James R Sutherland

August 9, 1949 ~ September 26, 2019 (age 70)


After a year-long battle with cancer, James Sutherland, 70, passed away on Thursday, September 26, 2019.

James R. Sutherland was born in Superior, Wisconsin to James E. Sutherland and Beverly (Shaw) Sutherland on August 9, 1949. He was a member of the Superior High graduating class of 1967, graduated in 1971 from the University of Wisconsin - Superior with a degree in Elementary Education, and completed his Master’s degree in School Administration in 1979.

Jim began his teaching career in Hartford, WI before moving to Fairchild Elementary where he taught for 10 years and was the principal for the following six years. In 1990, he took the elementary/ middle school principal position at the Fall Creek school district.  In 2004, he took the opportunity for an early retirement and built his dream home on Eagles Nest Lake near Ely, Minnesota.

In 1975, Jim married the love of his life, Susan Ivonen from Chisholm, MN. Together they raised three daughters: Karen (Doug Greely) of Manitou Springs, CO; Kristen (Ian Johnson) of Colorado Springs, CO; and Katie (Justin Kaatz) of Northfield, MN. The family expanded to include four grandkids: James (13), Phoebe (12), Bjorn (9), and Martin (6). Jim and Sue were active in AFS (American Field Service) and opened their home over the years to 17 foreign exchange students.

For 30 years, Jim was a dedicated volunteer firefighter.  He spent 23 years in Fall Creek, where he rose to the rank of assistant chief and 18 years in Eagles Nest Township, where he served several years as chief. In addition to fire chief, Jim also served for 10 years as Eagles Nest Township treasurer. If you knew Jim, you knew he served his community with pride.

Jim was always willing to lend a hand, sit for a late night sauna, join his family and friends for morning coffee or late night campfires, and lead adventures car rides. Jim enjoyed spending time outdoors as a deer hunter, fisherman, and snowmobiler. He loved driving his tractor and could often be seen with a grandchild on his knee letting them “drive” down the road. Nothing pleased Jim more than starting a new project, or seeing his family happy and enjoying life.

Jim will be known for his wit, sense of humor, curiosity of how things work, and extensive knowledge for the world around him. Anyone who knew him experienced his generosity and outgoing nature.

A community memorial celebration will be held on Saturday, October 19 from 2-5 p.m. at the Eagle Nest Township Hall; 1582 Bear Head State Park Road, Ely, Minnesota. Please bring a dish to share. In lieu of flowers or donations, Jim asked to simply spread kindness to others to honor his memory, whether it’s an act of kindness or financial help to those in need. Choose to be kind. That’s what he would do.

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