CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — With his recent retirement announcement, Burnet County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Edward Cutchin said he plans on many more years fishing, hiking and spending time with his wife and family.
“I’m retiring to begin to enjoy some of the days that are left in my life. I’m 77 years old now, and my wife and I have an opportunity to go and have some vacation time together,” Cutchin said. “We have less responsibilities at home where we can now go and enjoy ourselves.”
Cutchin, who was re-elected three consecutive times, has served as the Precinct 4 justice of the peace since January 2003.
His last day on the bench will be June 19. His official last day is June 30.
He is also retiring his position as Granite Shoals municipal judge.
“The good Lord has been so good to me, to give me the life experience that has led me to this position and given me a chance to help people. As a judge, you don’t necessarily hurt people,” he said. “There is an opportunity there to help people — to serve people — and I have been truly blessed to have that.”
Prior to his tenure as judge, he cultivated his experience with a past rooted in law enforcement, the military and business.
He received his degree in criminal justice from Old Dominion University in Virginia with graduate work in business administration at Texas A&M University and the University of Arkansas.
Cutchin’s career and service includes four years active duty in the U.S. Air Force with a stint as a special investigator and reserve officer; a patrol division beat cop, a narcotics investigator and a homicide and violent crimes detective in Norfolk, Virginia; and 20 years with the Air Force Army/Air Force Exchange Service managing retail facilities.
His experience took him to locations around the world, including Japan, Europe, the United Kingdom, Turkey and South Korea.
Cutchin met his wife of 35 years, who is from Amarillo, while working for the Exchange.
She worked for Max Factor Corp. as a sales director at the time.
He married her in Massachusetts, shipped off toTurkey several weeks afterwards, and they “have been together every day since then,” he said.
“She’s a Texas girl. We will never leave Texas. There’s many people who think I was born and raised here because I love this state,” he said. “I love the people of Burnet County. I know it sounds mushy, but it’s true.”
When he returned from a tour of duty in Korea, the couple first lived in New Hampshire for about two years and then moved to the Hill Country in 1995 where they bought a home in Meadowlakes.
“There’s not a man in this world that has a dearer wife, one that loves him and supports him any more than she does,” he said. “She’s been my staunchest supporter.”
They have two sons: Andrew, a software architect in Killeen; and Matthew, a sales director in Seattle.
Once settling into Burnet County at a time when many people would consider retirement, Cutchin ran for political office.
“I just didn’t want to sit back and watch my life go by reading books and doing nothing,” Cutchin said. “My health is excellent. I don’t think about getting old. I do what I can do, and if I can’t do it, then I know my limitation. I just try to stay as active as I can.”
Once elected, he knew he found the last job he would ever have.
“It’s like my wife has said: All the jobs and different things I have done in my life have become preparatory to me becoming a judge,” he said. “It’s been a golden opportunity to put my background to work.”
During his tenure as a judge for the county, he watched the evolution of his office with updated technology, a move toward paperless documentation, fewer traffic violations and more civil processes.
“I’ve been able to do weddings, and that’s something that the good Lord gave me an opportunity to do,” he said. “A lot of people think that all (a justice of the peace does) is go to death scenes and do weddings, but there’s a lot more to it with civil actions and also criminal activity.
“I have great law enforcement people who do their jobs, and when they come to court, everything is handled very quickly. I have some ladies that work with me. I don’t have to worry about my office. I am very very privileged to have them,” he added. “I have a constable (Chris Jett) that works in this precinct, serves all the paperwork for my court. He serves in his own capacity, but he also works as the bailiff in my court. He’s just been terrific.”
Cutchin said he looks forward to time at a vacation home in Washington state as well as following news updates, reading and outdoor recreation.
“My sons have been telling me for a long time, ‘Dad, you need to go and enjoy yourself. You work all the time,’” he said. “‘You’ve been working since you were 15. It’s time to go enjoy your life.’”
Through the years, he has forged lasting relationships.
“The other elected officials and other department heads with whom I work have been really, really outstanding. I consider each one of them a friend,” he said.
Burnet County Judge James Oakley said Cutchin served an integral role in the judicial system.
“He’s a very valuable team member. I wish him the best in his retirement,” Oakley said. “We will go through the public process of sifting through applicants and interviewing them.”
Officials posted the position on www.burnetcountytexas.org.
Applications will be accepted until May 22. An appointee could be selected June 9 to the fill the unexpired term by July 1. In 2016, the next regular election, candidates can file to fill the remainder of the position’s four-year term, which goes through 2018.