Branching Out 1997

Spring 1997

Grand River Branch 

Marion Irene Sutherland, UE 

Marion Sutherland, a charter member of the Grand River Branch, died 13 October 1996, in Paris, Ontario.

Marion was born on 6 July 1915, in Galt, Ontario, the second daughter of Carl and Margaret Smith of South Dumfries.  Her childhood was spent on the family farm, Spruce Knoll, where her love of family was nurtured by her mother.  One of Marion’s fondest memories was in 1992 when she visited Kilravock Castle, ancestral home of Clan Rose, of which her mother had so often spoken. 

It was, however, through her father’s family that she came to love family history. Marion was successful in tracing her ancestry back to the American Loyalist, Harmanous House and thus qualified herself, her children and her grandchildren as full-fledged members of the UELAC.  This led her to study the life and times of her ancestors and their many contributions to the development of this part of Ontario. 

Marion married Alex Sutherland in 1941 and moved to Dunveen Farm on the 5th concession of South Dumfries, where, over the next eleven years they were blessed with five children; Alex, Rose Marie, Donald, Janet and George. 

In spite of having her hands full raising a growing family, Marion also developed a passion for Dunveen.  She loved the Ayrshire dairy herd and the farm’s Belgian horses. Once again, Marion showed her determination and penchant for perfection as she worked in the background, preparing the show cattle, polishing the harness and doing the multitude of mundane tasks which led to so many championships at Ontario fall fairs.  She also proved that she had an eye for good cows when, in 1954, she placed 4th out of more than 71,000 contestants in the prestigious Hoard’s Dairyman Cow Judging Contest. 

Marion believed in helping others and doing her share.  In 1987 she received the Volunteer Service Award from the Ministry of Citizenship & Culture. She spent many years volunteering at the Willet Hospital in Paris and with `Meals on Wheels’.  But it was her work with the United Empire Loyalists that brought her the greatest pleasures.  Of the many capacities in which she served, being Historian was her favourite. 

Doris Lemon of the Grand River Branch described Marion’s contribution with these words: “The Association’s mandate is to `preserve and promote Canadian, and especially Loyalist history’. As the Branch Archivist and Historian, Marion more than filled this mandate.  Her dedication and care for our records exemplified the best of Loyalism. Her love of her family history and knowledge and appreciation of local history were well known and much appreciated by all at our meetings when she shared some special and delightful aspect of our history.” 

Family was always the centre of Marion’s universe.  It would give her the greatest pleasure to know that her dedication to the Loyalist cause will be continued by her nephew, Jim Sweet, who has agreed to become the Archivist and Historian for the Grand River Branch.  By doing so, perhaps he has paid her the greatest compliment of all.

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