2014-06-19 / Obituaries

G. Russell Sutherland

Russ Sutherland passed away at his home in Mariposa on June 11, 2014, surrounded by family.

Sutherland is survived by Leone Sutherland, his high school sweetheart and wife of 69 years. He also is survived by sons and daughters-in-law Keith and Nancy Sutherland of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Glenn and Kathy Sutherland of Midpines, five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. Sutherland also leaves behind a sister-in-law and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by one brother, one sister and his parents.

Russ was born in his parents’ home in Waukau, Wisc. in 1923. He attended Foote Rural School (a oneroom schoolhouse) and graduated from Berlin High School. He worked his way through the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His studies were interrupted during World War II by a term of service with the U.S. Navy, serving as an engineering officer aboard a ship in the Pacific. After the war he returned to Wisconsin, where he graduated with honors and received a master’s degree in agricultural engineering.

Sutherland had a long and distinguished career with John Deere & Co. As a design engineer, he was award numerous patents. He was promoted to director of product engineering at the Des Moines plant, and to vice president of engineering and development at corporate headquarters in Moline, Ill. He was one of the Deere company’s best-known engineers, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984.

After retirement in 1987, he and Leone moved to their dream lake home in Bella Vista, Ark., where he served on the board of directors of the property-owners association and enjoyed golfing and boating. In 2000, they moved to Mariposa, where he volunteered for the Mariposa Museum and History Center and was a member of the local American Legion chapter. Russ enjoyed traveling, gardening, working with tools to repair things, and researching his genealogy and Scottish ancestry.

Throughout his 90 year journey, there was one constant: Sutherland’s character. Despite his many achievements, he always has exemplified humility, gentleness, and above all, integrity. He always put family first, despite the many demands of his career. He led and taught with quiet encouragement and by example. His was a life well-lived.

There will be a private memorial service, followed by burial in his native Wisconsin.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the John C. Fremont Hospital Foundation.

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