Bob Cutting lived with a fierceness and passion for people, nature, art, and social and environmental justice. A vital life source, he had boundless energy and big ideas. He was someone you could rely on to show up on short notice and do what was needed.
Older friends knew him from his days as a lawyer and prosecutor in Santa Barbara, CA where he led the white-collar crime unit in the District Attorney’s office. He was also known as a committed environmental and political activist. He was the founder of the Santa Barbara Environmental Defense Center. His writings on pollution and conservation were instrumental in building a case for the Clean Air Act.
Wilmington friends knew him as an environmental lawyer and political activist committed to protecting the Carolina coast he loved. A long-time board member of the NC League of Conservation Voters, he authored numerous widely cited publications on environmental law, climate justice, and public policy. He fought relentlessly against air and water pollution in articles like “If the Tide is Rising, Who Pays for the Ark?”.
Close friends also knew Bob for his early morning barefoot runs on the beach. Others, his tireless presence at voting stations across the region, fighting voter intimidation. His work did not stop in the political and environmental spheres–Bob was also an instrument rated pilot, an award-winning volunteer at two elementary schools and Science Olympiad, a talented writer, and gifted watercolorist. Bob was so many things to his friends, family, and community.
As teacher, mentor, colleague, husband, father, neighbor and friend, Bob’s greatest joy and gift was making everyone—from every corner of his life—feel joy. He had a knack for bringing people together, sometimes for common cause, and sometimes because he just loved people. He was happiest when he could provide fun for others. He was a rabid supporter of those closest to him–his friends and family. He urged all of them–all of us––to pursue our dreams.
He will be missed by so many for so many reasons—his wonderful and unpredictable sense of humor, his deep commitment to things he cared about, his love and caring for his friends and family, and the energy and passion that he brought to every aspect of his life.
Bob was born on May 13, 1948 and grew up in Brea, CA. where he played football and baseball at Brea Olinda High School. He graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1970, and earned his law degree at the University of California, Davis in 1973. He began his legal career with Legal Aid, before joining the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office. He later opened his own private practice. He married the love of his life, Sally MacKain in 1987. Together, they moved to Wilmington in 1990 to build a family and pursue new adventures. He was a faculty member in Environmental Law at UNCW from 1991 to 2015. He’s survived by wife Sally, sons David and Henry, brother Richard, and sister-in-law Reba.
In Bob’s memory, please support the causes he championed
Coastal Cremations 6 Jacksonville St., Wilmington NC 28403