FRANK CUTA - Additional Information

Topic Index

Cuta Family Tree
Frank's Annual Missives from 1996, 1998, 2003 & 2007
Article on Frank from Independent record January 2006

Cuta Family Tree

First on the Cuta side of the family:

Descendants of Frank Matthew Cuta

First Generation
1. Frank Matthew Cuta was born on Sept 30, 1878 in Austria-Hungary. He died on oct 10, 1954 and was buried Circle, Mt.
Frank married Mary Svec in 1910. Mary was born on Oct 6, 1890 in Wisconsin. She died on Nov 3, 1932 in La Crosse, Wisc.

Second Generation--They had the following children:

.+2Fi Helen
.+3Fii Emily
.+4Fiii Mary
.+5Miv George

Third Generation

.2. Helen
.Helen married Otto Pawlowski on Sept 13, 1935. Otto was born on Feb 17, 1896. He died on Feb 2, 1984.

.They had the following children:

..6Mi Charles
..7Fii Patricia Ann
..8Miii Daniel Stephen

.3 .Emily
.Emily married Orville Maze.

They had the following children:

..9Mi Orville, Jr.
..10Fii Collette
..11Fiii John
..12Fiv Valerian

.4. Mary
.Mary married James Kuckler.

They had the following children:
..13Mi Rick
..14Fii Ellen Jane

5. .George Richard cuta
.George was born on Feb 19, 1917 in West of Circle, Mt.
.He died in June 1978 in Helena.
.George married Clare MacNeill.
.Clare MacNeill Cuta was born june 24, 1921 in Helena
.She died March 12, 1998 in Helena

.They had the following children:

..15Mi Frank
..16Fii Sallie
..17Miii James
..18Miv Michael

The above data can be found (hopefully updated) at:

also try:

Annual Missives from Frank for 1996, 1998, 2003 & 2007

Frank and Judy Cuta
(509) 967-2658
Frank at
(email address written a little odd to hide from web crawlers)

January 1996

Hi Everyone,

"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly!"

I can only speak for myself, but I don't think that I am in imminent danger of floating away. However, as the years go by I am trying to take myself less and less seriously. I am having some success choosing not to fuss about things that are not important but I find that I still have to deal with a certain amount of stress. In fact I think that dealing with issues is to some degree what our existence here on Earth is all about.

Last year at this time we were in the process of building and moving and putting out other fires. We moved in March. We now live in a manufactured home of exactly the same size as our old house (about 28x60) but it is sitting on top of a full size finished basement. Moving was accomplished over a period of two months. We needed very little help since our new home is just 100 feet south of the old place. (Mailing address is unchanged.) I dreaded the prospect of selling the old double-wide but we were cashed out by the first of about 32 people who responded to my ad.

The additional space in the basement made it possible for us to spread out a little and have some uncluttered living space upstairs. Most of my junk is now downstairs and that's where I retire to, to pursue my hobbies. Judy has the upstairs to write, read, quilt, etc.

Our livestock report is next. We are down from a high of five horses (1990) to just two head. Our horses seem to live until they are about 16 or 17 and then pass away of natural causes. Our oldest cat Shadow (the crazy one) stopped eating and finally wasted away. The two kitties that we adopted five years ago turned into monster cats (about 15 lbs each) and one of them, Rye is still with us. Whiskey was very traumatized when we moved out of the old house and when we sold it he disappeared too. To keep us on our toes we recently adopted two more kittens, Michaelangelina (Mike for short) and Lady Jane Gray. They have already doubled in size. Right now their lives are dominated by alternate periods of scampering and sleeping punctuated by short trips to the cat feeder. A kitty's life is full of excitement. Today one of them decided to jump up on the toilet just after it was flushed and Judy had to snatch it from a swirling watery grave.

