Strafford, Vt. — Char Cutforth passed away at her home in Strafford, Tuesday evening, the 14th of January, 2014. With her were her husband Jack Beecham, stepson Derek and her two Labradors, Thor and Olav. She had been diagnosed with a rare cancer in late summer.
Charlene Jackson Cutforth was born 65 years ago in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 1, 1948, the only child of Charles Harold and Mary Jackson Cutforth. Her father was from Marshalltown and became a paper salesman covering all of the state. Her mother, the second of fourteen children, grew up on a farm in Thayer, Iowa.
After high school, Char attended Grinnell College and then the University of Rochester, where she received bachelor’s degrees in English and in Nursing and then a Master’s in Psychiatry.
A lifelong and passionate equestrienne, Char was four when she sat on her first pony and thirteen when she owned her first horse. She loved dressage and cross country riding, often spending time at Trafalgar Farm in North Pomfret where she rode through this autumn.
Char was an advanced practice nurse, psychotherapist and consultant in psychiatry at the University of Rochester teaching hospital with Dr. Joseph Messina. In Vermont, she collaborated with Dr. John Severinghaus in directing a forty-bed women’s unit at Valley Vista in Bradford, an inpatient treatment facility for drug and alchohol addiction.
After a ten year friendship, Char married Jackson Beecham on the summer solstice of 1987. Her stepson Derek Beecham lives in Strafford, and his brother Jake in Los Angeles.
Char has long followed the teachings of Buddhism and later the Siddha Yoga tradition of Hinduism. She introduced her husband and his children to this lifelong spiritual journey, a foundation of her dedicated love for her family, patients, friends and her animals.
Many speak of Char’s keen intellect, honesty and directness in expressing her opinions. Over a professional lifetime, her knowledge, skills, empathy, humor and deepest commitment to others has helped inspire many lives.
A celebration of her life will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday morning, Jan. 25, at the United church in Strafford Upper Village.