Jean Sutherland Death Obituary – Jean was born in 1934 to William Gordon Murray and Mildred (Peg) Furniss Murray in Ames, Iowa. From her father, a noted academic agricultural economist, she inherited a life-long love of education and teaching.
As the daughter of a feisty and adventurous woman who had taken flying lessons as a young woman, Jean developed a passion for taking on new challenges, an attitude that carried through to the end of her life. In 1955, Jean Murray had her heart captured by a young Scotsman, Thomas Sutherland, who had come to Iowa to obtain his Ph.D. degree in animal breeding.
They married in 1956, after her graduation from Iowa State University, and then came to Fort Collins for Tom to take up a position in Animal Science at Colorado State University. Jean had already been entranced with the beauty and grandeur of the mountains, having visited often in summers with family and friends to hike around Rocky Mountain National Park, including a trip to the summit of Long’s Peak as a teenager.
Jean and Tom built a life in Fort Collins and at Tahosa Pines, a cabin in the mountains, raising three daughters and making innumerable life-long friendships. Tom’s career as an educator opened many opportunities for travel, and Jean eagerly embraced the challenges of raising her young daughters in foreign countries during a 1966-1967 sabbatical year spent in Jouy-en-Josas, France, and a two-year period in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1976-1978. She obtained her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in English literature at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
She learned Latin and Greek on her path to writing her dissertation on the influences of the work of the Greek philosopher Seneca on Shakespeare’s tragedies. She taught English at Colorado State University and in the Alternative Learning Center in Fort Collins, before taking on what would prove to be the greatest challenge of her life in 1983.