Yesterday I heard again the Garrison Kealer monologue that centers around a boy's Christmas wish for a Lionel train set. I always enjoy this story. I really had a strong childhood fascination with model trains and it really stimulates some of those old feelings. I used to dream about owning one of the big Lionel setups offered in the Wards catalog and couldn't wait for the Christmas toy store displays to be opened. I never got a fancy set but I was blessed with a best friend Kim whose father had a basement stocked with just about everything that Lionel had ever made. When we were about 12 we discovered this trove and I got the thrill of wiring up all of the lighted buildings, street lights, automatic traffic crossings, a vibrating cattle car loader, a milkcan loader, a coal car loader, and a talking whistling depot. We used to turn out all of the lights and watch our lighted trains chug through tunnels, over bridges and through the miniature magic lighted fantasy landscapes that we created. A few years later I watched these lights go by from inside the train as I rode the Northern Pacific North Coast Limited back and forth across eastern Montana and the Dakotas between home and the Mayo Clinic.

Our new basement has also made it possible for me to fulfill a lifeClong dream to have my own sound recording studio. I am now set up with full 24Ctrack digital capability and am recording local acoustic talent in my spare time. I continue to enjoy doing sound reenforcement for our local Folk Life society This year I did sound for David Maloney, Priscilla Herdman, Bill Staines, Dave Mallett, Ann Reed, Peter O'Struschko, Chris Procter, Chuck Pile, Brian Bowers, the Righteous Mothers, and the Austin City Lounge Lizards.

A special surprise treat this month was receiving a recorded copy of "Sing Out" magazine from the Library of Congress. I have been interested in reading this periodical for the past twenty years but I have never had easy access to it. Now it looks like the National Library Service may offer it as one of their standard selections. An additional bonus in this current issue is an article on Filk music written by Jorden Kare. Filk is a special interest that I picked up at my first science fiction convention about 15 years ago.

The rest of the family is doing pretty well. Mom has regained some energy and her spirits are up. Jim and Linda and Josh have moved to Larned, Kansas where Jim has accepted a physicians assistant position and they have settled down in a 100 year old farm house on 4 acres a little ways out of town. Judy's sister Debbie and her husband Mark and their three boys are moving to Okinawa, where Mark will provide pediatric care at the navel base for the next two years.

During the holiday season Judy and I usually find time to do a little reading together. This year we have been enjoying short stories by Rudyard Kipling. What a creative giant this man was! I don't think Kipling gets enough recognition in S&SF circles. In the first few years of this century he was writing stuff that would not be out of place in a contemporary fantasy magazine. I think the Nebula for best short story of 1904 should go to Mr. Kipling for "They." (Republished in THE SAHIB'S WAR and Other Stories, Volume 1 of a 2 volume collection from Penguin.)

Time for the annual eye report. The cornea transplant that was performed on my right eye in November of '93 is now over two years old. My body seems to have accepted it better than the previous two grafts and it remains clear. My onCgoing battle is with eye pressure. I have had two laser treatments in the past year to keep it under control but glaucoma has permanently destroyed most of my optic nerve. This is making my work difficult, as more and more of our computer applications are adopting graphical interfaces. Graphical interfaces do not work very well with speech output.

Judy is completing the final year of the Japanese course that she started two years ago. She is reading Japanese comics and watching Japanese videos as well as reading and writing her regular lessons. A trip to Japan is still somewhere in our future but not yet scheduled.

The Buddha said as he died, "Make yourself a light in the world."

Take care of each other,
Frank and Judy

January 1998

Hi Everyone,

I'm not sure when I last composed and sent out one of these letters, but it's probably been about two years. I notice that as I get lazier I also seem to get less Christmas mail. Do you think there could possibly be some correlation? Anyway, thanks to everyone who keeps on writing -- we appreciate hearing from you.

To those of you on the internet, feel free to use our new e-mail address for future correspondence. We have both had direct internet connections at work for many years but we have never been able to use them for personal E-mail. However, we do appreciate some of the programs available to us at work. Last year in an effort to encourage staff to take more work home, Battelle offered us interest-free loans for the purchase of our own home computer system. As a result we have a nice new Micron pentium 166 and a HP laser printer in our computer room. I have set it up so I can use it with a speech synthesizer for writing and producing Braille for my computer Braille printer, but our E-mail is Windows based and I just let Judy deal with it rather than struggling with the graphic interface.

