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Saturday July 22, 2017

J. Neil Sutherland

After a brief illness, on 15 July, 2017, at Richmond in his 87th year. He is survived by his wife, Janet, whom he married at Easter in 1959; daughter Emily (Heather Gilmore), son Duff (Edena Brown), son Frank (Chieri Katagiri), daughter Jessie; four grandchildren: Fraser and Claire Sutherland, Maya Sutherland, and Justine Sutherland. He is also survived by his sister, Joy Nicolls, and by his sister-in-law, Mary McRae.

Neil was born in Vancouver on 15 January 1931 to Dorothy (Johnson) and Howard Hugh Sutherland. He grew up in Chilliwack and in the neighborhood of Knight Road and Kingsway in East Vancouver where he and his sister Joy had a close relationship with their Johnson grandparents who owned a family shoe store. He attended General Woolf, Chilliwack River, Charles Dickens and John Oliver schools. With the support and encouragement of his mother, and, later, his wife, Neil had a distinguished career as a student and professor. He was a graduate of the Provincial Normal School, the University of British Columbia (MA), and the University of Minnesota (PhD).

As a teacher and historian, Neil taught in Oliver, West Vancouver, and in the Faculty of Education at UBC. He also enjoyed his time as a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Scotland, Australia and Sweden. A pioneer in the field of social history in the 1960s and 1970s, he published significant work throughout a long and productive career on the history of children and of childhood in Canada. The Sutherland prize was created to mark his contribution. He retired in 1996 with the rank of full Professor. He was the consummate academic and teacher: he read and researched widely and deeply in his field, wrote daily in his study, cared about the success of his classes and students, and formed close professional relationships with his colleagues and graduate students, many of whom became lifelong friends.

Beyond his working life, Neil had a full and loving family life with Janet and his children. He enjoyed many summers at their 'place' on Trincomali Channel on Galiano Island with family and many visitors. He remained close to his sister, to his friends from his childhood in East Vancouver, and to his own and Janet's extended families. He and Janet travelled widely including spending a year in Alva, Scotland, and made other trips to Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Thailand, and Japan. His children remember their happy childhoods and the profound and positive impact he had on their lives. He always took great pleasure and pride in their achievements. He also thoroughly enjoyed and indulged his grandchildren. It was a life well lived.

There will be a memorial service at St. Ann's Anglican Church, 4071 Francis Road, Richmond, BC, on Friday, July 28th at 2pm. A reception will follow in the church hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, 80 Hayden Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 3G2.

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