John Suttie

Suttie, John W.

GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. - John W. Suttie, Professor Emeritus, age 86, passed away on Dec. 21, 2020, in Green Valley, Ariz. Born in LaCrosse, Wis., John was raised on his family's dairy farm. As a child, he attended a one-room school house until high school in Galesville. In 1955, he married Leone Stenberg, and they settled in Madison while he earned his degrees.

John received his B.S, M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was an NIH Postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, England, before returning to Madison in 1961 to join the University of Wisconsin faculty in Biochemistry. His research focused on the metabolism, action, and nutritional significance of Vitamin K. He rose through the ranks to become the Katherine Berns Van Donk Steenbock Professor in Nutrition and Director of the Center for Coagulation Research. Dr. Suttie chaired the Department of Nutritional Sciences from 1988 to 1997. He served as President of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences (ASNS) and Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Nutrition. He was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry 1981-1986.

Suttie received the 1974 Mead Johnson Award, the 1980 Osborne and Mendel Award, and the 2004 Conrad Elvehjem Award of the ASNS, The ARS Atwater Lectureship, and the 2002 Bristol Myers-Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Nutrition Research. In 1996, Dr. Suttie was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

He served as Chairman of the Board of Experimental Biology, President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), and was a member of the NRC's Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, the FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee, Public Policy Committees of the ASNS, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the USDA/NAREEE Advisory Board, ILSA Food, Nutrition and Safety Committee, and the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. He aimed to promote the public knowledge of science and to establish and maintain a stable base of funding for the biological sciences. He retired in 2002 to serve as Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Throughout his career, he mentored numerous graduate students who remembered him as they launched their own research and careers in biochemistry and nutritional sciences.

The Sutties were long time members of Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison, where John served on the church council and directed a building project. They have been loyal Badger boosters and also enjoyed golf and many friendships at Blackhawk Country Club. John and Leone spent semi-retirement years as snowbirds and moved to Green Valley, Ariz., permanently in 2017.

John was preceded in death by his parents, William Vilas Suttie and Emma Rindahl Suttie. He is survived by his wife, Leone; two children, Joan (Blake) Iserman and Collin (Lisa) Suttie; four grandchildren, Martha Iserman, Kevin Iserman, Lauren (Andrew) Walters and Kara Suttie; his brother, Bill Suttie; sister, Ruth Hoff; along with nieces and nephews in Wisconsin.

Memorials may be made to the John and Leone Suttie Nutritional Sciences Fund at or the University of Wisconsin Foundation, 1848 University Ave., Madison, WI 53726.

John loved to entertain and was a great storyteller, regaling us with his adventures home and abroad. We will all miss the "Wily Fox" beating us at games, with elation in his voice and a grin on his face as he announced his "ah-ha" moment to his vanquished foes. He is fondly remembered by his children. He was actively involved and interested in their personal activities, despite his busy work and travel schedule. He will be greatly missed.

"John, I am so grateful for the happiness we found and for the wonderful life we shared."

Published by on Jan. 3, 2021.
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7 Entries
Darold Drew
February 3, 2021
We treasure the friendship of John and Leone. Both through Bethel Lutheran Church and through our interactions in the halls of the biochemistry building. I feel fortunate to have shared many bird hunting forays with John and Hector DeLuca. Those memories are for sure bringing a smile to John's face right now. Oh my, how about KP Link just down the hall? Remember John being the quarterback to the biochem touch football team?
Burt Olson
January 25, 2021
Dr. Suttie was my professor when I took Introductory Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Luckily he probably didn't remember me as I got a solid C and showed little promise as a scientist. I just wanted to be a dietitian and no longer milk cows. I also grew up on a dairy farm and proceeded to get BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Suttie was a mentor to my advisor, Dr. Judith Marlett and always supported our research. I took a job at the University of Minnesota and would run into Dr. Suttie at scientific meetings and he would always have time to sit down and discuss the Badgers, science, life, kids, and how great the University of Wisconsin was to allow farm kids to become famous scientists. Although his golf game is much better than mine. Thanks to his family for sharing him with the nutrition community.
Joanne Slavin
January 22, 2021
This is to offer a respectful remembrance of Prof. John W. Suttie. A minute ago, I learned that Prof. Suttie had taken the ultimate journey. This news is almost unbearable to me, right now. In the years 1980-1984, I worked in Prof. Suttie's laboratory, and my job was to purify an enzyme called, vitamin K-dependent carboxylase. I succeeded in purifying it by 35-fold, but this did not result in complete purification. In later years, Prof. Suttie used techniques of molecular biology to achieve 100% purity of this enzyme and, as a result, he was awarded membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Attached is a photo of me from that era (1980-1984). At an earlier time, I got my Ph.D. in biochemistry at U.C. Berkeley, where I also worked on vitamin research. Prof. Suttie's lab was the most dedicated, most friendly, and most scientifically committed laboratory where I ever worked, during the past 40 years. Prof. Suttie's legacy has been extended by his many employees, who have led successful careers in academia, in federal government (Nat'l. Inst. of Health), and in patent law.
Tom Brody, Ph.D.
January 10, 2021
My deepest sympathies on Dr. Suttie's death. I had the honor of working with him when he led FASEB. He was invariable a thoughtful, passionate and effective advocate for biomedical research.
Tony Mazzaschi
January 6, 2021
So sorry for your loss. I'll always remember playing golf with John on Scottish links.
Brian Karlovich
January 4, 2021
What a great person, so fun to be around. Had many enjoyable rounds of golf. I was in his frist year of teaching biochemistry at UW-Madison. Now you'll hit them long and straight John. Pleasure to be on this ride with you. RIP. Daryl
Dawn and Daryl Lund
January 3, 2021
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