Westly Joe “Wes” Cuatt, 62, of Albion, was stricken suddenly and passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2020 while visiting the home of his daughter.
Wes was born on August 20, 1957 in Albion to Richard F. and Grace M. (Snow) Cuatt. He grew up in the Deveraux area. He graduated from Springport High School in 1975, then attended Jackson Community College and Kellogg Community College studying Law Enforcement.
Wes became a Deputy Sheriff with the Calhoun County Sheriff Department in 1979. He initially worked in the jail and then as a Road Deputy. In 1990 Wes spearheaded the re-creation of a K9 division for the Calhoun County Sheriff Department. He promoted the idea to the sheriff and the community, successfully raising the necessary funds through community donations of money, goods and resources. Wes then trained to be the department’s K9 officer. He was partnered with K9 Drak on November 24, 1993. K9 Drak was a German Shephard imported from the Czech Republic, who trained with Wes in all aspects of Patrol Work and Narcotics Detection. Drak was K9 certified by the North American Work Dog Association. Drak was Calhoun County Sheriff Department Badge #6-K9.
Together Deputy Cuatt and Drak over the next 10 years worked as partners. They were integral in many arrests by tracking and taking down a suspect and detecting drugs. They did public relations in Calhoun County Schools together over their career. Wes loved Drak. K9 Drak was retired from active duty in 2002 and went home with Wes to enjoy the rest of his life until he passed on January 21, 2004.
Wes became a Certified Cyber Crime Investigator by completing a course in Cyber Crime and Computer Forensics at Eastern Michigan University in 2000. He served as the Cyber Crimes Officer until he retired in 2010 from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office. He was a member of Wayne B. Fitch Lodge Fraternal Order Of Police.
Wes loved his dogs and took them into his home as a family member always.
Wes married his high school sweetheart Tracy Ann Brock on August 29, 1975 at the Parma United Methodist Church. The couple enjoyed a loving and fruitful marriage until Tracy became ill and preceded Wes in death on July 10, 2013.
Wes was blessed to be lucky in love again, and married Janet E. (Tower) Adams on September 27, 2015. Even though only a short time, again he enjoyed a loving, fruitful marriage. Wes and Janet would regularly visit the Calhoun County Medical Care Facility with their dogs for therapy for the residents. They made many friends there so they had their marriage ceremony there so that the residents could attend! A good time was had by all!
He was a Certified Aikido instructor and a member of the Aikido Institute of Michigan. He became interested in Aikido in the late 1990’s and began taking classes. He later served as an Aikido instructor and enjoyed his students learning something he loved. Wes lived by a primary Aikido principle of living life with a forward intent and the courage behind it.
He enjoyed line dancing and ball room dancing (with Tracy providing the initial training and Janet continuing the tradition of his beloved ball room dancing with him!). Wes enjoyed the outdoors, hunting and fly fishing. Trips to the Cuatt family cottage near Cedarville created years of wonderful memories for him and his family. After his marriage to Janet they would visit her family’s cabin near Kalkaska which he grew to love due to the great company there and excellent fly fishing rivers nearby!
Surviving are his wife Janet, daughter Joann (Steven) Wendling of Albion and son Rich (Jen) Cuatt of Albion; 2 grandchildren Andrew Dotson and Hannah Dotson; brother Douglas I. (Dianne) Cuatt of Charlotte; nieces and nephews.
Besides his first wife Tracy, he was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers James Richard Cuatt and Robert Charles Cuatt.
The family will gather with friends and family at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US HWY 27 N, Marshall, MI 49068 on Friday 5PM-8PM. A Celebration of Wes’s Life will be held at the funeral home Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1:30PM with Rev. Tim Smothers of 7th Day Baptist Church as celebrant. Interment will follow at Springport Cemetery next to Tracy, with Drak being buried with him.
A fellowship to continue to remember Wes will be held following committal back at the funeral home reception hall.
The family suggests you remember Wes with a memorial contribution to Calhoun County Sheriff K9 Program. Please make checks payable to them and either leave it at the funeral home or mail it to Craig Kempf, P.O. Box 519, Marshall, MI 49068 or the Seiwa Dojo, Aikido Institute of Michigan, 551 Michigan Avenue, Battle Creek, MI 49014.
To leave the family a message visit https://www.kempffuneralhome.com
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.
Calhoun County Sheriff K9 Program
c/o Craig Kempf, P.O.Box 519, Marshall MI 49068
Seiwa Dojo, Aikido Institute of Michigan
551 E. Michigan Avenue, Battle Creek MI 49014