Featured Profiles: Hal and Betsey Cutler
One of the many couples among the Sudbury Senior Center volunteer brigade is Hal and Betsey Cutler. Hal has lived in Sudbury all his life, and is descended from the Goodenow family members who were among the first settlers of Sudbury Plantation in 1638. Most people know of the Goodnow Library, Goodnow Road, The Goodnow Garrison House, The Goodnow tombs, and the Goodnow Horse Trough at the corner of Concord Road and Boston Post Road. There have been 19 spellings of Goodenow over the 383 years since the first settlers arrived. Hal is a board member of the Goodenow Family Association and has organized several Association trips to the United Kingdom’s Dorset, Wiltshire, and Suffolk Counties.
Betsey was born in New Haven, CT. Her ancestors arrived in Milford, CT. in 1636. She grew up in the White Plains, NY area and often explains that “the Goodnow/Cutler Clan, being related to most of the early settlers in town, needed fresh blood to improve the gene pool.” Hal and Betsey met in NY at college and married in 1965. They moved to Sudbury in 1966 and live in the 1884 Goodnow House on Landham Rd.
Prior to the pandemic, Betsey and Hal were regular drivers for FISH, a volunteer-based transportation service of the Sudbury Senior Center. In appreciation of their good fortune, they are instilled with the tenet of sharing their time and talents. They have been especially valuable in their role as FISH drivers because of their willingness to drive clients to Boston. Further, Hal has been one of the few willing to drive on snowy days. Betsey currently delivers for Meals-on-Wheels and was a paid driver of the Senior Van for several years. Hal has assisted with the Men’s Breakfast at the Senior Center.
The Cutlers are active members of Memorial Congregational Church (MCC) in its outreach ministry, and were involved for 20 years, from 1996 to 2016, as coordinators of MCC’s once-a-month dinner prep at Rosie’s Place in Boston. Hal’s service as the primary organizer of that work was recognized by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation when he was named a “Patriots Difference Maker” in 2014. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hal organized five trips by MCC members and friends to the United Church of Christ’s Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi to aid in reconstruction efforts. More recently, they are serving as volunteers at the Open Table Food Pantry in Maynard.
Although not technically a volunteer, Hal was a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT for the Sudbury Fire Department for 49 years, from 1966 to 2015. He put in many unpaid hours to maintain his EMT certification from 1975 to 2015.
Hal followed a family tradition by serving as Vice Chair of the Sudbury 350th Anniversary Celebration Committee in 1989, and as Co-chair of the 375th Anniversary Celebration Committee. His grandmother, Mary Goodnow Cutler, had served on the 300th Anniversary Committee in 1939.
The Cutlers have been active members of the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute since 1969. Hal marches to Concord on Patriots Day every April 19th and Betsey serves the troops breakfast at the “ungodly” hour of 5 AM, come rain or shine. They volunteer as greeters at the Wayside Inn on Sunday afternoons approximately 5 or 6 times a year, and love to give Colonial History lessons to visiting guests. They help to staff the Colonial Faire and Muster of Fyfes and Drums at the Wayside Inn the last Saturday in September. For many years, Hal has participated in Colonial Days at the Haynes and Noyes Elementary Schools, speaking about Sudbury’s History, and demonstrating the firing of his musket.
Further, Hal has been a participant in Sudbury’s Fourth of July Parade since the early 1950’s when Hal was a cub scout on a float about camping with the Scouts. Both have marched with the Minute Companies, the Fire Department, and Memorial Congregational Church in recent years. Hal has driven the Cutler farm restored 1933 Ford Model BB stake body truck in the parade!