Morrie Cutler lived a full, exciting and productive life. His life story almost sounds like a novel. He came of age at the time the Second World War broke out. He joined the Army Air Corps as a navigator. He flew 18 missions in B17s for the 8th Air Force. He became a master navigator and left the military as a Lt. Colonel.
Morrie Cutler He went to Afghanistan to establish educational programs when most people in the United States couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map. This was before the Soviet Invasion when Afghanistan still had a king. From there, he went on to Nairobi in Africa to establish educational programs — an assignment that required him to learn Swahili. When he returned to the States, he began a career with LAUSD and became a school principle.
After retirement his continued interest in learning and in staying intellectually active led him, along with a couple of friends, to start The SAGE Society in 1987. Since then, SAGE has enhanced the retirement years of hundreds of individuals, providing them opportunities to expand their intellectual horizons as well as opportunities to make wonderful friends.
Morrie enjoyed the respect, admiration, and sincere affection of all who had the pleasure of knowing him . His superior intellect and curious mind made sharing classes with him a fascinating and rewarding experience and his cheerful disposition and sense of humor made it a pleasure just to know him. He was always willing to help and to share his knowledge with others. To say he will be greatly missed would indeed be an understatement.
We honored Morrie with a scholarship in his name to a CSUN student. For several years Morrie conducted senior computer classes at CSUN. Morrie had teaching in his DNA! and donated the proceeds for a scholarship to a student studying computer science. We think he would be pleased to have one last computer science scholarship given in his name.
Morrie Cutler, just hearing his name makes me smile. For those of you who are relatively new to this organization, Morrie was the “spark plug” who brought SAGE into being, along with the generosity of CSUN. So, without Morrie, none of this would be! I joined SAGE in ’88, its 2nd year. Morrie became my mentor. He gave me ideas for discussion topics, lent me books, opened the door for me to volunteer at CSUN. As we lived only a couple of blocks apart, over the years we became good friends through walks, talks, and as he was an avid gardener, even bringing me starter tomato plants….which I somehow managed to kill.
He was kind, compassionate, and above all, had a delightful sense of humor which led us to enjoying “kidding” each other …about what?….silly nonsense. When I began living alone, knowing I loved the theater, he and Fay (his wife) would invite me to join them when they had an extra ticket. He often offered to give me a ride to the SAGE Forums, and these last years , he just called and told me the time they would pick me up, thoughtful and greatly appreciated. I cherished his friendship — and I miss him — but am thankful for the happy memories.
I would like to share with you the last time I saw Morrie. It was September 2014. He was home from the hospital for the last time and in bed. We chatted about various things for a short time. He was alert and seemed in good spirits. As I was about to leave, I stopped and said, “Morrie, do you ever stop to realize how many lives you have enriched, or changed for the better, just through SAGE?” He looked at me for a second and then replied, “Not here”, as he tapped his forehead, “But I do here,” and he touched the area over his heart. That was Morrie — a Huge Heart — and a lot of Fun!
Ed Gilbert was a native New Yorker. He had a successful career as an attorney in the entertainment industry, in which capacity he transferred to Los Angeles in 1990. Ed and Joyce joined SAGE shortly after his retirement, and from early on he made major contributions to SAGE. He served in several leadership roles — treasurer, vice-president, president and CSUN liaison. He joined the Board of Directors in 1997 and continued to serve on the Board until July 2014. Ed Gilbert
Ed was always willing to help wherever he was needed — whether it was assisting with the AV equipment or sharing his knowledge in some other area. In addition to serving on the Board, Ed coordinated many classes and his classes were among the most popular in SAGE. Intellectually, he was a true Renaissance man. Whether the topic was music, Shakespeare, history, politics or whatever, he always brought an in-depth knowledge and thoughtful perspective to the class both as coordinator and as a participant.
Many of us who were devotees of his Shakespeare classes agreed that we learned more about Shakespeare in Ed’s classes than we did in our college classes — and enjoyed it a whole lot more. In addition to his intellectual contributions, Ed had a natural charm and grace that made it a pleasure to share a class with him. He will be sorely missed.
SAGE honored Ed’s memory with a scholarship in his name. A memorial was held in July 2015. Members of his family traveled from the East Coast to attend.
June Adler was a native of California. She had a successful career as an attorney where she specialized in Adoption Law and Family Law.
She joined SAGE shortly after her retirement, and from early on she made major contributions to SAGE. She served in several leadership roles and was on the SAGE Board of Directors for six years as vice president, president, and past president.
June coordinated several classes including Witchcraft, Ladies of the Night, and Famous Murders, to name but a few. These classes were not exactly what one would expect at SAGE. Those who were lucky enough to have taken a class with June would often be treated to her great presentations where she often dressed as the character she was portraying,
Sometimes she’d convince a fellow classmate to perform with her in a mini-drama of an event pertinent in her presentation. All her classes were well attended and enjoyed by all.
She was also famous for her New Year’s Day party given on the early afternoon of January 1.each year. It was a potluck and the sommelier was usually Burt Fink, her soulmate and also a member of SAGE. She started giving these parties when she became President of SAGE, and continued through 2020. Each year there would be more and more people attending.
On January 1, 2020 she was unable to walk, but that didn’t stop her. Her wonderful family served as her legs and took care of the preparations and cleanup. She reigned on her throne and all who came paid homage to her and she loved it. She was a marvelous hostess, another of her many talents.
Accepting an offer to be vice president of SAGE involves a six-year commitment to be on the board of directors for two years, followed by two years as president and a final two years as former president. June approached the challenging task with a positive attitude, from 2012 to 2018. As president from 2014 to 2016, she demonstrated excellent leadership, successfully steering the organization forward during her term.
As a member of SAGE, June suggested many study topics and coordinated a number of classes. Her background as an attorney was revealed in her research skills and presentations.
One of the enduring events of the year she offered SAGE members was her New Year’s Day celebration. She welcomed the entire membership to her home to enjoy a lavish potluck with dishes provided by her guests. Her bar with its alcoholic beverages was open to everyone.
Recognizing that some SAGE members had difficulty walking, she thoughtfully engaged a valet parking service. Her guests could leave their cars in front of her house and retrieve them there at the end of the party.
She herself had difficulty walking in her last few years but was adamant about continuing the New Year’s Day tradition. With the aid of her two sons and kitchen help, she remained seated in the kitchen where guests would greet her as they deposited their potluck contributions.
Those who feel that romance can come at any age will recognize the many unions that occur with SAGE membership. June found her delight with Burt Fink. Both had lost their partners. He was a doctor, she a lawyer. He introduced her to his marvelous wine collection. She shared her experiences in family law. He taught her PowerPoint and helped her use it to improve her presentations. They were a loving couple.
New Year’s Day won’t be the same without June Adler. On January 1, 2021 SAGE members plan to gather for a video presentation created by the membership to pay tribute to her.