KINSMAN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Richard Dennis Sutton, age 79, died on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, at Sharon Regional Hospital, with his family by his side.
He was born on January 24, 1943, the second of five children of Grace Lavern (Fisk) and Malry McClung Sutton, Sr. He grew up in Kinsman, living in a two-bedroom home with all five children who shared one bedroom.
A lifelong Kinsman resident, Dick graduated in 1961 from Joseph Badger High School as part of the first consolidated class.
Dick met his wife, Sharon, through his friend Gino Innocenzi, proposing after dating for three months they were married on June 16, 1973.
Dick was a hard worker. He started working at a young age and continued to be active long past his retirement. He barely skipped a beat when he was placed on oxygen several years ago and toted his oxygen tank around with him in fields and woods. In high school, he worked for Bower and Taylor Resurfacing by running a roller. In the late 1960s, he worked for Donnie Davis Lumber, traveling from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, east into Pennsylvania and west to Chardon. Dick knew a lot about trees and would walk through the woods, point out every species and comment on the wood’s health. From 1973 to 1983 he worked for General Motors Packard Division as both a serviceman and a supervisor. For 29 years Dick worked for Kinsman Township. Fourteen years as assistant road supervisor and 15 years as road supervisor, retiring in 2006. He was incredibly proud of the work he did around Kinsman. He was part of many projects and some of his favorite accomplishments include the building of the township park, the paving of many dirt roads and working with the summer youth program. Dick was proud that when he retired there were no dirt roads left in Kinsman. He liked the township to be kept tidy and treated with respect. For several years, he maintained the cemetery at the corner of Church Street and State Road and he especially wanted it to look nice and be treated respectfully.
After retirement, he enjoyed helping the farmers of Heritage Hill by filling in where needed or, he would drive the country roads to provide reports on crop progress.
Dick grew up with ponies, dogs, cats, chickens and beef cows. He told stories of being chased by a rooster when going to the outhouse and of a collie named Laddie who saved his brother, Mal, when he crawled too close to the road. Dick continued to have dogs and cats all his life. He enjoyed hunting with his dog, Sadie. Most recently, he had a large, protective German Shepherd named Sullivan. For hours, he would play ball and throw a stick for Sully.
As a child, family hobbies included raising 4-H beef, racing fast cars at drag strips like Sunset and Howland and making maple syrup. Dick started making syrup on the farm at a young age helping his grandfather, who started making syrup in the 1930s. In later years, his family boiled on a flat pan that held about ten gallons and they filtered the syrup with heated cream to skim off particles. Dick, with the help of his brothers, continued to grow his maple syrup hobby into a passion for all things maple. Many young men from the community also worked with Dick to produce the syrup and the sugar house was a very busy place for many years. In the early 1970s, he had two 6×20 evaporators and was one of the largest producers in the state. Dick passed his passion for maple onto his children and grandchildren and for many years three generations worked together making high-quality syrup with the most modern equipment. One piece of modern equipment was reverse osmosis (RO) the machine which Dick believed was the greatest invention of all time. He said it was a “heck of an invention” and made his life way easier – what used to take 20 hours took only two when using the RO!
Growing up, his family had a large garden and Dick continued to garden for his entire life. He also had a great love of landscaping and growing flowers. When his body wouldn’t allow him, he would direct his granddaughters, Analyse and Sophia and nephew, Logan, to do what he couldn’t. Dick was a jack of all trades. He knew how to do everything and he had the tools or equipment to fix anything. If on the slight chance he didn’t have what was needed, he knew who you should ask or where you could go to get it. Dick loved his children and grandchildren. He never missed an opportunity to spend time with them and never turned down a chance to get his granddaughters to their activities whether it was lessons, school, sports, or loading a horse trailer.
His childhood friends were George Rosner, Charlie Fenn, and Bliss Gilmore. His closest friends throughout the years have been Carlon Hine and Charlie McGill.
Dick was welcomed to Heaven by his parents; a sister, Lynn E. Grover; two brothers, Rollie Dean Sutton and Malry M. Sutton, Jr.; mother and father-in-law, Martha and Arlie Smyth and friend Hugh Baumgardner.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Sharon of Kinsman; two children, Jerad R. (Amy) Sutton and J. Nicole (Jeffrey) Phillips, both of Gustavus, Ohio; his brother, Thomas J. Sutton of Brookfield, Ohio; two granddaughters, Analyse and Sophia Sutton and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like you to plant a maple tree in Dick’s honor.
Memorial contributions may be made to Northern Trumbull County Community Foundation, PO Box 31, Kinsman, OH 44428.
No public services will be held.
Baumgardner Funeral & Cremation Services of Kinsman handled the arrangements. Share a fond memory or condolence at www.baumgardnerfuneralhome.com.
A television tribute will air Friday, November 11 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.