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Obituary

Lawyer 'did everything well'

By MARTY CLEAR
Published October 20, 2006


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DAVIS ISLANDS - Until just a few years ago, prominent Tampa lawyer Edward I. Cutler maintained the same routine.

"He used to go into the office a minimum of five days a week, and most weeks it was six days," said his son, also named Edward. "And on Sundays he would do his yard work out in the back yard. But it wasn't yard work the way most people think of it. It was sitting in a lawn chair reading legal advance notices."

For Mr. Cutler, it was business as usual until he was in his late 80s.

"He loved his work," his son said. "He was an amazing, amazing guy."

Mr. Cutler died Oct. 4 in Miami-Dade County. He had moved there in July. He was 93 and had been in declining health.

His legal career in Tampa spanned more than 40 years, starting when he opened a one-man practice in the 1940s and ending when he retired in 2001 as a partner in the firm Carlton Fields.

"Ed Cutler was a truly remarkable lawyer," said Gary L. Sasso, the CEO of Carlton Fields. "He was a great mentor and teacher, a brilliant analyst, and a master of many areas of the law."

Mr. Cutler was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. During the Depression, he worked his way through college and law school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Soon after law school, he wed Roseline Adams, to whom he would be married for nearly 60 years.

His first position in the legal field was as a clerk for John W. Kephart, chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. When Kephart went into private practice, Mr. Cutler became his first associate.

Through Kephart's firm, Mr. Cutler met the owner of McCloskey and Co., a shipbuilder with an operation in Tampa. Mr. Cutler accepted an offer to become an executive with the company and came to Tampa with his wife in 1944. They settled in Davis Islands, where they lived until they divorced three years ago.

Mr. Cutler opened his law practice in 1947 at the corner of Franklin and Madison streets.

"It was a general law practice," his son said. "He did everything, and he did everything well."

In 1961, he accepted a position with the firm that is now called Carlton Fields. He became a partner two years later and spent the remainder of his career with that firm, where he specialized in real estate and bankruptcy law. He served on the Carlton Fields board of directors and was at one point the firm's president.

His devotion to work left little time for extracurricular activity. But he loved to travel and was proud of having visited more than 100 countries.

"He didn't really have any hobbies until much later in life, when he fell in love with the Internet," his son said. "He loved that he could communicate with people and research his family history."

Mr. Cutler spent the past few years living in retirement in Dover and Valrico, and then moved to suburban Miami three months ago to be near his brother.

In addition to his son, he is survived by daughters Janet Cutler Kossman and Robin Cutler Levine, two brothers, a sister, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Nov. 5, at Congregation Schaarai Zedek.

[Last modified October 19, 2006, 12:53:47]


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