Looney Tunes. Disney characters. G.I. Joe. Chile peppers. School supplies. Baseballs.
These are a few of items on the 200 ties Wando High School math teacher Joe Kutcher was known for wearing.
On June 17, Kutcher died after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. But before he died he made sure to tell his wife, ReBecca Kutcher, what should become of his large collection of ties.
“I want you to have a party. Put aside the ones you and the girls want. I would like for the people who were special to me and close friends to pick the ties they want,” ReBecca Kutcher said her husband told her.
She said the tie collection all started when they were newlyweds in the early 1990s.
“Those ties were popular at the time,” she said.
She said that after a while her husband started wearing his eclectic ties to work and would plan his outfit around the one he wanted to wear that day. He would even match them with his lessons.
“Over the years, as his likes and interests changed, we made sure we got ties to support them,” she said.
Wando declared Oct. 24 “Mr. Kutcher Tie Day.” Many of the faculty members and students close to him wore his actual ties. Others wore their own ties in his honor.
Not only did his former students and co-workers wear ties, but also students who never met him. Other students participated because they were taught by ReBecca Kutcher and wanted to support her.
“I didn’t know Mr. Kutcher directly, but I wore my tie out of respect,” said Wando freshman Ricky Schmidt.
“He was the man. I miss him,” said Wando senior Doug Davis, who knew Joe Kutcher.
Cairo Middle School, where ReBecca teaches and daughter Sammi is a student, also celebrated Mr. Kutcher Tie Day. Joe and ReBecca have two older daughters, Trista and Suzi.
“Joe was a great colleague and overall great guy. He made this school a better place,” said Wando basketball coach David Eaton. “We’ll do anything we can do to honor Joe Kutcher.”
Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Joe was a friend first and a mentor second. It means a lot to have one of his ties. I feel like I have a part of him. This tie is different just like Joe. This is definitely him.”Shandra Drayton, Wando High School English teacher, wearing Joe Kutcher’s Disney baseball tie“I have this tie hanging in my room as a reminder of the kind of man Joe was.”Bryan Schultz, Wando physical science teacher, wearing Kutcher’s G.I. Joe tie “He was a wonderful friend to me. He gave me the confidence to be a great teacher. ... He was a fun person. You can see it with all the different ties.”Stephanie McGuffin, Wando math teacher, wearing Kutcher’s chile pepper tie“I picked this tie because it’s all about school. Joe was passionate about Wando. He had so much school pride. He loved being here every day. It was more than just his job. It’s an honor to have a piece of him that I can wear and keep in my classroom.”Jenny Cassell, Wando math teacher, wearing Kutcher’s school supplies tie“It means everything to have one of Joe’s ties. I have it hanging up in my classroom. It reminds me that he’s here every day watching over us. It’s the first thing I see when I walk into my classroom.”Brad Smith, Wando math teacher, wearing Kutcher’s Looney Tunes chile pepper tie