Yes, we are still here in the same basic location but the address has changed. We now have a "real" street address which means that emergency vehicles, Morman missionaries, and burglars will have less difficulty finding our abode. As you can probably tell, I'm not entirely sure that this is a good idea. What does "PRNE" represent, you ask? Actually it's been a pretty quiet year for us and keeping this a secret is currently the most exciting thing going on in our lives. OK, OK, I'll tell you, anyway. It stands for "Private Road, North East" -- bet you knew all along!

Our private road is a dead-end branch off of a dead-end country road, which means that we live in a pretty quiet place. We have plenty of elbow room--also hoof room (we still have 2 horses of our own and we board a third one). Our friend Colleen owns the boarder, and Judy and Colleen take lessons and ride together on weekends. They also share interests in writing, Japanese, quilting, books, and videos. Colleen also sometimes helps Judy with cooking, and they put together some great dinners.

Last summer we received a big refund from the IRS and put in a good fence around the perimeter of our 10 acres of sagebrush, and a generous layer of gravel on our 400 feet of driveway. It was a bit of a shock to learn a few months later that there had been a slight error and the IRS wanted half of it back! They weren't interested in a slightly used fence, but I'm sure they would have accepted blood.

We planted 4 evergreen trees around the house last year and 4 more this year. It's not Montana yet, but it is getting greener. The rest of the acreage remains sagebrush and cheat grass and we don't plan to change it. The horses appreciate their new freedom and when they are turned out they wander from fence to fence grazing on everything that is green and a few things that aren't.

I continue to add to and work in my basement sound recording studio. I still have not yet produced my first audio CD but I have accumulated enough material on recording tape that it will probably happen this year. My most recent purchase is a audible level meter that permits me to accurately set my sound level adjustments with out seeing the meters on the equipment.

As recently as last summer I was still able to see some of the brighter displays on my equipment. The continued deterioration in my vision is a direct result of glaucoma. Someday they may finally legalize marijuana for medical uses but it will be too late to do me any good. On second thought, I guess I could still enjoy some of its other benefits.

I never thought that I would drive a vehicle at 60 miles an hour again! I got the opportunity this summer when I stopped in Helena on my way back from the American Council of the Blind Convention that took place in Houston in July. My brother Mike and cousin John have gone in together and purchased a 21-foot speedboat that they use for summer recreation on the many lakes surrounding Helena. (There really is a summer in Montana and this year it occurred the very same week that I was visiting.) This boat is powered by a 327 V8 turbo- charged inboard-outboard drive---and it moves! I drove all the way from the gates of Houser Dam up to the foot of Canyon Ferry Dam with Mike giving me verbal directions at each bend in the river. You know, 50MPH on the water is pretty exciting--but 60MPH is a real thrill! I think that this is particularly true when you are behind the wheel!

In Houston I took an afternoon tour of the Johnson Space Center that was set up for blind convention attendees. A real treat was an exclusive "hands on" demonstration of the mock-up design for the space station domestic living module. We got to sit on the toilet (which has special thigh restraints to hold you on to it) and we got to crawl into the shower (which has both a sprayer to wet you down and a wand to chase down and suck up the resulting floating dirty water droplets). The module is quite roomy when you consider that you not only have the floor but also the 4 walls and ceiling to choose from when you decide to settle down and park yourself.

Our United Blind bingo business failed last summer and we have had to close our local office which provided services to the blind. I have struggled to keep this program alive for the past two years and with its demise I am taking a break and turning over the reins of the organization to a new president. Also, the end of December I completed my last 3-year term on the advisory board of the State Department of Services for the Blind. With this extra free time on my hands I am looking at taking more computer classes and spending more time on my sound recording projects.

One disability-related activity that I am still strongly involved in is our state organization, the Washington council of the Blind. We are currently suing the State of Washington Department of Information Services to force them to make their public information kiosks accessible to us as blind persons. I am an individual plaintiff in this case.

Some family news worth noting. Mom is better after a drastic loss in weight that got her down to under 70 pounds. She has regained about 10 pounds and has her energy back. Sallie and Mike have been working hard to file all the necessary documents and cut through the red tape necessary to get her into a living situation that gives her more independence and is also affordable. Jim and his family have purchased the local movie theatre in the small Kansas town where they live and they are now working their rear ends off making a second business out of it.

