Robert DeLano Sutherland

Robert DeLano Sutherland

Died November 13, 1999

Bob leaves an impressive legacy: the Robert D. Sutherland Foundation for bipolar treatment and recovery, housed at the Robert D. Sutherland Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After Bob’s passing, his family, with active support from enthusiasts of Colorado Grand (see below), started this foundation to provide early bipolar diagnosis and grants to caretaker specialists for bipolar treatment and social skills training.

Bob prepared for Yale at Pembroke Country Day School in Kansas City, MO, majored in history of art and resided in Silliman. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta as well as Freshman Chorus, Apollo Glee Club and Yale Glee Club.

Bob worked in his family’s retail lumber business in Colorado after graduation and was involved with fund raising for charities in the Denver area, writing Christian books and leading the world-class vintage car-touring rally, Colorado Grand.

Bob observed in the class book and Directory for our 25th reunion in 1990: “In the early 70’s my wife and I found ourselves swept into the counter- culture by younger people around us. I felt rebellion for the first time in my life, impatience with what I had always been told, and a hunger for something different. The positive aspect of my ‘closet hippie’ phase was that I achieved a precious sense of independence and came to increasing self-knowledge.”

Bob suffered from bipolar manic depression for most of his adult life and passed away on November 13, 1999 as the result of a brain hemorrhage. He was survived by his wife, Caroline, son, Robert, and daughter, Lucy.

Bob’s son observed, “ …dramatic moods plagued him. Sometimes, depression debilitated him. Other times, boundless energy buoyed him. Because he was self-employed, (he) could retreat from workaday duties when depression struck….He was a big believer that you can get help.”

Fred Sellers remembers:
Bob Sutherland was one of those people who brighten a room when they walk in. He had an infectious and ready laugh, was an enthusiastic member of the Glee Club, and majored in art history reflecting his father’s significant service as a long-time trustee and benefactor of the Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Bob lived life to its fullest, working in his family’s sprawling lumber business, racing his sports car along the winding roads of Italy and writing several books, self published. One of those books was a tense thriller, set in the Yale History of Art Department, depicting spiritual warfare and reflecting his own spiritual conversion experience. It was a huge shock when I found his name in 2001 missing from the roster for the upcoming Glee Club reunion, an event he always attended. Death had come from an aneurism. RIP, Bob. You are sorely missed.

John van Merkensteijn remembers:
BOB-Bugatti to Bougainvillea, lumber yards, art, morgan +4, collector cars, family, kansas city, shawnee mission, Herman and Helen, laughter, joy, green jackets!! Miss you. Farnham Blair remembers: Bob was great fun, kind, and very generous. I had the great pleasure of living directly across the hall from him for two years on the second floor of Entry J in Silliman. Everyone liked being around him, and his room was the center of a lot of good times. An Eagle Scout, Bob did a hamburger party one weekend for all of us and our dates, cooking the patties in his fireplace on stoves made from tin cans. They were perfect. Often, there would be late-night outings to the Marshall House, where we would play Food Poker. “I’ll see your fries and raise you a burger!” A can never remember laughing harder than at some of the story-swapping evenings in Bob’s room, the kind of laughter in which you’d end up breathless, falling onto the rug. Fraser Mills, Dutch van Merkensteijn, Bill Schwarze, Bill Bertusi, Mike Shapiro, and many others—all highly entertaining. In our yearbook, the resi- dents of Entry J were called (I believe in a friend- ly way) “ the lunatic fringe of Yale.” That much laughter was generated, and all sorts of adven- tures were undertaken—from shooting two 30- minute comedy films to exploring the universi- ty’s steam tunnels and bringing back antique fur- niture from basement store rooms all over the campus.
Bob was always fascinated by art (about which he was extremely knowledgeable) and sports cars. He had a beautiful Morgan – which he would kindly let us drive, even though our use of its gears left a lot to be desired. After graduation, while working in the family lumber business, Bob became a major collector of vintage cars. He had Millers (an early Indianapolis racing machine), early Maseratis, and, at one time, over a score of his favorite, Bugattis. There is a wonderful short clip on You Tube of Bob, tooling around a deep-country road in the Bug he loved most, a blue Model 11. You can sense Bob’s great happiness. Watching this film just makes one feel good, and it brings back the joy in life which Bob shared with so many of us.
Bob helped send many deserving kids to college; he sang in several church choirs (simultaneously, I believe); when he died, his estate established a center for medical research and treatment. Generosity. A great guy. I think of him often and miss him greatly.

Richard Kaslow remembers:
Accommodating, amusing, loyal friend at Yale