Mary Evans Sutton, 91
Mary Evans Sutton, 91, of Canton Township, Sun City West, Ariz., and Allegan, died Saturday, May 10, following a life-altering struggle with vascular dementia.
Mary was born April 21, 1923, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Wilson and Lillis (Oakes) Evans; however, she spent most of her childhood in Detroit and Ypsilanti. She graduated from Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing as a registered nurse in 1946, spending the last year as a cadet in the Army Nurse Corps in Battle Creek.
Mary worked in many roles throughout her long professional career-labor and delivery, pediatrics, adult medicine, office practice, and in extended care facilities. Following retirement, she spent countless hours volunteering at Sun Health in Arizona and Allegan General Hospital in Allegan.
In 1946, she married Gerald (Bud to some, Jerry to others) Sutton in Canton Township, following a two-year letter correspondence prearranged by his mother and her aunt, while Bud was in the Army. They fell in love and were engaged before they ever met, and spent the remainder of their lives giddy with love, holding hands and doting on each other always.
After spending the first half of their lives in Michigan, Mary and Jerry spent many happy retirement years in Arizona where they enjoyed the warm sun and playing golf with their friends. Mary wove a deeply-patterned and richly-stitched life.
Candies (in the red glass container) and homemade, fiber-filled cookies (in the blue jar) always awaited guests and grandchildren. She set a beautiful Sunday table, proudly displaying family heirloom china, linens, silver and crystal, for which she had developed a deep affection for after working in her aunt and uncle's china shop as a young woman.
She was also proud of, and passionate about (aka, obsessed with) keeping house and home-famous in the family for her "unnatural thrill for clean windows."
She completed crossword puzzles daily for as long as we can remember, usually before she had finished breakfast, thinking that it would stave off Alzheimer's. She loved reading the newspaper, especially in order to clip coupons and recipes, often finding of interest something using spiced or candied nuts, or anything into which she could slip a secret, nutritious ingredient, like parsley or wheat germ.
She had a fondness for watching Lawrence Welk; listening to the Jackie Gleason Orchestra, Perry Como, K.D. Lang and Norah Jones; singing good old Methodist hymns; and the organ, which she used to play with verve.
Mary loved Michigan soil and tomatoes, as well her Arizona citrus trees. Her extended family and constant companions were her houseplants, ever cared for by her experienced green thumbs; always trimming, re-rooting, re-potting and sharing with friends and family living in various places across the country.
Among the last of the veteran- and depression-era members, she counted every dime; spending very carefully, splurging rarely and dutifully making sure to waste not. She was among the first recyclers and washers of used aluminum foil, we are sure.
She liked to look pretty, decorated in jewelry and colorful scarves. She was an accomplished seamstress, sewing up until just a few months before her passing. If you keep a sharp eye, you will find Mary's handy work everywhere-just look for walkers or hospital beds with small to large bags decorated with pretty buttons or swag.
Nothing reflected her journey to and through dementia better than her sewing and crocheting-from flowing, organized and orderly to a tangled mess of button-bombed and road-rage stitched-all beautiful all along the way the dementia-poetry path. A tapestry of gifts from a woman who lived for so long.
Mary is survived by her three daughters, Shirley Sutton-Rop of Allegan, Jill Sutton of Glendale, Ariz., and Denise Sutton of Allen Park; seven grandchildren, Liza (Scot) Rumery of Allegan, Billy (Kristen) Shellenbarger of Royal Oak, Laura Niemi (Pat LaGrego) of Portland, Ore., Brandon Niemi of Phoenix, Ariz., Sydney Sutton-Liswith of Los Angeles, Calif., Lane Sutton-Liswith of Tucson, Ariz. and Elizabeth Moosekian of Allen Park; one great-grandchild Luna Belle of Allegan; and a niece and two nephews, Judy (Evans) Swanson, Jim Evans and Ken Evans.
She was preceded in death by her husband Jerry; brother James; sister Dorothy; sisters-in-law, Shirley and Betty; son-in-law Charles; and by a dear "sister"-in-law Mary Lou Bailey.
Cremation has taken place. Mary's ashes will be co-mingled with Jerry's so they can carry on their love affair/embrace and dance for eternity. They will be buried in Sheldon Cemetery, Canton, where there will be a private family celebration of their lives.
If you wish to remember Mary, contributions can be made in her name to the Allegan General Hospital Foundation, Wings of Hope Hospice or to Allegan County Medical Care Community.
Arrangements were provided by Gorden Funeral Residence, Allegan Chapel, www.gordenfuneral.com.