Lt. Col. Samuel Cutting III (USAF Ret.), age 88, of Ferrisburgh, VT died peacefully on October 22, 2020, at the Vermont Veteran’s Home in Bennington, Vermont.
A sugarmaker, businessman, farmer, outdoorsman, and devoted family man, Sam was deeply involved in the Vermont maple industry for more than fifty years. His primary focus was to “raise the bar” on the quality standards of pure Vermont maple syrup so that it would continue to earn the reputation as the “World’s Best Maple Syrup”.
Sam was born on January 3, 1932, in Bridgewater, Connecticut to Dorothy Quincy (Johnson) Cutting and Samuel Cutting II. He attended Berkshire Academy in Massachusetts and was a captain for both the football and hockey teams. He graduated from the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where he would later be recognized for his achievements in the maple industry as an outstanding alumnus. In college, Sam was a member of the University of Vermont Air Force ROTC program and Theta Chi fraternity.
In January 1955, Sam married Joan Bailey of Gardiner, Maine. Together Sam and Joan began some of their fondest years while Sam served for the United States Air Force. Sam trained as a fighter pilot and was stationed in Misawa, Japan from 1957 until 1960. Upon returning to Vermont, Sam flew with the Green Mountain Boys of the Vermont Air National Guard and later served as a Liaison Officer for the United States Air Force Academy. Sam proudly served his country for 25 years.
In 1960, Sam and Joan purchased a 120-acre working farm with a small roadside stand on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh. This stand was called the Dakin Farm Maple Market and this was the beginning of Dakin Farm. First, Sam learned how to tap trees and make maple syrup, then how to smoke ham and bacon using corn cobs. He used old Vermont recipes that date back to the early settlers like Timothy Dakin, a Quaker who settled the Cutting’s farm in 1792. These were the humble beginnings of a business that would grow into a well-known tourist attraction and e-commerce business.
In his community, Sam served as a member of the Ferrisburgh Volunteer Fire Department for more than twenty years. He also served as a judge at countless maple contests and loved teaching Vermont children about their proud maple heritage.
Sam had many interests including rock and ice climbing, legendary canoe trips deep into the Canadian wilderness with his family and friends, flying his Lake Amphibian airplane, raising National Champion Polled Hereford beef cattle, haying, and gardening. However, Sam’s greatest joy was being “Grampa” and a mentor to his five grandchildren.
In recognition of his many years of service to the Vermont maple industry, Sam was awarded “The Sugar Maker of the Year Award,” “The Maple Person of the Year Award,” and the Vermont maple industry’s highest award, “The Sumner Hill Williams Memorial Cup” for lifetime achievement. Sam was also inducted into the International Maple Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Vermont Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2013.
Sam is survived by Joan, his wife of 64 years, his son, Samuel Cutting IV and wife Nancy (Simendinger) Cutting of Ferrisburgh, his daughter, Susan (Cutting) Swanson and her husband Brad Swanson of Altamont, NY, and grandchildren, John Swanson, Katie Cutting, Emily Cutting, Lindsay Swanson, and Carolyn Cutting. Also surviving him are his sister-in-law Lois Church, several nieces and nephews, friends, and the Dakin Farm team.
The family would like to thank all of Sam’s wonderful caregivers from Home Instead, The Arbors, and the Vermont Veteran’s Home for their exceptional care and the comfort they brought Sam during his declining health.
In the spring of 2021 during “Sugaring Season,” Sam’s favorite time of year, there will be a celebration of Sam’s life. If you wish to give a gift, it may be directed to the Sam Cutting III Memorial Fund at the UVM Foundation, which will honor the life and works of Sam by supporting the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center. To donate, visit go.uvm.edu/cutting or make your gift to UVM Foundation, 411 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05401.
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Published in The Burlington Free Press from Oct. 26 to Oct. 27, 2020.