John T. McCutcheon Jr. died in his sleep at home in Saluda, NC on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008. He was surrounded by his children and his caregivers, as well as his two dogs.
Born Nov. 8, 1917, in Chicago into a family of artists, writers and journalists, he set his sights on becoming an editorial writer. At Harvard, he became the managing editor of the Harvard Crimson and, after graduation in 1939, began work as a reporter. Sensing that war was imminent, he enlisted in the Navy in 1940 and met his wife, Susan Dart, during training in New Orleans. He served in the Pacific Theater and stayed on for several months after the war to help stabilize Japan.
His career in newspapers resumed after the war. During the 1950s, he wrote a popular humor column for the Chicago Tribune called "A Line 'o' Type or Two" and then rose to become an editorial writer in 1957. He then became the editor of the editorial page in 1971, where he gently broke with the some of the Tribune's conservative political positions. Not so gently, in May 1974, he oversaw the publication of three editorials calling for Nixon's resignation.
He and his wife, Susan, loved the mountains and streams of North Carolina and came here during the 1970s and early 1980s to explore a possible retirement spot. They happened upon an old cabin in the hills north of Saluda with streams and waterfalls and knew immediately that it would be perfect. Over the next 20 years, they got the cabin put on the National Register of Historic Places, they blazed trails in the woods, made a small pond and welcomed hikers and school groups studying nature and 19th century Appalachian life.
Susan Dart died in December 2007. Survivors include three children, Anne Lewis, Mary McCutcheon and John McCutcheon; four grandchildren; and two beloved dogs.
John T. McCutcheon, Jr. was the son of the famed cartoonist, John Tinney McCutcheon, of the Chicago Tribune.