Obituary: Tracey Diane Sutherland

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Tracey Diane Sutherland was born Jan. 17, 1965, in Newport, Arkansas, and died March 15, 2021, in Conway, Arkansas at the age of 56.

Tracey was the daughter of William Harold Sutherland and June Slocum Sutherland.

She was a life-long resident of Newport where she grew up within a mile of many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She was active in the Holden Avenue Church of Christ.

At the age of three, Tracey was diagnosed with leukemia and received treatment for five years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Her family was fortunate to live near world-class cancer care and Tracey was in the first A.L.L. study group to have a 50% survival rate; she lived 53 years after her diagnosis.

Tracey spent much of her adult life in childcare which she loved; she also enjoyed her time working at the Goodwill Store in Newport. Her greatest achievement may have been lovingly caring for her aging parents as her dad battled leukemia and her mother lived with dementia. As a teen and young adult Tracey along with her mother went on mission trips to lead vacation Bible school on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona; lasting memories were made.

For her 50th birthday, she traveled to Washington D.C. and was in awe of the monuments, the White House, and the big city experiences. Tracey loved cats (especially Figaro), flowers and birds, crochet and cross-stitch, sending cards for every holiday, trips to Branson, extended family gatherings, and babies and children. Throughout her life she found meaning and happiness in doing things for other people: filling Christmas stockings with everyone’s favorites, preparing Easter gifts for her Sunday school class, and picking up where her mother left off making the buttermilk fudge. All of these things were planned carefully and prepared far in advance.

In June of 2020, Tracey was diagnosed with lung cancer. She wanted to beat it and rarely complained about having a second cancer diagnosis nor about the ravages of chemo on her body. Her spirits were buoyed by hundreds of phone conversations with close friends and family from Newport. She was lovingly and gently cared for by health care professionals at Conway Regional Medical Center, Conway Regional Home Health, and Conway Hematology and Oncology Clinic.

Tracey is survived by her brother David Sutherland and his wife Pebble Sutherland of Conway, niece Susanna Sutherland (Nashville TN), nephew Clay Sutherland and his wife Alex Sutherland and their daughter Remy (Richardson TX), and nephew Reid Sutherland (Centennial CO). She is also survived by a host of close-knit aunts, uncles, and cousins, several dear friends, and many grown-up children whom she helped raise and loved as her own.

 

Memorials may be given to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at stjude.org or 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. A memorial service will be announced later in the spring to be held at Holden Avenue Church of Christ in Newport.

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