Col. John Lewis Sutherland, age 76, passed into the arms of God on Monday, April 14, 2014. John was born August 30, 1937 to parents Alice and Roy Sutherland in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. He was preceded in death by his parents, baby sister, Sally, and daughter Brooke. Survivors include a brother, Thomas Sutherland, (Maria), a daughter, Suzanne, a grandson, Jon-Carlos Vega and his family of California, and his loving wife of twenty-eight years, Jo Ann. A graduate of Harrodsburg High School and the University of Kentucky (Political Science major and Sigma Nu Fraternity), he later graduated from the United States Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
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John began his insurance career in 1966 having formed Sutherland Insurance Company and with Traveler's Insurance, moved to Houston, Texas. He was already serving his country in the U.S. Army. In his final years he combined selling Medicare supplement packages to senior citizen and serving the U.S. Army Reserves. In total active army and reserves, John served over 37 years, attaining the rank of Colonel, serving as commander of the 75th MAC in Houston, and was called to duty during Desert Storm. He and his wife Jo Ann served as officers in the ROA and ROAL he as Texas State President (ROA) and Jo Ann as Houston ROAL President and Texas State Chaplain. They served as host and hostess of the ROA/ROAL National Convention held in Houston and John received the honor of the Meritorious Service Award for outstanding performance of duty.
John was of great service to his community as well and most of all to his beloved church-Grace Presbyterian Church where he and Jo Ann became members on Easter Sunday in 1986. There John served as Elder and head usher and participated on numerous committee such as STC, Worship, Music, Missions and Interfaith Service Teams. He loved the Encore Choir, the "Gathering", vacation Bible School and Special Needs Camps (using his musical talents) and Project 180. He was a Stephen Minister and Stephen Leader and Grace honored him with a Proclamation of thanks for his service to church and community. John also received several President's (USA) Volunteer Service Awards.
In the community John had been a Rotarian and served with Jo Ann at West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM). He was proud to be a Life Member and Lifetime Committeeman with the Houston Lifestock Show and Rodeo for 32 years on the Breeders Greeters Committee.
Colonel John loved serving others. A true Christian "people person", he was known for his musical abilities, writings, oratory gifts, leather crafts, woodworking, tailoring, and compassion for others.
Special thanks go out to the Family of Grace, the Clergy, doctors and nurses, Vitas Hospice, His beloved Band of Brothers, and the Lakeside Women's Club. Very special recognition goes to Dr. Rachel Theriault, M.D. Anderson (Katy-Oncology), the wonderful neighbors (The Gross and Hadley Families), The Elizabeth McGee family, Ann and Bill McIntire, Linda and John Wolfe, Kay and Barry Thompson, Mrs. Mary Ann Jackson, and Ms. Nancy Reed.
In lieu of flowers, remember Grace Presbyterian Church, the Gathering, the Encore Ministry, the music program, or West Houston Assistance Ministries.
Services will be held at the Houston National Cemetery (military) on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 2:30pm, with the Rev. Dr. Michael Fry and Chaplain Jim Mayer (Colonel USAR, 75th MAC) officiating, and a memorial service at Grace Presbyterian Church on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 11:00 am in the sanctuary with The Rev. Sam Knight, The Rev. Dr. Michael Fry, and Chaplain Jim Mayer officiating.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Apr. 22, 2014