McCutchen, Glenn


Robert Glenn McCutchen, longtime journalist and newspaper publisher, died on April 5, 2024, in Portland, Oregon, after a brief battle with cancer at the age of 80. A memorial service is planned for 11 AM on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portland.

Retiring as publisher of the Longview (TX) News-Journal in 2008, Glenn had a storied journalism career that took him across the American South. He began at the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer, staying three months before joining the Atlanta Constitution and starting a 42-year career with Cox Enterprises. As he worked his way up from cub reporter at the Constitution to executive editor at the merged Journal-Constitution to publisher of Cox's Texas newspapers the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, Lufkin Daily News and Longview News-Journal, his career touched luminaries ranging from Jimmy Carter to Vince Dooley to George W. Bush. While at the helm of the Journal-Constitution, the newspaper received two Pulitzer Prizes (and at least as many lawsuits). Glenn would say that as a journalist you're not doing your job if people aren't trying to sue you.

In his career at the Constitution, Glenn detoured into the computer department and inherited the reference library and photographic staff for the Constitution and its sister afternoon paper, the Journal. The two publications were merged in 1982, and Glenn became managing editor in 1985, moving up to executive editor four years later. He was known for his kindness, professionalism and backbone — all celebrated by former colleagues when the news of Glenn's death emerged on social media. He was credited with helping drive diversity in the newsroom, giving many men and women from all walks of life their start in journalism. This focus on raising people up comes as no surprise to his children, in whom he never stopped trying to cultivate empathy and an innate understanding of what equity means in practice. He understood from his own childhood how hard it is to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" when, in his paraphrased words, "some people have no boots, some people have no bootstraps, and some people have an entire army of staff waiting to put your boots on for you."

After moving to Texas in 1990 to become editor and publisher of the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, Glenn brought his backbone to a new state, shaking up the status quo by not backing down when under pressure to pull the comic strip For Better or For Worse when it introduced a gay character in 1993. After three years in Nacogdoches, Glenn became the publisher of the Lufkin Daily News, also retaining oversight of the Nacogdoches paper. Finally, in 1997, he was named publisher of the Longview News-Journal, with managerial responsibility for the Marshall News-Messenger and the weekly Jefferson Jimplecute. In 2000, the News-Journal was the only newspaper in the state of Texas to endorse Al Gore instead of then-Texas governor George W. Bush for President. In the furor that followed, Glenn demonstrated one of the unwavering principles that guided his life: You must do what you think is right, no matter how unpopular.

Outside of ruffling feathers and speaking truth to power through the printed page, Glenn was active in every community in which he lived, including serving on numerous non-profit boards as well as the chambers of commerce boards in Nacogdoches, Lufkin and Longview. He was board chairman of the Longview Museum of Fine Art for two years. In 2004, he received that museum's Angel Award, and in 2008, the museum named him Advisory Board Member of the Year. LeTourneau University in Longview honored Glenn with the Henry Gossett Jr. Community Partner Award. He was active in Rotary Clubs in Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Longview and Frisco, Texas, including serving as board president of the Rotary Club of Longview as well as District Secretary. During his time as a journalist he never publicly expressed any political beliefs, believing the impartiality of his role as editor or publisher was more important than his rights as a private citizen. Post-retirement, the residents of Frisco Lakes would tell you this no longer held sway.

An avid NASCAR fan and inveterate reader and storyteller, Glenn easily made friends wherever he lived. His soft-spoken Southern drawl, gregarious nature, and innate kindness touched many colleagues and friends during his life. He remained passionate about the importance of journalism throughout his life, often sending his family and friends links to articles that he found interesting.

Glenn McCutchen was born in 1943 in Columbus, Georgia, the second of three sons. His parents both worked for the Muscogee County School District, and the family were charter members of the Edgewood Methodist Church. Glenn played Little League baseball and baritone horn in the district's elementary school band, and held the dubious honor of never rising above private in junior ROTC at Columbus High School despite four years of forced participation. He worked at the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store and a family-owned service station during high school, having to start work young when his father entered a sanatorium for tuberculosis treatment.

After graduating from Columbus High School in 1961, Glenn enrolled in Oklahoma Baptist University to study photojournalism on a work scholarship. On March 7, 1965, during his junior year, he watched television coverage of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Glenn and two other OBU students decided to leave campus immediately and join a second march. While he didn't make it — running out of money near Fort Smith, AK — this experience informed his future. Glenn was particularly inspired by Ralph McGill, the civil rights-crusading editor of the Constitution, who showed that journalists could make a difference and enact positive change on the issues that matter most.

Glenn married Melanie Garrison of Tulsa, OK, in 1966 and had two children,Warren and Sara. After their divorce in 1975, he married Tish Young of Spartanburg, SC, in 1977 and had two more children, Will and Kate, before divorcing in 2008. He believed family was paramount, and demonstrated this throughout his life through his Sunday afternoon phone calls to every child, no matter how grown up or far away you were, and his willingness to put aside his lifelong fear of flying for regular trips to Europe to visit his daughter.

In 2022, Glenn moved to Portland, Oregon, to be closer to two of his children, Warren and Sara, and his only grandchild, Kei. He joined Westminster Presbyterian Church, continuing his lifelong habit of finding a church family wherever he lived. Late in life he reconnected with an old friend and colleague, Diane Hunter, and while their partnership was cut short far too soon, the joy she brought to him in his last year is celebrated by all who survive him.

Survivors include his children, Warren McCutchen (and partner, Johnna Timmes) of Portland, OR, Sara McCutchen (and wife, Akiko Dohi McCutchen) of Portland, Will McCutchen (and wife, Katie Curri) of Lebanon, NH, Kate McCutchen (and husband, Matt Bennett-Blacklock) of London, England; partner, Diane Hunter of Big Canoe, GA; former wife, Tish McCutchen of Greenville, SC; granddaughter, Kei McCutchen of Portland; brother, Charles Edward McCutchen of Macon, Georgia; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church of Portland, Oregon, or Rotary International.

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