Dr. Randall Curry Cutlip, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died at age 85, Thursday, February 20, 2020, in Ames, Iowa, leaving behind a grateful family that will miss him terribly.
Born September 30, 1934, on the family farm near Lobelia, he was a son of the late Cameron Columbus and Ruth Jane Curry Cutlip.
Randall graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1951. He married the love of his life, Margaret Ann “Peggy” Stowers, September 7, 1957, at Cobbs Creek Baptist Church in Sod.
With farm roots in the hills of West Virginia, Randall’s local 4-H club was instrumental in widening his view of the world. One of many out of state trips was to Chicago, Illinois, representing West Virginia as the state sheep shearing champion. Randall gave back as a long time 4-H leader himself, and he enjoyed and valued world travel throughout his life.
Not surprisingly, Randall had an affinity for animals, as they did for him. A kind, gentle man, he was almost always more comfortable in the presence of a dog or cat (or horse, cow, sheep…). At home, Randall hosted a menagerie of animals over the years. Of them all, he had great respect for a devilish long-lived cat and a wily Brittany, but held a special love for his miniature Longhaired Dachshunds.
Randall liked to stay busy, but was always patient. He loved to tinker in his shop and, given enough time, he could build or fix just about anything. Randall was a long-time member of the Building and Grounds Committee at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Ames, Iowa. He liked to grow more vegetables than Peggy could can, delighted in teaching anything to his grandkids, enjoyed church and the little ones on Noisy Coin Sundays, and loved lazy afternoons when the blade of the ice cream maker started to slow. Randall’s curiosity and love of organizing things led him into the family’s genealogy, an obsession that lasted to his death. He didn’t know when to stop.
Education was important but money was tight, so Randall worked around home after high school to save money for college. He then attended West Virginia University from 1954 to1957, and received his D.V.M. degree from The Ohio State University (1961, cum laude). He earned the Master of Science (1965) and Ph.D. (1971) degrees in Veterinary Pathology from Iowa State University, and passed the Examination for Certification of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.
Randall joined the staff of the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, as it opened in 1961. He was an internationally renowned sheep disease scientist who contributed major advances in how viruses and bacteria cause respiratory diseases. Appointed head of the NADC Respiratory and Neurologic Disease Unit, Randall developed the definitive immunodiffusion diagnostic test for Ovine Progressive Pneumonia, a slow virus disease of sheep.
In later years, Randall did groundbreaking studies on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies that advanced knowledge of how these new misfolded proteins called prions were transmitted. Evidence had suggested that agents of scrapie in sheep could cause mad cow disease, and by inference a potential danger to humans. Randall and his team showed that the scrapie prion from sheep was incapable of causing the prion-associated mad cow disease in cattle. He was honored to receive The Ohio State University Veterinary Medicine Alumni Recognition Award and the Outstanding Scientist of the Year Award from the United States Department of Agriculture Research Services.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Robert Lowell Cutlip; a sister, Elma Virginia Cutlip McNeel; and brothers-in-law, J. Moffet “Mac” McNeel and Howard Kelly Stowers.
Randall is survived by his wife, Peggy; his daughter, Meikka Ann Cutlip of Washington, D.C.; his son, Michael Curry Cutlip, and daughter-in-law, Katherine “Kathy” Marie Hynes Cutlip, and their children, Margaret “Maggie” Grace, Laura Elizabeth and Nicholas “Cole” Hynes Cutlip, all of White Plains, New York. Also surviving are his sisters-in-law, Beverly Cutlip and Barbara Stowers; a brother-in-law, David Wesley Stowers; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is planned for June 20, 2020, 11 a.m. at Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames, Iowa. Interment of ashes will be held at a later date in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Hillsboro.
Although in Iowa most of his life, Randall never lost his love for West Virginia. Every summer when driving back to visit family, Randall always waited for the right moment, then relaxed and sighed “It’s good to be back in the hills.”
Remembrance memorials lovingly accepted by: The Ohio State University Foundation’s West Virginia Student Scholarship Fund, supporting students from West Virginia studying veterinary medicine at OSU www.giveto.osu.edu/makeagift/?recurring=false&amount=&Source_Code=DEV_AG-0-GivingFeature-ON-S; Search #315329 or Northminster Presbyterian Church’s fund for an enhanced sound system.