Just a couple of years ago two of Judy's sisters, Marilyn and Debbie and their families both lived in the Seattle area--just 200 miles from us. Now Debbie and Mark are in Okinawa, which is about 7000 miles way, and Marilyn and Dwight are in Pendelton, which is only 70 miles away.

Many of you remember my cousin Neill Stock. Neill passed away in his sleep on January 8th from a massive heart attack. Neill and I were very close friends in the early '60s. I was 15 and he was 25 and he was a model of caring, generosity, honesty and trust for me at a time in my life when I needed some guide posts.

About a year ago I started putting in three shifts a week at the computer support help- desk at work. I like it a lot more than managing projects. This kind of work certainly has its own kind of stress, but each morning I get the immediate gratification and satisfaction that comes with being directly responsible for helping 20 or so people resolve their Windows95 problems each morning. Up until this time, the Windows operating environment has been mostly a problem for me at work because it does not work very well with my speech output adaptations. However, working on the phone with callers I am in a natural position to request that they describe their screens for me. Thus I believe that telephone support lines can be an excellent employment opportunity for people who are blind.

Judy continues to be prominent in her field and recently Battelle flew her to Japan to consult with potential clients. She is currently being pursued by the Koreans who want her to visit them and perform a week long brain dump for them so that they will know everything that she knows about a certain nuclear reactor analysis computer code they have purchased the right to use. (This may be on hold for a while until they get over their current economic crisis.)

"The only true freedom that you have is to choose what your attitude will be at any moment."

Not completely at odds with the above is:

What do politicians and diapers have in common? They both need to be changed regularly and for the same reason.

Take care of each other,
Frank and Judy

P.S. Even with our new address, the Mormon missionaries have yet to find us. However, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists seem to have known where we are all along. But since we are always out serving Mammon when they call, their generous aid is unavailing.

January 2003

Just a little note to let you all know that we are still here, healthy and very much enjoying life.

Judy has spent another year sharpening her equitation skills. Smokey, our new quarter-hourse is her current primary riding horse and she gets lessons twice a week with Judy and our trainor, marla. One of our arab's, Marico, is here at home and Judy is training her for driving. A cart has been ordered for this purpose but it has not yet been delivered. Our second arab, Rowena, is at Marla's where she works every day as a lesson pony. She is a real professional and this year won a local pony-hunter chanpionship for one of Marla's students. We are very proud. the horses have a new trailer complete with space for all 3 horses and a separate tack room. this is not really significant except for the fact that we still drive a 1983 car and the trailer still gets pulled by our 1970 dodge truck.

I became totally blind this year. It was hardly a big thing in my life since I did not even know that I had lost all remaining light perception until my doctor told me so. I have been living life to the fullest with little vision and as a totally blind person for many years and was obviously not even using the little light perception that I still had available.

We are in the middle of Harry Potter's exploits. I had listened to parts of the first book on the radio reading service for the blind but aftermissing a few chapters Judy and I started reading it together and just kept on going. We finished the second book while at the Oregon coast in November and are now halfway through the third volume. Judy got me the full set in the original British for Christmas and I enjoy hearing all of the little odd word/terminology choices without the American substitutions.

I got Judy a 1/5 minature set of the Lord of the Rings swords which are sitting on our TV. We just recently watched the new extended version of the first movie which has just been released on DVD. They put about a hour of cut material back in making it over 3 hours long and it is absolutely great! Judy made Christmas dinner for 11 and after stuffing with roast and apple pie we all sat down and watched it together.

I continue to enjoy my computer support duties at work. Phone support can be stressful at times but I love talking directly to people, solving their problems and, of course, receiving the immediate praise and admiration which many of my customers heap on after I rescue them from their current crisis.

Last spring my treadmill exercising unit blew a breaker and went up in a puff of smoke as the motor burned out. It was not much of a loss as my knees have been giving me trouble and I needed to get away from the constant impact of walking. I am now enjoying lifting weights and using a stationary cycle excersise unit. I may be stuck with the pear shape that comes with being 54 but at least I am going to be a firm pear!

