Monday, July 13, 2009

"A Life Lived Small but in a Big Way"

I want to take a moment and make a few comments about my friend Kathy Sutherland who passed away on the 4th of July this year!
Kathy's obituary cannot begin to let anyone know what she meant to the many lives she touched!
Read my thoughts following the obituary.
Name: Kathleen L. Sutherland
Date: November 22nd, 1946 - July 4th, 2009
Obituary: Kathleen L. Sutherland, 62, of Browns Mills, NJ, went on to her eternal reward on July 4, 2009, at Samaritan Hospice in Mt. Holly, NJ, after a valiant battle against cancer. She devoted her life to service at Lighthouse Christian School and then at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in the Food & Nutrition/Environmental Services Departments. Wife of the late James Sutherland, she is survived by her children, Kari Mauerman, Marissa Sheley, and Matthew Sutherland; her grandchildren Claire, Lucy, and Jack Mauerman; her sister, Marie Lehar; brothers, Edward “Skip” Kowal, Francis “Bud” Kowal, and Chris Kowal; and her mother, Elizabeth Kowal. She is also survived by several nieces and two sons-in-law. Friends and family are invited to celebrate her life on Thursday, July 9, at Lighthouse Tabernacle in Lumberton, NJ. A viewing will be held from 5-7pm with a service beginning at 7:15pm. Rev. AndrĂ© Mauerman will officiate. Interment will be held 10 am on Friday at the Mount Holly Cemetery. Family will greet friends following the burial at Lighthouse Tabernacle. Donations in memory of her life may be made to the Deborah Hospital Foundation, 20 Pine Mill Road, Browns Mills, NJ 08015. Arrangements under the direction of the Perinchief Chapels, Mt. Holly. (

When I first moved to New Jersey in 1986, I was a suddenly single mother of five children. I had been married for forever it seemed, but now I found myself in the new world of single parenthood. When I first started attending Lighthouse Tabernacle Church, Kathy was one of the first people who made me feel welcome. We both belonged to a great group of single women and Kath was often the voice of reason, like when some of us thought that doing something crazy would be fun! Nothing like watching a bunch of 30 and 40 year old women riding loudly in the back of someones pickup truck through the streets of Moorestown, NJ.. hmmm!
We worked together everyday for the three years that I taught at Lighthouse Christian School. Kathy had a gentle, quiet, strong presence that always amazed me! She had been widowed when her children were quite young and Kathy became my true mentor and friend. She was an amazing school secretary and touched so many young lives.
Kathy never appeared rattled, I never heard her complain about anything or anyone. She lived simply and gave her children a wonderful foundation of faith and a left them a legacy of love.
In recent years, we often joked about the fact that we rarely saw each other except in ICU waiting rooms and at the funerals of mutual friends. I could always make her laugh when I would remind her that the first letters of funeral spell FUN! (sorry-it is just how my brain works sometimes!)
By the time Kathy became ill, my family and I had relocated to North Carolina and so when I learned of Kathy's home going, I was unable to attend her funeral. But I do know this, we will get to see each other again one day in Heaven. There will be no sorrow, or tears or pain- only rejoicing before our Lord!
Thank you Kathy, for the example you set for me.
I will miss you and I will see you in a bit.

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