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Friends pay tribute to late musician
The Gainesville First United Methodist Church Youth Choir sings during Saturday’s memorial service for Jimmy Cutrell. - photo by Tom Reed
Gainesville First United Methodist Church swelled with people Saturday at a memorial service honoring beloved music instructor Jimmy Cutrell.

Cutrell, who died Oct. 28 at age 66, is remembered most for his beautiful voice and enthusiasm leading church choirs.

He started out directing the choir at First Baptist Church in Gulfport, Miss., before moving to Gainesville in 1983 and working with the choir at First United Methodist Church. He was also a voice instructor at Preparatory Music Inc. at Brenau University.

The memorial service was appropriately filled with music; attendants were encouraged to sing selected hymns, and the church’s youth and chancel choirs performed.

Friends spoke fondly of Cutrell and his devotion to God, recalling memories and stories from throughout his life.

Hugh Norman, a friend of Cutrell’s who spoke at the service, asked those in attendance to raise their hands if they had similar memories of Cutrell.

When asked if anyone else went on a mission or choir trip with Cutrell, most hands in the nearly full sanctuary shot up.

“Jimmy so enjoyed being around students of any age,” Norman said. “One of his passions was investing in the lives of young people and leading them to grow as Jesus did.”

Cutrell had spinal stenosis, a condition that was diagnosed after he fell in 2008, resulting in paralysis from just below the neck down.

Friends and supporters threw a benefit concert for him in February at Brenau’s Pearce Auditorium.

“This room is full of us that Jimmy nurtured as we grew intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially,” Norman said.

Norman said Cutrell’s legacy is left with his many students.

“Jimmy’s impact went far beyond the places he took choirs,” Norman said. “Those choir members grew up and scattered across this nation and around the world to lead godly lives, to teach Sunday school classes and minister to others.”