JUNE 23, 2016 4:58 PM
Longtime Beaufort County pastor Bob Cuttino dies at 86
Pastor at Baptist Church of Beaufort for 10 years
Credited with starting 10 churches in the area
‘The thing that mattered most to him in this world was people and relationships,’ son said
Bob Cuttino never forgot a face, and there were so many.
He engaged countless people as a Baptist pastor of six decadeswho left his mark by forming and leading numerous churches in the Lowcountry.
Cuttino, a longtime Beaufort resident who started 10 churches in the area, died early Thursday morning at age 86 after a lengthy illness, his son said. A service will be held at Baptist Church of Beaufort at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by a reception.
“He to the very end never failed to recognize someone and relate to them in a deep and meaningful way,” said Robert Cuttino Jr. “Relationships were what drove him. He was a person perfectly called to ministry.”
Bob Cuttino led Baptist Church of Beaufort for 10 years, until 1996. He helped start Grays Hill Baptist, Shell Point Baptist, what is now Meadowbrook Baptist on Lady’s Island, and North Island Baptist and Sea Island Chapel on Hilton Head Island.
“If they are without a church, we will go ahead and form a church,” Cuttino told The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet after retiring in 2012.
Cuttino was recognized nationally at a Baptist convention for the number of churches he had started, his son said. He was an athlete growing up in Sumter and earned degrees from Wofford and Yale.
For decades, Cuttino taught at USC campuses in Beaufort and Lancaster. His “Walk through the Bible” course was popular at churches throughout the state.
Cuttino was president of the S.C. Baptist Convention, the S.C. Baptist Historical society and was a member of the Southern Baptist Peace Committee.
He wrote a book on the history of the state’s Baptists for the organization’s 175th anniversary, his son said.
“He’s forgotten more historical facts than I’ve ever known,” Baptist Church of Beaufort pastor Jim Wooten said.
Cuttino also served on the board at Charleston Southern University and was active in the city of Beaufort, helping bring white and black churches together for an initiative to clean up the Northwest Quadrant neighborhood during the 1990s.
He urged his fellow pastors at Baptist Church of Beaufort to be involved in the community and participate in the Rotary club, said David Holland, who was on Cuttino’s staff for three years and at the church for eight before becoming pastor of Tidal Creek Fellowship. Holland said he might not have considered starting Tidal Creek if not for Cuttino’s influence. He said the senior pastor always exuded joy.
“He saw himself in a larger role than just pastor of Baptist Church of Beaufort,” Holland said. “He probably more than anyone else had become Beaufort’s pastor.”
Cuttino had most recently served as an interim pastor at St. Helena Baptist Church. He resigned the position this past November, citing health problems, according to the church’s website.
“I want to tell you that serving you was a joy,” Cuttino wrote in a departing note to the congregation.