Dr. William R. “Bill” McCutcheon, 84, died on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Morgantown, after a period of declining health. Bill was born on Dec. 28, 1936, in Beckley, to Mabel W. and William M. McCutcheon.
Bill was an enthusiastic lifelong learner. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1954, he received a Bachelor of Arts in pre-health science studies from West Virginia University in 1959. He completed dental school in 1963 as a member of the third class of dental students at WVU, and in 1962 he became an inaugural member of WVU’s chapter of Xi Psi Phi, the professional dental fraternity. Bill then proceeded to the University of Michigan, where he became a Master of Public Health in 1966. Later that year, Dr. McCutcheon became a member of faculty at the WVU School of Dentistry, where he remained for 35 years until his retirement in 2001. Throughout his career, Dr. Bill, as he was known to children in the Morgantown neighborhood where he lived for many years, influenced dental programs at WVU and in the broader world of dentistry. He helped shape the Rural Health Education program, started the remote site training program with Dean Biddington and served as the Department Chair in Community Health at the WVU School of Dentistry. Bill served as the Director of the first and second National Conference on Behavioral Dentistry and was widely published in academic journals, including book chapters. He was a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Dental Health for the State of West Virginia and served on the Committee of the Kellogg II Rural Health Initiative grant.
He was a champion for human and civil rights within the WVU medical campus and organized one of the first diversity trainings early in his career at WVU. Bill was a Fellow in the American College of Dentists and in the Pierre Fauchard Academy. He served as the Associate Academic Dean at the WVU School of Dentistry and in 2005, received the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Bill was a devoted Episcopalian and found strength and purpose through his faith. He was a founding member of St. Thomas à Becket Episcopal Church in Morgantown in 1979, served on the first vestry and served as a member of the St. Thomas Outreach Committee. Bill remained active with the church for the remainder of his life.
Bill had a passion for social justice and outreach, and as such he established two endowments to provide healthcare for underserved individuals in West Virginia. The We Care endowment benefits patients, the community, private practitioners and WVU dental students providing funding for essential dental health care and increasing dental literacy. Bill also established the St. Thomas à Becket Outreach Endowment with Your Community Foundation to support basic health care needs through Milan Puskar Health Right, a primary care clinic that provides health care at no cost to uninsured or underinsured low-income residents of North Central West Virginia. Bill served as a board member of Health Right from 2001-2016 and provided free dental care for the clients of Health Right for many years. In 2013, Bill received the first annual Margaret M. Kearney Award for Excellence in Volunteerism from Health Right.
Bill was active in community concerns and often hosted gatherings with local politicians. He also enjoyed engaging in lively political discussions with like-minded friends. As an avid audiophile, Bill had an extensive collection of vinyl albums and CDs and loved listening to opera and classical music.
Bill was pre-deceased by his parents and sister, Patricia M. Wathen. He is survived by his brother-in-law, Joseph F. Wathen; niece, Cynthia W. Sandoval (Peter); nephews, J. Mack Wathen (Nancy), Steven P. Wathen (Sandi) and W. Ford Wathen (Jim Schmidt); and three cousins, including Anne Louise Drake Maynor, with whom he was very close growing up.
A memorial service will be held at St. Thomas à Becket Episcopal Church on March 26, 2022.