, and which by the way was across the street from the family’s synagogue Beth Israel, they moved to Aventura, Florida, where their son lived and many of their friends spent the winters. They loved their condo at The Landmark and went to Moe’s Deli because their good friends loved it, even though they didn’t care for it that much.

In the end, Frank and Marcia moved to Oakmonte Village, an assisted living facility in Lake Mary, Florida. This was near Tracy and Elaine and offered everything they needed, most important card games. Only two weeks there, Marcia had a pain in her back and went to the ER, where she quickly declined and passed away. Frank felt tremendous guilt in being sick earlier and not being able to go to the Jersey shore during her last summer. Frank lived alone in the Oakmonte apartment, made tons of friends there, was the ring leader of the card games. Elaine spent his last two years sleeping on his couch at Oakmonte, taking care of him.

His 90 years was a good, long life. Frank Cutler, a renaissance man who got his ear pierced at 75 years old. He was the calm in the storm, the inspiration and motivator when you needed to be lifted, the hugger when he knew someone needed it and all around, best man that ever lived, the last of the Mohicans.

Frank never liked to ask anybody for anything, but the family would suggest donating to a great service called the Orlando Senior Help Desk http://www.orlandoseniorhelpdesk.org/ through the Jewish Pavilion.

—His son, Tracy “Lee” Cutler

 

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