Cover photo for Dr. Raymond Richard Kuutti's Obituary
Dr. Raymond Richard Kuutti Profile Photo

Dr. Raymond Richard Kuutti

June 2, 1927 — May 21, 2023

Maggie Valley

Dr. Raymond Richard Kuutti

Dr. Raymond Richard Kuutti, 95, of Maggie Valley, N.C. died May 21, 2023, at Brooks-Howell Home in Asheville, N.C. Ray was born June 2, 1927, to loving Finnish immigrant parents, Samuel and Hilda Kuutti, on the Iron Range in Minnesota. He had three older siblings - Arvid, Helen and Rachel. Ray loved helping his family on the farm near Lake Esquagama, where he would eventually meet the love of his life, Alice Partanen at Bible Camp. After graduating from Gilbert High School, Ray served as a member of the US Army Signal Corps in Korea during World War II. Upon his return, Ray attended Virginia Junior College, studying music at a time when education and the arts were at their height on the Iron Range. He married Alice, and the two went on to study and receive their Bachelor of Science in Music Education at the University of Minnesota.


Ray and Alice were inseparable, a true meeting of minds and talents. They worked together building orchestra programs throughout the US while raising their seven children. During this time, Ray earned his Master of Music in Music Education at Boston University, studying with Dr. George Bornoff. He was also honored to have studied with brass embouchure pioneer Roy Stevens as well as concert violist and orchestra conductor, Paul Doktor. He later earned his Doctorate in Music Education at Florida State University, completing his dissertation about creating community through music for which he wrote an Adult Beginner String Method Book. He loved his decades of teaching at public and private schools and universities, as well as performing in many symphonies and ensembles on Viola, Violin, and Tuba. His greatest joy came from performing with the Kuutti Family Orchestra which included himself, his wife, and their seven children.


Ray was an example of a life well lived and a model for all to aspire to. Where there were obstacles, he saw solutions. He was an inventor, composer, and craftsman. He could fix anything – bikes, tractors, cars, houses, instruments. His ingenuity and resourcefulness grew from his Finnish heritage. His gentle smile, patience and positive enthusiasm for life inspired all who met him. The world will be less harmonious and all too quiet without our adorable Dad.


He will be dearly missed by his children: Cynthia Weller (Paul), Elaine Bradley (Steve), Earl Kuutti (Dian), Ervin Kuutti, Rachel Axford (James), Rosanne Kuutti, Ray Alan Kuutti; Grandchildren, Robert, Ryan, Lisl, Liina, Kirsi, Samuel, Alia, Katie, Emily, Aaron, Amber, and Kiki; Great-grandchildren: Jonathan and Barrett, many cousins, nieces, and nephews as well as relatives in Finland and Mexico


We are very grateful to the kind staff at Brooks-Howell Home, and every person that interacted with Dad to help make his life brighter.


Memorials can be made to


The care of Dr. Kuutti has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Candler.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Raymond Richard Kuutti, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Graveside Service

Thursday, May 25, 2023

11:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Forest Lawn Memorial Park

1498 Sand Hill Rd, Candler, NC 28715

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