Your Neighbor: Meet David Rutter

Published 12:05 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier

David Rutter grew up in the South Shore of Long Island in New York. Living in a cul-de-sac with his two older brothers, Rutter enjoyed the many activities afforded to him. “Our neighborhood was referred to as Camelot since a lot of the homes in the community were old estates. There was never a dull moment living near the beach club on the Atlantic beaches. It was our babysitter,” Rutter said with a laugh. With lots of children in the neighborhood, he and his brothers played lots of golf, tennis and squash. At school, Rutter played football, baseball and basketball.

Like many of his friends and brothers, Rutter went to a prep school for high school. “My first semester at Trinity-Pawling I was nervous. However, after that I enjoyed it tremendously. I still keep in touch with a close group of friends from my time there,” Rutter said. Upon graduation Rutter attended a two-year college, before earning his degree from Hofstra University in general management. “I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do after I graduated. I knew I needed to get a job, and when a family friend offered me one at their boutique store, J. Press in Manhattan, I gladly accepted it,” Rutter said. “I stayed there for about five years learning the ins and outs of the business.”

Rutter tried various other jobs, however, his interest in retail remained steadfast. After moving to Chicago, he worked in positions that included the production component and then at a Polo store. “At that time Polo was a franchise, and I worked for one that was comprised of three stores,” Rutter said. “In that position, what I enjoyed the most was meeting people and interacting with them. At the end of the day, I didn’t have to bring my work home with me, which was nice.” What made Rutter’s work life balance especially appealing, was that he had three children during his 25 years living in Chicago.
His children, Nate (36), Alec (33), and Annie (30) were born while he lived in Illinois. “One child was great, two was manageable and three was a challenge,” Rutter said with a laugh. “I’m very proud of my children. They had many interests and activities as children and have grown up to do great things for their communities.”

After spending time raising children in Chicago, Rutter and his family moved to Maine. “I tried pharmaceutical sales for a bit and then went back to a wonderful store, David Wood Clothiers, where I stayed for about five years,” Rutter said. “I remained in Portland until about 10 years ago. My mother had moved to the Winston-Salem area 40 years ago, and I wanted to come take care of her in her final years. My brother was also down here. Before my mom passed away, we spent countless hours knitting together. She was an avid knitter, and I had learned initially in elementary school, but hadn’t done it since that time frame. We began knitting hats for the Derrick Davis Cancer Center at the hospital. Some of the notes we received from patients were so touching. We obviously didn’t do it for the recognition but feeling the impact from them knowing that someone cared during their difficult time meant a lot to both of us,” Rutter said.

Each knitting project can take about 40 hours of work for Rutter. “Most recently I made a hat for my ex-mother-in-law who is bravely fighting cancer. And now I’m making baby blankets for my grandchildren. My first granddaughter was born five months ago, and now I’m going to be a grandfather to a grandson this July. I’ll have two very special people to make things for,” Rutter said. “I learned from my parents how nice it feels to give back without expectations. Whether volunteering at Habitat for Humanity or knitting a blanket or hat for someone, I have always gotten so much more back than I have given.”