Online Obituaries for the Troy, Royal Oak, Clawson & Shelby Township MI Area

John D. Sutherland

January 26, 1947 - October 08, 2017

Online Obituaries for the Troy, Royal Oak, Clawson & Shelby Township MI Area

John Darwin Sutherland died Sunday afternoon October 08, 2017 at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan surrounded by his family. He was 70 years old. John was born January 26, 1947 in Youngstown, Ohio and adopted by Jack and Marylou Sutherland.

John is survived by his two daughters, Rebecca and Jennifer Sutherland, four grandkids, Sebastian, Tabitha, Zane, and Daniel sister Elizabeth Dungen, son-in-law Joseph Price and by many other loving family and friends. John is preceded in death by his wife Cathy and parents Jack and Marylou.

John lived a full life traveling the world with his parents and sister as a child and teenager and continued traveling throughout all his life. He married the love of his life, Cathleen Brickley on March, 29, 1969 in Youngstown, Ohio. They were married for 27 years.

John’s last big trip was a drive through Canada, a two week stay with the grandkids, a train ride through Denali National Park and finally a trip through Alaska’s inside passage on the MV Matanuska ferry via the Alaska Marine Highway. It was a “bucket list” trip.  John’s job at Volkswagen of America kept him moving from one side of the country to the other. He eventually settled down in Clawson, Michigan in 1991 and retired from VW in 2004.

He always loved all things transportation: planes – he had a pilot’s license in his youth; boats - he owned several thought out his life; and, of course, trains -  he use to ride his bike up to the railroad tracks and look for old railroad spikes and ties that he would turn into art pieces. After retirement John started volunteering at the Detroit Zoo. One of his favorites was the kangaroo exhibit, where he spent as much time interacting with the kangaroos as he did the visitors. He also took a keen interest in the botanical gardens. Getting to know the master gardeners he would bring home all sorts of flowers and other plants to cultivate. The backyard was turned into a virtual jungle. We all know John slept crazy hours and he used those wondering nights to volunteer at Beaumont Hospital. Most of the time he manned an information desk but he would also tell stories of the maternity ward and the ER. Last but not least we cannot forget about John’s dogs. From Who Knows and Runt to Lilly and Rosie John always had a loyal companion or two with him and he spoiled them with chicken nuggets and endless car rides. They will always been a part of the family.

Funeral Information

There will be a memorial gathering at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Youngstown, Ohio (5400 Market St) on Friday, October 13th from noon – 2PM. The service will be casual per John’s request. He wanted no fuss. So to honor his wishes we will spend the time saying our last good bye’s, telling stories, reminiscing, and catching up with friends and family. For those that want to attend afterwards we will have a family dinner, location to be determined. If you have any pictures of John to share we ask that you bring those.

Donations Information

Donation Information

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Detroit Zoo. (

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Paul Gramer and his staff were responsible for making my father’s funeral exactly as my mother wanted it. They were attentive to our every need. Their support was a source of great comfort at this difficult time.