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WWII Vet, Active Community Member Robert Sutherland, 89

Chairman and member of a number of community organizations, including Naugatuck High School Scholarship Fund and Waterbury Hospital.

Robert Sutherland. Contributed Photo
Robert Sutherland. Contributed Photo
A remarkable gentleman of integrity, common sense, caring, humor and compassion, Robert C. Sutherland passed away suddenly at his home on Saturday, April 26, 2014. Bob, married for 65 years in March to Jeanne “Jimmie” S. Sutherland, has been a respected and active resident of the Naugatuck community and greater Waterbury area for most of his life. His amazing work ethic and devotion has provided unending inspiration to his family and the community at large.

Bob was born at Waterbury Hospital Feb. 25, 1925, the second son of John M. and Belle O. Sutherland. He attended Salem School and was graduated from Naugatuck High School in 1942. Following 3 years in the United States Army Air Force during WW II, he returned to and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance. Bob returned to Naugatuck in 1948 to join his father, John M. Sutherland, in the family’s insurance business, John M. Sutherland, Inc., a company Bob lead until its acquisition by the Naugatuck Savings Bank in 2005. He was currently Vice Chairman of Ion Insurance. Bob earned the professional designation of Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter and has been honored as a past president of the Connecticut Chapter. Over the years, he served on the advisory boards of several insurance companies and was a past president of the Waterbury Association of Insurance Agents.   

Bob was a devoted lifelong member of the Naugatuck Congregational Church, where he served as treasurer for over 30 years. In 1991, he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by his fellow Rotarians in recognition of his exemplary community service. He is a past president of the Naugatuck Rotary Club and a former Chairman of the Naugatuck Rotary Foundation. His community involvement included service on the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, from which he received the Lewis A Dibble Sr. Award in 1997 for his years of community service. He was chairman for many years of the Naugatuck service unit of the Salvation Army.  

He was presently chairman of the Naugatuck High School Scholarship Fund, and a member of the Waterbury Hospital Pension and Investment Committee. He served Waterbury Hospital and its subsidiaries and affiliates for many years, holding various positions including Director & Chairman of the Hospital and of the Greater Waterbury Health Network, Inc. Bob retired as Senior Trustee of the Naugatuck Savings Bank in 1997. He was an original member of the Naugatuck Advisory Board of the Waterbury National Bank, and an advisory board member of the Council Bank.  

At the time of his death, he was president and trustee of the Grove Cemetery Association and held membership in numerous community service organizations and clubs including the Naugatuck Historical Society, Naugatuck Lodge #967 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Post 17, American Legion, St Andrew’s Society, University Club of Waterbury and Waterbury County Club. He was a 50-year member of Shepherd Salem Lodge #78 A.F. & A.M; The Scottish Rite Bodies — Valley of Waterbury: Doric Lodge of Perfection; Ionic Council-Princes of Jerusalem and Corinthian Chapter-Rose Croix; The York Rite Bodies: Cyrus Chapter #45, Royal Arch Masons of Torrington; Buel Council #20, Royal & Select Masters of Litchfield and New Haven Commandery, No. 2, Knights Templar, and the Triangle Guard Assoc. both of New Haven; the Lafayette Consistory, 32 Degree, Valley of Bridgeport; The Sphinx  Shriners, of Newington; the Dimaryp Court #66, Royal Order of Jesters and the Nutmeg Billiken Club.

He and his wife Jimmie are the proud parents of two sons and a daughter, Scott M. Sutherland (Jean Skrupa Sutherland) of Middlebury, R. Craig Sutherland, Jr. (Elizabeth Hurley Sutherland) of Basking Ridge, NJ, and Lizanne S. Mulligan (Arthur J. Mulligan) of Southbury; and grandchildren Christopher, Ian, Kyle, Meaghan, William, R. Andrew (Drew), and Elizabeth (Elle) Sutherland and Courtney (fiancé James Whitelocke) and Kendall Mulligan; three step-grandchildren, Sarah Dudley (Luke Dudley) and Kate (Thomas Mann) and Jeffrey Meeker (fiancée Megan Caldwell); and two great-grandchildren, Sierra and Westwood Sutherland. He is also survived by a brother, John M. Sutherland, Jr. of Worcester, Mass., and a sister, Jean S. Gerrish of Wakefield, RI, and a sister-in-law, Lucille S. Reel of Columbus, NJ, and several nieces and nephews.    

Funeral arrangements will be at the convenience of the family; a memorial celebration will be planned at a later date.

The Alderson Funeral Home of Naugatuck, 201 Meadow St. is assisting the family with all the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in memory of Bob to the Naugatuck Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 484, Naugatuck, 06770-0484; The United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, P.O. Box 209, Naugatuck, 06770-0209 or the Salvation Army, 74 Central Ave, Waterbury. 06702.

For further information or to send an email condolence, go to www.aldersonfuneralhomes.com.

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