Helen Kutscher has died from natural causes at age 89. The Catskills Matriarch of the last family-run resort in “the mountains,” Kutsher’s Country Club, welcomed thousands of families to the Catskills with a warm smile, firm handshake and a kiss on the cheek for more than 75 years.
Helen Kutscher came to the Catskills in 1934 when the main building was only a farmhouse. Together with her husband, Milton Kutscher, they built one of the world’s most famous resorts.
According to the Associated Press, “Kutsher’s was known for serving up big portions of prime rib and blintzes and for attracting entertainers like Tony Bennett and Milton Berle. Wilt Chamberlain worked there as a bellhop. It was the sort of big, bustling resort portrayed in the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing.”
Mark Kutsher recalled the personal touch of his mother, who gave gifts, greeting cards and personal notes to guests, staff and even strangers:
“This is how she lived her life. When we walked down the street, she’d say ‘Hi’ to people she didn’t even know.”
Pat Johnson, Kutsher Country Club’s convention service manager since 1976, says this love of people extended equally to everyone. Johnson says, “She would speak to everyone. It didn’t matter if you were a homeless person or a celebrity.”
Helen Kutscher has been living in Philadelphia for the last several years. Helen Kutscher died early Tuesday morning of natural causes after a brief stay in a local hospital. She was age 89, “although she would never tell you her age” says her son.