For over ten years I have been fighting a gastric reflux (GERD) condition which has made it impossible to sleep comfortably without raising my upper torso. this last year I have been sleeping in the living room in my recliner because it was getting too hard to achieve the required elevation in our old bed. Well, last month we got a new bed which is completely adjustable and I moved back into the bedroom. It was very expensive and I felt that it was kind of an extravagant purchase but it really is wonderful and it is also helping Judy who has had back problems since she was a girl.

Thank you all for all of your great Christmas gifts. This year Mike came through again with my favorite candy from the Parrot in Helena. Jim and Linda got me a swiss army knife that I have coveted having for years and Sallie and Daniel sent what looks to be walnuts and even oranges which appear to have been harvested from their own trees!

Tonight is January 1,2003. As we sit down with Haryy Potter and our 3 cats on the sofa we extend to you all our sincere hope for love and peace in the new year. May you all enjoy to the fullest the time that you are granted here on Earth.

Take care of each other,
Frank and Judy Cuta

January 2007

Well it has finally happened -- I have produced a music CD!
For the last 15 years I have been the principle sound man for our local folk life organization, the 3 rivers folklife society. We produce acoustic music concerts at the Kennewick grange hall and at a Richland coffeehouse venue. The performers come to us with only their fiddles, banjo's guitars etc and they depend on me to bring, set up and operate the necessary microphones amplifiers and speakers to make it possible for them can sing and play. I love doing this work for them and as a kind of perk they usually do not object to me making a professional quality recording of their performance directly off of my system.

For many years I dreamed of compiling some of my favorite recordings of this kind and producing a cD. Ffinally I put a couple hundred hours into a first attempt about 5 years ago. However, I gave up in frustration when I realized that such a project involves more than just technical engineering -- there ar a lot of administrative issues such as obtaining rights and permissions from the artists , producing the CD liner and booklet and working out the stamping and assembly details with the factory.

This summer the project rose from its ashes when the organization decided that they wanted to produce a retrospective compiliation as a fund raiser. I gladly took on the task of selecting the individual performances and editing them all together into a cohesive professional product. There is certainly value in stumbling a little the first time down the path since I learned a lot from my earlier efforts. This being an organizational project other members assisted me by taking on all of the supportive jobs that did not involve working directly with the music and electronics. Also the organization paid the substantial initial factory pressing costs.

For about 5 weeks in september and august I thought of little else as I put in my 40 hours a week at Battelle and then another 60 hours a week doing the editing and production for this project. Call it a labor of love if you will I am not sure what exactly happened to me for those weeks. It it is hard to describe the pleasure of working so intensely so passively on a project that totally grabs you and reinforces your interest as you make measureable progress each day.

The result is a double CD with 31 performances on it that span a period of 13 years. We got it it out on schedule and under budget I am giving away a few to friends but of course we actually hope to eventually break even with the project and -- dream on -- actually make a few bucks for the organization.

Details on this recording are available at

Take care,
Frank and Judy Cuta
Frank at
(email address written a little odd to hide from web crawlers)

Article on Frank from Independent Record January 2006

If you like semi-sweet chockolate you will like this article. Its semi factual, semi exaggerated, semi misleading, semi entertaining and semi interesting. But Curt is a good guy and he did a good job of writing a human interest story and I appreciate not only the positive report of a blind person's successes but also It does mention the WCB, the ACB, Battelle and the evergreen radio reading service. All organizations that I support.

This article was printed in my home town paper the helena independent record on Sunday jan 22, 2006.

Read on if you want to be semi-entertained.

Forty years after the blast

By CURT SYNNESS - IR Staff Writer - 01/22/06

Forty years ago this month, on Jan. 1, 1966, 16-year old Frank Cuta and Bob Nash, 17, were involved in an explosion on the side of Mt. Helena that those of us who lived here back then will never forget.

The two teenagers had stolen from a mine near Unionville 85 sticks of dynamite, which they attached to an alarm clock on New Year's Eve, with intentions of bringing in 1966 with a bang. But when the makeshift bomb did not detonate, the youths went back up to the site the next night to check things out.

