"Mac" (Alden Temple) McCutchan Memorial Minute
“Mac” (Alden Temple) McCutchan (1921–2018)
Northern Yearly Meeting 2019 Memorial Minute
Cannon Valley Friends Meeting, Northfield, MN
“Mac” (Alden Temple) McCutchan passed away peacefully on December 23, 2018 at his Sogn Valley farm home with family by his side. Cannon Valley Friends Meeting is deeply grateful for his many decades of caring commitment to us and to the Quaker testimonies. Growing up in the then-rural environment of Bloomington, MN, Mac learned to honor the inter-dependence of people and nature on farms and in the wild. He passed on his reverence for nature to students throughout a long career of teaching in Minnesota, which began in the Mahtomedi public schools and also took him to administrative positions in St. Anthony Village and West Concord. Prior to teaching, Mac served in the Navy Pacific Fleet 1943–46. During training in Cambridge, MA, he met the love of his life, Margaret Louise Mead. On his return from occupied Japan, Mac and Margaret were married in 1946. They settled into a self-built home in Mahtomedi and raised four children while participating in many community activities. His love for his students extended far beyond the classroom, to coaching, clubs, personal relationships and even giving at least one student a home. Focused on peace, Mac found himself at odds with the local leadership of his church. In the 60s and 70s he and Margaret found a more congenial spiritual home with Twin Cities Friends Meeting.
In 1972 the family moved to a beautiful farm near Kenyon, MN. Mac felt this move as an important step in his spiritual life. In explaining “Why We Moved to the Farm,” he borrows the phrase: “‘to re-establish a meaningful dialogue with the earth.’ That fits what I feel and what I have needed,” Mac writes: “to know that I am a part of the earth and that it is a part of me,” and on the farm, “the dialogue has at least a chance of starting.” Stargazing, birding, gardening, and welcoming visitors were at the heart of their farm life. Mac and Margaret also continued to play leading roles in organizations supporting peace, natural preservation, and community. They helped to found the Cannon Valley Friends Meeting in the
80s, often hosting the Meeting at the farm, and Mac served as its first clerk. Margaret was also an active and much loved member of the Meeting until she passed away in 2012.
Their daughter Cara Rodriguez cared for Mac during his last years. Mac is also survived by their sons Duncan and John, his sister Janice and brother Bruce, and many loving relatives and friends. Mac and Margaret’s other son Larkin Mead/Alan McCutchan died in 2017. Mac’s integrity and intentionality shine in the credos he composed about how his values informed his life. “I have come to a strong feeling of the sacred, fundamental integrity of all creation... I willingly commit myself to live, to the extent possible, in joyous and respectful affirmation of a Divine presence in all of creation, acknowledging a caring kinship with all people and with all of God’s living/growing things.”