Robert E. "Bob" Sutton
Sutton, Robert E. "Bob" Age 79. Passed away on March 19, 2016, of advanced Parkinson's disease. He was preceded in death by his father, Francis Sutton, mother Alva Massey, and former wife, Paula (Gavin) Sutton. He is survived by his longtime beloved companion, Irene Walther, four children, Chris, Tierney, and twins Damon and Gregory, two daughters-in-law, Liz Sutton and Genny Alvarez, four grandchildren, and his step-siblings Richard and Kay. Bob had great admiration and affection for his talented and accomplished children, and his spirited grandchildren. A native of Denver, Colorado, he graduated from Regis College, and attended Marquette University Law School on scholarship, graduating in 1960. After law school, he served in the United States Air Force as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General's Office. He returned to Wisconsin where he practiced as a trial lawyer in the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office and the Attorney General's Office. From 1970 until a few years ago he was in private practice, both solo and successively in partnership with attorneys Harry Samson and Harold Nash, Robert Friebert, Allen Samson, John Finerty, and Walter Kelly. Bob was a skilled and colorful, old-fashioned trial lawyer who loved the human drama of the courtroom and both criminal and civil jury trials. His practice enjoyed several high-profile cases, including prosecuting the macabre serial killer Ed Gein, establishing attorneys' First Amendment right to advertise their services in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, defending DeRance Foundation Catholic philanthropist Harry G. John, challenging racial segregation in the Milwaukee Elks Club, and persistently challenging inhumane conditions in the old Milwaukee County Jail. Along with the late Bill Coffey, the late Bob Friebert, and Jim Shellow, he was a founder of the original Lawyers Committee of the Wisconsin Civil Liberties Union and served for many years as an ACLU Cooperating Attorney. He detested discrimination and over the years represented minority clients in employment cases. An extroverted raconteur, Bob was known for the gift of wit, the practice of what he smilingly called "Irish hyperbole," and a sometimes gruff demeanor beneath which lay a soft heart for those marginalized in the social order and for the follies and losses of his fellow humans. Bob loved movies, jazz music, books, travel and sports, was an inveterate Milwaukee baseball fan from the old Milwaukee Braves to today's Brewers, even going late in life and slowed by Parkinson's to his seat behind third base in Miller Park. He was a sharp and entertaining presence at the poker table and was drawn to the beauty and challenge of horse racing, at both Arlington and Saratoga racetracks, astutely handicapping his share of winners and mourning the inevitable disappointments. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at the Church of the Gesu, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at 11AM, preceded by a visitation there beginning at 9:30AM and Military Honors at the conclusion of Mass. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, P.O. Box 5018, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5018, or The Wisconsin Parkinson Association, 945 N. 12th St., Suite 4602, Milwaukee, WI 53233. Brett Funeral Home (414) 342-0692
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Published by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Mar. 23, 2016.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Mar
30
Visitation
9:30a.m.
Church of the Gesu
1145 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mar
30
Mass of Christian Burial
11:00a.m.
Church of the Gesu
1145 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Funeral services provided by:
Brett Funeral Home
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Only this morning did I learn of Bob's passing by the obituary forwarded by a family member. On behalf of our family, especially my late brother E.L. (Ed), I express our condolences to Bob's immediate and extended family. E.L. and Bob's friendship originated at Regis College. The text of the obituary captures well the unique, lively, and great persona of Bob. Bob spent many a day and night at our home during his years at Regis, and his friendship with my brother and our family transcended the boundaries of time. During a summer's stay at our house while working in Chicago, I recall my brother and Bob, on many late nights discussing and arguing philosophy, politics, religion, and whatever else happened to pop up at the time, and then planning the activities for that evening which had yet to really begin. His laugh was contagious, and his spirit was adventuresome. When my brother passed away Bob was very helpful to and supportive of our families. Please know that Bob and your families are in my thoughts and prayers, especially at this difficult time.

Patrick Moorhead
Deerfield, Il
PATRICK MOORHEAD
January 10, 2017
PATRICK MOORHEAD
January 10, 2017
Bob taught me so much about being a lawyer when I became a lawyer at middle age. He was also a tremendous support to me in a very important lawsuit. I am sorry he is gone. He was a good person. I am confident he is enjoying a happy new life in this season of resurrection, which assures us that death is not the final conqueror of anyone, let alone a person like Bob Sutton. My condolences to dear Irene.
Marjorie Maguire
March 29, 2016
I am sorry to hear this. Bob took on cases no one else would. That was to his credit. I remember working on civil rights cases with him. Those were some fun days. My condolences to his family. RIP Bob.
Nick Zales
March 25, 2016
Deepest sympathy to the family of a great lawyer and human being. Bob and I successfully overturned Wisconsin's criminal Change of Venue law in the US Supreme Court in the late l960"s. He was a zealous advocate of the greatest intelligence and fought for the underdog. As a friend, very loyal and extremely entertaining, with a unique personality and sense of humor.
Thomas Jacobson
March 23, 2016
Rest in peace, Bob.
I have many good memories of my times with Bob: at the early ACLU Cooperating Attorney lunch meetings at Nino's Steakhouse, where he and Bob Friebert would "hold court," mingling their exquisite humor with the serious business of deciding which cases to pursue for disadvantaged persons seeking justice; helping him, when I shared office space with him, locate client files, from the seeming hundreds of choices neatly stacked on the floor in a large circle around his desk (his preferred filing system); and commiserating with him when(on occasion)he lost a trial or hearing(Bob, the consummate trial lawyer, truly hated to lose any case). Bob opened his office to me when tragedy struck our family, and required that my wife, and I and our kids abandon our plans to live in Portland, Oregon, and that we re-establish ourselves here in Milwaukee. I am forever indebted.

Jim Walrath
March 23, 2016
Offering our deepest sympathies at this time.
The Staff of Brett Funeral Home
March 23, 2016