Erland Cutter photo courtesy of his family

Erland Cutter, a beloved French and Latin teacher at Westbrook High School who encouraged and inspired his students, died Monday after a battle with multiple system atrophy. He was 73.

Mr. Cutter, known as Mr. C, served as the voice of the Blue Blazes, announcing football, basketball and soccer games for more than three decades. When he retired, the broadcast booth at Olmsted Field was named for him.

According to his obituary, which is expected to be published in Sunday’s newspaper, he was an Eagle Scout, a Little League catcher, and played the accordion. He attended Westbrook High School, where he played in a student band and wrote for the former Westbrook American newspaper. He graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 1965.

Mr. Cutter studied French literature at Bowdoin College and graduated in 1969. Soon thereafter, he began a 37-year career teaching French and Latin at his high school alma mater.

He was remembered this week as a positive and engaging teacher who brought out the best in his students. His wife, Judy Cutter, said Wednesday he made a big difference in his students’ lives.

“He used to spend hours on his lesson plans,” she said. “He made the class fun. He loved to see students’ eyes light up when they got it. He would correct tests and make little comments and draw pictures of himself with his mustache. He made teaching so fun.”

News on Facebook of Mr. Cutter’s death had drawn more than 275 comments as of Friday afternoon. In a Facebook message, Westbrook Mayor Michael Foley called him an icon.

“On top of being an amazing family man, teacher, and sports announcer, he was a leader and looked up to by many,” Foley wrote. “His legacy will live on in our community forever.”

Jeffrey Stone, a former student and 1973 graduate, said in an email that Mr. Cutter’s encouragement gave him the confidence to pursue a career in literature and writing.

“Earl was a fantastic teacher, so smart, funny, engaging, irreverent, a true lover of literature and language, who also clearly loved his students,” Stone wrote. “He was definitely the coolest, wittiest teacher at WHS.”

“He was a legend,” his wife said. “I was so proud of him. He was the best.”

Mr. Cutter and his wife celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in June. They raised three children and lived in Westbrook before moving to Gorham about a decade ago.

She reminisced on Tuesday about meeting him in Paris on one of his classes’ French trips. She said they met one night at the famous Lido de Paris.

“We were sitting in the booth and he leaned over to me and said, ‘You have the most beautiful eyes. Has anyone ever told you that?’ That was his line,” his wife recalled. “We had a beautiful life together.”

Mr. Cutter was a devoted family man. His obituary notes trips to Sebago Lake and his love for music and Boston sports teams.

“He loved life,” his wife said. “He never missed any of the kids’ games. He coached the kids in everything. He had all of them for French. He had all their friends. We used to have Super Bowl parties. I would have 30 teens in my basement. He was probably one of the most beloved Westbrook High School teachers ever.”

Mr. Cutter was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy, a rare degenerative neurological disorder that affected his balance, mobility and speech. Despite his physical challenges, he lived with purpose, determination and grit. For the past eight years or so, he met with friends for lunch throughout Cumberland and York counties. The friends call themselves the “out to lunch bunch.”

“It was always a joke how long we would be together before it came up that he was the valedictorian of the Class of 1965,” said Edgar Beem, a longtime friend. “A lot of us used to go down to Deering Ice Cream. We always got a coffee and manned a booth. We would sit on the retaining wall and watch the world go by. Three or four of us got together every week. It was like being back in high school. We were silly, footloose and fancy-free, but now at 65 and 70 years old instead of 15 and 16 years old.”

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