Sutherland, James Rodney Age 86 of Maple Grove, died March 3 surrounded by his children. He was born April 28, 1933, in Hallock, MN, the younger of two sons raised by Pearl and Wesley Sutherland. He grew up on the family farm outside Hallock and attended the Northwest School of Agriculture in Crookston with his brother Harold. Both boys graduated in 1950 and returned to Hallock to farm. Jim met Phyllis Westerberg while she was working as an ice cream scooper at a local Bridgeman's, and they were married in 1952. The couple lived in Fort Lewis, WA, while Jim served in the Army, and moved to Minneapolis in 1955 when Jim enrolled at the U of M's Institute of Technology to study agricultural engineering. He built a career as a respected agribusiness consultant, working with Minnesota growers to develop specialty crops for global markets stretching from the UK to Japan. He was active in a variety of professional groups, including the National Farmers' Direct Marketing Association and the U of M Alumni Association.
Jim and Phyllis were longtime residents of New Hope, where they raised two children. They were active members of Valley Community Presbyterian Church for more than 50 years, with Jim chairing stewardship, finance, and other committees. He sang bass in the church choir, part of a lifelong love of singing that began when he joined his first choir at age 9. Jim was a dedicated friend and colleague, a loving and devoted husband and father, an enthusiastic gardener, a daily reader of the Star-Tribune, and an avid but skeptical follower of the Minnesota Vikings. He will be remembered for his strong faith, kindness, creativity, and hearty laugh.
Jim is survived by his daughter Beth (Joe Grant) of Northfield; son Scott (Amy) of Boston, MA; brother Harold of San Jose, CA; two nieces, one nephew and numerous cousins. He is preceded in death by Phyllis, his wife of nearly 67 years, and his parents. A celebration of life will be held Saturday, March 14, at Valley Community Presbyterian Church, 3100 N. Lilac Drive, Golden Valley, MN. A visitation will be held at 10 a.m., with service at 11 a.m. Those unable to attend can hear a broadcast of the service through the church's telephone ministry by calling 763-220-1455. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Valley Family Stewardship Fund at Valley Community Presbyterian Church. Washburn-McReavy.com Glen Haven Chapel 763-533-8643