"Bob went to cut the wires, but they touched while he was cutting and it exploded," Cuta told the Independent Record from his hospital bed afterwards. "I was saved because Bob was between me and the dynamite."

The explosion killed Nash, while Cuta was blinded instantly, sustaining punctured eardrums and a broken leg.

Despite injuries, today Frank Cuta (HHS class of 1967) is an electrical engineer for Batelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories in Richland, Wash. He has over 30 years of experience in the design and fabrication of digital electronic hardware, and in the development and implementation of electronic instrumentation, according to his resume. He is also an expert in the specification and integration of technical computer workstations.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Montana State University in 1972 and his master's at Washington State University in 1978.

Cuta, 56, is renowned in the Pacific Northwest for investigating and evaluating state-of-the-art equipment and technologies for use in solving unique scientific problems. And he has been mentioned in six different engineering publications and was featured in Baud Magazine.

And he accomplished all this despite the reckless, youthful act that forever impaired his vision.

After the explosion, Cuta spent the next seven months in the hospital, undergoing numerous surgeries at St. Peter's and the Mayo Clinic. He eventually regained some of his sight and most of his hearing. He actually ran on coach Bill Gilbert's cross-country team his senior year at HHS, by being able to "make out forms in front of me well enough to run a cross-country course."

He attended MSU-Bozeman, where he could read the textbooks with a magnifying glass. Cuta used a blackboard to do his assignments, which were turned in after taking a Polaroid picture of his work. He also took part in gymnastics and judo while at Montana State.

"I learned Braille and traveled with a long white cane through the great summer school program offered as a joint project of the State Department of Services for the Blind and the Montana Association of the Blind," Cuta explained.

Some of the projects he has designed and fabricated while with Batelle include flow calibration, a digital histographic recorder and hot water saver instrumentation. He has been heavily involved with two-phase flow instrumentation, parts recognition and materials flow control, glass melter modeling, speech synthesis for the Rubik's Cube-solving robot, computer vision technology, applying desktop workstation technology, and sound level measurement and vibration analysis.

But perhaps Cuta's biggest achievements are his dedicated contributions to the blind community. He is an officer with the Washington Council of the Blind, and has attended numerous American Council of the Blind conferences, where he has been a staunch advocate of better services and rights for the blind.

In the late 1980s, he was the first blind person to take part in NASA's Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and was instrumental in founding the blind program that is now part of the camp's operation.

Cuta volunteers countless hours teaching the blind how to use different computer programs, and is a key figure in Washington's Do-It program, mentoring students. He contributes programming and engineering services for the Evergreen Radio reading service, which is a daily on-the-air reading of a Tri-Cities newspaper.

"We call him 'Fearless Frank,'" said Janice Squires, president of United Blind of Tri-Cities. "He'll go anywhere and do anything. Frank has put his heart and soul into improving the blind community." And his motivational speeches at WCB conventions have inspired many.

Cuta usually begins his talks with, "Most of you are legally blind, but I am illegally blind, because I lost my sight while committing several crimes."

Cuta's varied hobbies, include science fiction, wine tasting, poetry, and collecting computer processors and Scottish Claymore swords. He owns the very first Radio Shack Apple computer, and said that he "has been podcasting for 40-years."

He stays in shape by working out regularly on the Smith machine, a treadmill and a recumbent bicycle. Frank also enjoys fencing with a foil with his wife Judy. Cuta's basement is the home of a sound booth, where he spends time on another hobby as a sound-man, producing folk and bluegrass music.

Although he had regained partial sight for some time, after glaucoma problems a few years ago he is once again totally blind. For the past nine years at Batelle, Cuta's job has entailed computer support for the company's 3,500 staff members.

Frank and his wife (who also works at Batelle) reside out in the country near the Tri-Cities, with Judy's horse and three cats. He said that he returns to Helena occasionally, usually to celebrate the Fourth of July with his brother, Mike.

"Believe it or not, I still love fireworks," he laughed.

CURT SYNNESS was a eighth grader at Helena Junior High at the time of the Mt. Helena explosion in 1966. He can be reached at 449-2150 or e-mail
Curt52s at
(email address written a little odd to hide from web crawlers)