Obituary- Griswold L. "Bill" Sutherland |

Obituary- Griswold L. "Bill" Sutherland

Memorial services will be Aug. 31 for Griswold L. “Bill” Sutherland, who died Aug. 5, 2001, at San Mateo, Calif., following a 15-year struggle with severe back pain resulting from a fall in 1986. He was 82.

Mr. Sutherland was born Nov. 7, 1918, at Oakland, Calif. His summers from 1936 to 1939 were spent camping at Zephyr Cove, Nev., with his mother. He had various jobs there, such as stone mason and beach cleaner and these visits started his life-long love of Tahoe. He attended the University of California, Berkeley from 1937 to 1939. In 1940 he attended Boeing School of Aeronautics, and was recruited by United Air Lines and trained at Tracy, Calif., in 1941. A pilot for United from 1942 to 1978, he loved his job and was very proud of his 37 years with the airline.

Mr. Sutherland was a third generation native of California and a descendent of Hiram Bingham, discoverer of Machu Picchu. The Bingham family were the first missionaries in the Hawaiian Islands. Mr. Sutherland spent eight years of his life in Hawaii. He was a 46-year resident of Burlingame Hills and Hillsborough, Calif., and had maintained a second home at South Lake Tahoe since 1948. From 1948 to 1950 he commuted to Tahoe on his days off in a small plane and would buzz the cabin and his wife would then pick him up at Tahoe’s airstrip, a cow pasture across from the old Tahoe Villages. During the big winter of 1951-’52, on his days off, he built and operated two ski rope tows on the upper portion of Ski Run Boulevard. In 1953 he and his father-in-law built their new Tahoe home – a redwood flattop on a knoll on what is now Needle Peak Road. In 1954 he sold the Ski Run rope tow business. The new owner ran it for one year and then started Heavenly Ski area. Sutherland and his wife, Hedy, brought a lot in Tahoe Keys in 1973, and in 1979 they acquired a building permit, one of 200 granted by lottery by the city of South Lake Tahoe. The house, which was designed by Mr. Sutherland, was completed in 1983 and has been enjoyed by his family until the present.

Mr. Sutherland enjoyed a full and useful life flying, water and snow skiing, boating, playing tennis and sharing all this with his wife, children, grandchildren and many friends. He was always busy building and remodeling his home, handcrafting furniture and working in his home shop. He loved Tahoe – the celebrity shows in the 1950s through 1970s, and playing games in the evening with his children and grandchildren. He was a member of the Burlingame Rotary Club and enjoyed “making up” at the South Tahoe Rotary Club. He made many speeches for United Airlines at Rotary clubs and other organizations. His family will lovingly remember his patience, generosity, humor, wisdom, strong work ethic, tolerance and compassionate good-will to all. He was a rock of stability for his family and will be greatly missed.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Hedy Sutherland of San Mateo and South Lake Tahoe; daughter and son-in-law, Joy and Rod Smith of Gardnerville, Nev.; son, John Sutherland of Camino, Calif.; grandsons, Cal Jackson, Jake and Jef Sutherland and Will and Matt Whipple; and sister, Sylvia Sutherland of Oregon.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Aug. 31 at Burlingame Presbyterian Church, Burlingame, Calif. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be sent to Marty Welch Foundation, c/o Burlingame Rotary Club, P.O. Box 323, Burlingame, CA 94011 or First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame Memorial Fund, 1500 Easton Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010.

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