James Eugene (Gene) Sutherland, Sr, age 83, went to be with the Lord on March 6, 2019. He was surrounded by his family and extended family of caregivers, at his home in Jonesboro. Gene was born on June 19,1935, in Atlanta, to the late Andrew Washington and Lucy English Sutherland. He is survived by his children: Bonnie & Frankie Wilson, Connie & Kenny Hopkins, Diana Earwood and Gene & Delee Sutherland; grandchildren: Matt & Jamie Wilson, Drew & Meredith Wilson, Chad Crowe, Cole & Kristen Crowe; Callie & Corey Wallace, Lexi Sutherland, Jes Sutherland, Cade Sutherland and Corey Earwood; Great-grandchildren: Logan,Dylan,Britton, Gabi and Lilly Kate Wilson, Riley Wallace and Collins Crowe and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his wife of fifty-eight years, Joan Miller Sutherland, his oldest son, Andrew Norris Sutherland, great granddaughter, Hadley Wallace, his parents, Andrew & Lucy Sutherland; grandparents: James E. and Elvia Moss English and Jule E. and Pearl Milford Sutherland.
A proud Atlanta native, Gene attended Brown Junior High, Sylvan High School, Georgia Military Academy and Georgia State University. He worked with his parents in the family business, Sutherland Produce, from 1947 until his death. His vision and business acumen propelled Sutherland’s to the success it enjoys today as Sutherland’s Foodservice.
Gene was involved in many areas over the years promoting his love for agriculture. He was widely recognized for his leadership in the poultry and egg industry. At one time, Sutherland’s was the largest egg producer in the state of Georgia. He served as an officer and board member of: AgriTrust of Georgia, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Atlanta Produce Dealers Association, Georgia Egg Commission, United Egg Producers and was a lifetime member of the Georgia Poultry Federation. He was inducted into the prestigious Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2011.
Contributing his time and efforts at a statewide level, Sutherland served on the Board of Industry and Trade and was chairman of The Agricultural Exposition Authority, which oversees the Georgia National Fair. Sutherland also served as a member of the Governing Board for Woodward Academy and Piedmont College.
Recognized for his life of service, Gene received the Alumni of the Year award from Woodward Academy. Clayton State University awarded Sutherland its 2004 Southern Crescent Vision Award. In February 2011, he received the first Legend Award given by Woodward Academy. He was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce in 2013. Under his leadership, Sutherland’s Foodservice received Business of the Year from the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce in 2014, and was recognized as a finalist as The Georgia Family Business of the Year by Kennesaw State University.
He was a 32nd degree mason, and a member of East Point Lodge #288.
He enjoyed spending time with his family, friends, UGA football, NASCAR and at his farm. He loved his Lord, his church and he served faithfully at The Bridge (First Christian Church of Stockbridge) for as long as he was able.
Although Gene received many awards and gained success through hard work in his business, his greatest accomplishment by far, was a life well lived through simplicity, generosity and service. The legacy he leaves is to make each day count! Cherish your family and friends and serve others through your relationship to God and your fellow man. Make a difference in this life God has given to you.
Visitation will be Sunday, March 10, from 2:00-5:00 and 6:00-8:00 at Cannon-Cleveland Funeral Home. Burial will be at Westview Cemetery at 10:00 am on Monday, March 11th. Celebration of Life will be at 4:00 p.m. at Woodward Academy in Gresham Chapel.
In lieu of flowers please consider giving:
First Christian Church of Stockbridge
102 Valley Hill Road Stockbridge, GA 30281
J. Eugene Sutherland Scholarship Fund
University of Georgia Foundation- College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
394 S. Milledge Avenue, Suite 250, Athens, GA 30602
James E. and Joan Sutherland Scholarship
Clayton State University Foundation
2000 Clayton State Blvd. Morrow, GA 30260
1662 Rugby Avenue
College Park, GA 30337
Sacred Journey Hospice
138 Peach Drive
McDonough, GA 30253