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Hellertown, PA 18055
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Ruth Sutherland

Ruth C. Sutherland (Crabtree)

Tuesday December 17, 1929 - Sunday January 31, 2021
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Ruth Elizabeth Crabtree Sutherland, 91, passed peacefully into her Savior's arms on January 31, 2021 at Westminster Village, Allentown. She was the daughter of the late Daniel C. and Esther (Candage) Crabtree. Born December 17, 1929 at the height of the Great Depression, in Ellsworth, Maine. She moved to Pennsylvania when she was just 14 years old to live with her older brother Daniel and his family. Ruth graduated from Radnor High School in 1948 and was featured in a local paper, as one of the few women on the high school rifle team. She married Hugh Thomas Sutherland, Sr., in January of 1949, in Wayne, PA. Soon after they moved to Saucon Valley (in Bethlehem/Hellertown PA) where she lived most of her adult life. After her children were older, Ruth served for many years as a Lehigh University fraternity cook/house counselor for Psi Epsilon. She was well-known for her amazing apple and pumpkin pies. Ruth was a local artist of some renown, winning best of show for her prints at the 1987 Bethlehem Area Sidewalk Show, presented by the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission. She studied printmaking at Lehigh University and paper making for collages at Bennington College, Vermont. She was Hospitality Chairperson in the Bethlehem Palette Club and a member of the Lehigh Valley Art Alliance. She was also an active member of the Bethlehem Chapter of the NSDAR (John Friend - MA), treasurer, registrar, and chaplain of the former Freemansburg Chapter of the NSDAR, and a member of the Mayflower Society (Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins). In her free time - Ruth self-studied Greek to better understand the Bible and memorized 100 Bible verses to make them a part of her life. She also enjoyed sewing, knitting, crocheting, and was an avid Scrabble player. Ruth richly enjoyed spending summer vacations with her children and grandchildren in Ocean City, NJ, and Western Michigan. Ruth was also a part of several Baptist, Plymouth Brethren and Presbyterian congregations. Most recently, she was a member of Grace Church, Bethlehem. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Throughout her life, she loved her dogs: Princess Pat, Shep, and Jeremy. Ruth had a tenacity for life that was rivaled by few – expressing her love for Christ, family, heritage, and art, everywhere she went.
Ruth is survived by her children; Hugh T. Sutherland, Jr., husband of Mira Tryon, West Chester, Daniel A. Sutherland, husband of Gail (Crosbie) Sutherland, Hellertown, and Rebecca (Sutherland) Van Dyke, M.D., wife of David A. Van Dyke, Ph.D., Hudsonville, MI; seven grandchildren, Daniel R. Van Dyke, husband of Carmen (Brummel) Van Dyke, Elizabeth Grace Van Dyke, Benjamin H. Van Dyke, husband of Allison (Kemp) Van Dyke, Sarah Ruth Van Dyke, Michael H. Sutherland, Rachel Grace (Sutherland) Ovens, wife of Wesley Ovens, and Laurel Emmy Sutherland; and three great-grandchildren, Josiah, Danielle, and Jesse Van Dyke. She is also survived by nieces and nephews.
A private family graveside service will be held in the near future at Union Cemetery, Hellertown. At a later date, a service to celebrate her life will be announced.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Union Cemetery of Hellertown
    Address Not Available


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Jeff Gendel

Posted at 05:37pm
How fortunate were we to have had Ruth in our lives during our formative years at Lehigh. The entire Eta Chapter of Psi Upsilon mourns her loss and fondly remembers the guidance she gave us as young men. Yes, she cooked great meals and cared for our stomachs. But she also had a unique ability to ground us, provide sage words of advice, set us straight when needed. Anyone coming back to the fraternity house after a day of strenuous classes would find a welcoming smile and a deeply caring heart. As we moved onto our adult lives, only then did we truly begin to appreciate her long lasting impact. Our deepest condolences to the entire family.

Jeff Gendel
Lehigh ‘89

Hope Gessner

Posted at 04:12pm
Dear Hugh, Dan, & Becky,
We are so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. We have fond memories of your parents at Grace Gospel Chapel, visiting your home, & eating out together. We miss those times. We are praying for you at this difficult time.
Love, Carolyn & Hope Gessner

Phil Gauffreau

Posted at 12:04pm
I'm so sad to learn of Ruth's passing. As a member of Psi Upsilon at Lehigh (class of 1984), Ruth was an inspiration to us, and so much more than our chef. We loved her wit, her directness, and moral compass. Ruth was part of our extended family, and there are many great memories. I'm sure you'll be hearing from a lot of us, please let us know about your plans for the Celebration of Life, and if we can be of help in any way.

Phil Gauffreau, pgauffreau@verizon.net

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