Obituary: Patricia Smith Sutton
February 4, 2010
Patricia (Pat) Sutton, 79, passed away peacefully at her home in Truckee, Calif., on Jan. 30, 2010, in the comfort of family. Pat is the beloved wife of Robert E. Sutton (Bob); mother to Robert Jr., Keith (Anna) Sutton, Paula Sutton and Eric (Mary) Sutton; grandmother to Matthew Lundbeck, Mark Lundbeck (Ciel) and Aaron Sutton; and great grandmother to Rio and Athena Lundbeck. She came from a family of eight Smith siblings, Hank, Bill (Char), Dick (Barbara), Tom (Jan), Jim (Patty), Sandy (Jim Lindsay) and Denny (Lynn). She also has a cousin Marianne (Ron Oliphant), about 50 nieces and nephews, plus their offspring.
Pat was born Dec. 20, 1930, in Aberdeen, Miss., to Etta and Floyd Smith. She was the second oldest of 8 children. Pat grew up during the Great Depression which resulted in frequent moves. Her family ended up in Myers Flat in Humboldt County, Calif. She excelled as a student at South Fork High School in nearby Miranda. She became a Field Representative for the Junior Statesmen of America, where she acquired leadership skills, knowledge about how government works and how to be an effective citizen and voter. Subsequently, Pat moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where she attended Mills College and UC Berkeley on academic scholarships.
Pat met Robert E. Sutton (Bob), a civil engineer, 60 years ago. They married in 1951 and settled in the Niles area of Fremont. As a young mother of four children, Pat became involved with the League of Women Voters. The family moved to Truckee in 1963, where Bob worked on the construction of I-80 over Donner Summit. The family loved the Truckee area, so once I-80 was built, they decided to stay on and started a paving business and#8212; Robert E. Sutton Company.
Pat dedicated her life to family, business and public service. She served 37 years in public office and worked tirelessly for many community projects. She served on the Truckee Donner Public Utility District Board of Directors for 30 years, Nevada County Board of Supervisors for 4 years, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board for 4 years Local Agency Formation Commission and the Golden Empire Health Council.
Beside being elected to public office, Pat had other activities and accomplishments. She was a member of the Squaw Valley Chapel and#8212; United Church of Christ; founding member of a group that started the Tahoe Pre-school Project; President of the Truckee Elementary School PTA; Girl Scout Neighborhood Chairman; Day Camp and Camporee Director; and Sierra Nevada Girl Scout Council Vice President. She sparked the idea for the Rotary Ice Cream Booth at the Nevada County Fair, helped acquire the west-end beach at Donner Lake and the community swimming pool for the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District and helped acquire the County Library System and Truckee Library. She was a member of citizensand#8217; committees formed by boards and the Chamber of Commerce. She helped gain approval for the Truckee 267/Bypass and renovation of the Truckee Train Depot.
Pat enjoyed many things such as gardening, bird-watching, rock-hounding, shell-collecting, reading and camping. Some of the most memorable family outings that Pat organized were camping trips to Nevada, Death Valley, Mexico, British Columbia, Yosemite, Williams Grove and Meadow Lake, many of which were with the Houlgate family (Jack, Bonnie, Cam, Ryan, Nola and Reagan). Visits to museums, missions, ghost towns, archaeological and paleontological sites were mandatory to educate all of us. Pat loved family get-togethers and Smith Family reunions.
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Pat was good at listening to and helping people who had some problem or issue that they could not resolve themselves. Her door was always open, her patience never ran out. Pat genuinely cared about those around her and worked hard to resolve problems. Her opinion and advice were always important. She will be sorely missed but not forgotten.
A celebration of Patand#8217;s life will be held at the Truckee Community Center 10046 Church Street, in downtown Truckee, on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Pat Sutton Memorial Scholarship for Public Service, in care of Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, 11071 Donner Pass Road Truckee, CA 96161. Donations to Meals on Wheels and/or Tahoe Forest Hospice which helped Pat and her family in her final days would be appreciated.