CENTER — Marjory Virginia (Whitten) Sutherland age 95, passed away after a brief illness with cancer at her home on November 7, 2020, surrounded by family and friends. Virginia was born in Center, Colorado on June 29, 1925, to William Elonson Whitten and May T. Whitten. Virginia being the baby, joined the family of a half brother Eugene Whitten and brothers George and Donald Whitten.
Virginia lived three miles from the family home ranch she grew up on. Except for a few years at College where she graduated from the University of Colorado, with a degree in sociology/ psychology and a miner in anthropology in 1947. The sociology degree landed her first job working for the Girl Scouts of Mile High Council in Denver which was her lifelong love. Spending 30 years with the Girl Scouts, starting in 1959, she helped charter the Columbine Girl Scout Council in Pueblo Colorado, serving in all capacities from basic volunteer to district advisor to Columbine Girl Scout Council president. In 1976, she was chosen as a hidden heroin of the council and recognized for her tireless dedication before retiring.
In 1950, she married Vinus (Sut) Sutherland in Taos New Mexico. Much to the disapproval of her mother, the couple lived and worked in Denver for 2 years until they returned to the ranch in 1952, which they worked side by side on the ranch for the next 40 years, until Sut passed away in 1990 .
Her accomplishments thru life include being Miss Stampede in 1947, she was instrumental in helping organize and starting the Saguache County Credit Union. She was a lifelong member of the San Luis Valley Cattlewomen (The Cowbells). She was the first secretary for the Rio Grande Water Conservation Board. She was a member of the Saguache Women’s Club, which in turn also started the Saguache County Museum, where she served as Chair on the Board of Directors for 57 years. She also served as a Board member on the San Luis Valley Historical Society. Virginia and her daughter Lynn were awarded Conservationists (farm and ranch division) of the year in 1997. In 2004, Virginia was awarded Cattlemen of the Year from the San Luis Valley Cattlemen’s Association. She was a 3-time worthy matron for the Order of the Eastern Star Minnehaha Chapter No. 48.
Virginia is survived by her daughter Lynn Sutherland, grandson Kenny Tomlin, nephews Donnie and George Whitten, nieces Patricia Whitten, and Becky Hendrickson.
Donations in memory of Virginia can be made to the Saguache County Museum.
Arrangements in care of Strohmayer’s Funeral Home.