Nancy's Story

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Nancy Mary Sutherland was born February 4, 1939 in Elko, Nevada. She was the eldest of four children born to George N. Sutherland Jr and Alise [Alice] Ruth Deatrick. Nancy always had a wonderful spirit about her, wore a perpetual smile which endeared her to others. She made friends easily and had rare courage. As a child she once was the only girl to drive a Soap Box Derby race down Stenegar Hill in her home town of Elko. As a child she had a paper route, and earned much of her own spending money. She liked to go with her father when he delivered groceries for grandfather's Peoples Market. She also worked as a clerk in a dime store in Elko while in high school. She had and loved her pets including Stinky the dog, Whiskers the cat, Baa the sheep, Tommy the Parakeet, and when she became a teacher, she kept guinea pigs in the room for the children to learn to care for. While living at the airport where her father was Station Manager for United Airlines, her friendliness and curious mind helped friendships with the weather bureau.
In 1956, as Nancy was finishing up junior year in high school, she traveled to Oklahoma with the Ivie family to care for their young daughter while the parents attended summer classes at the University of Oklahoma. Lacking only a class or two from having completed her high school requirements in three years she decided to apply to Oklahoma City University to enroll in a summer class, accepted, she did so and successfully completed her work. At the end of the summer, she applied to be enrolled as a freshman at OCU, was accepted, carrying a full load of classes. On the first day of an English Lit class that year, she met Raymond Griffin, a senior pre-ministerial student. They became friends and at the end of the spring semester and she was preparing to return to Elko for the summer, they became engaged and were married on August 7, 1957 in the Presbyterian Church in Merced, California. Nancy had grown up in the Elko Presbyterian Church pastored by C. Harold VanZee.
Nancy and Ray pastored several small Oklahoma Methodist Churches over the years that followed. In 1966, Nancy became an army wife. For the next five years, she served as school teacher while caring for three young children. Two of those years her husband was overseas in deployments to Korea and Viet Nam.
While working as a teacher, Nancy once received the following letter.
Mrs. Griffin,
As this school year is nearing its end I just want to express our appreciation for the great job you have done with Kara and the kindergarten class. You've taken young frightened children and made them into cute young children that love school and learning. Kara can't wait to get to school each day and that can only reflect how much love you have made going to school. Kara loves you and you've made her first experience with school such a special one. As a mother I sent a scared little girl to school that had no idea what to expect and I felt a little sorry for her. I can see now how much progress she has made with learning and socializing with the children of her own age. We appreciate your dedication to the children in your class. But we feel that you have added that little extra, a part of yourself. Just want you to know before Kara leaves your class how very appreciative we are. Tommy and Marjorie Martin.
Nancy also was dedicated to the work of the church, holding offices in the UMW as Treasurer, and also working on Volunteer in Mission teams to Costa Rica once and Mexico twice helping build casitas , and twice going to Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, Louisiana to help prepare materials for the next major disaster.
Nancy is survived by her husband of 59 and 1/2 years, Raymond Griffin; two sons, George R. and wife Sheila of Edmond; Charles D. and friend LaDonna of Phoenix AZ, and one daughter, Helen C. (Sandy) of L.A., CA; two granddaughters, Terri Lynn and husband, Bobby Cobb; Leigh Ann and husband Keith Labit of Magnolia, AR; three grandsons, Chad Girffin of Edmond, OK, Brandon Griffin and wife Brianna of Yukon, OK and Jeff Garis and wife Kara of Moore, OK; seven great grandchildren, Keli, Melysa and Laura Cobb; Kara Labit, Chief, Dax and Wren Garis of Moore, OK, other relatives and a host of friends.
A funeral service will be held 11:30am, Tuesday, January 10, 2017 in the Rowsey Chapel at St. Paul United Methodist Church with Reverend David Burris officiating. Interment will follow at Fort Gibson National Cemetery.
Funeral service arrangements are under the direction of Foster-Petering Funeral Home.
Published on January 7, 2017
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