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Janet R. Sutherland

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Janet R. SUTHERLAND Janet Sutherland died peacefully on May 9, 2011, leaving behind a rich legacy as an educator, an artist, a writer, and a lifelong working-class partisan and opponent of injustice. Born in Bellingham, Washington, on October 12, 1933, Janet grew up in the farmlands of Whatcom County. She was the Valedictorian of her Ferndale High School class and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Washington, where she also received her Master's Degree in English. In her 41 years as a high school English teacher, Janet made a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of students at Port Townsend (1956-61), Mercer Island (1961-67), and Bellevue's Interlake and Newport High Schools (1967-1997). Newport parents voted her Educator of the Year, and Newport students gave her the Intellectual Motivator Award. An outspoken advocate for high quality public education, Janet and her colleagues in Bellevue developed a district-wide Writing Competency Test that gave each student an individual profile of their strengths and weaknesses to be used as a tool to guide their development as writers and thinkers. Janet wrote many articles on educational topics and co-edited Women Portraits, a Women's Studies textbook in 1976. Janet served as a Negotiator and a Building Representative for many years with the Bellevue Education Association. She opposed funding cutbacks for education throughout her career. Janet was openhanded with time, money, and the home she shared with her longtime partner, Val Carlson. She wrote and edited for the Freedom Socialist newspaper and was a Board member of Red Letter Press, the publishing house of the Freedom Socialist Party, the party to which Janet devoted most of her adult life. A passionate feminist, Janet served on Seattle Radical Women's executive committee and penned innumerable statements, letters to the editor, and press releases until weeks before her death. She was renowned for her brevity and wit in meetings. Janet is survived by her partner Val Carlson; her brothers, David Sutherland of Omaha, Nebraska, and John Sutherland of Brooklyn, New York; her brother-in-law Bill Reeve and nephew Mike Reeve of Bellingham, Washington; her nephew Tim Reeve and great niece Joanne Reeve and great nephew Alan Reeve, of Dana Point, California; numerous extended family members, students, colleagues, and friends. Janet will be missed for her generosity and talents and for her calmness and humor that made hard times bearable and good times better. A public memorial celebrating Janet's life will be held at 2:30pm on July 16, 2011, at New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA. In lieu of flowers, please send remembrances to Red Letter Press, 4710 University Way NE, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98104. Sign Janet's on-line Guest Book at www.Legacy.com.
Published in The Seattle Times on June 5, 2011
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