It is with heavy hearts and full regret to announce the passing of John B. Sutton, of Fairfield, Montana, on September 13, 2021, due to natural causes. He was 85.
John was born on August 27, 1936, in Boardman, N.C. to John Henry and Doretha (Best) Sutton, as the eldest son and second born of seven children. As a boy, he’d take witness to backwoods moonshining, tobacco curing, picking cotton and cutting sugar cane from the fields, paddling down the Lumber River and fishing under trees hung with curtains of Spanish moss. He loved to get together with a band of friends, playing guitar and singing gospel songs. John was also very talented at playing baseball.
As a young man, John was a lineman for an electrical company in North Carolina. John then devoted himself with great ardor by serving in the United States Air Force in munition supply. While stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, he met Marlene Dickhoff at church, and on April 27, 1956, made her his bride in Helena, MT. Together they had two daughters. John was sent on tours overseas in Okinawa, Turkey, and Thailand. He served 20 years altogether in the United States Air Force and retired as a Master Sergeant. He loved his country and devoted his life to serving it.
After retiring from the service, he held several odd jobs but ultimately pursued a career of cattle ranching and farmed many varieties of crops, including malt barley for Anheuser-Busch, on the Fairfield bench. He prided himself with hard work, high standards, and forehandedness. John loved his peaceful land and found solace in the quiet nature of his animals, of which he cherished and had names for all.
John could win anyone over with his witty charm and sense of humor; he could make friends with perfect strangers. Known as the “Candyman”, he’d often fill an empty fish oil bottle with chocolates and suggest to everyone with a wink, to take their “medicine”. He’d carry on conversation with slight Southern drawl and loved to make people laugh. John enjoyed giving nicknames to family and friends and had a way of forming new words and phrases. It was always a pleasure to sit down to a hearty meal and he delighted in a good Honey Bun and Pepsi-Cola. He found ways to decorate with or make use of any knickknack he came across. He always wore a neat flannel shirt, trucker hat, and a dimpled smile. His strong hugs were hard to beat and are surely missed.
It’s no doubt Heaven has welcomed John with a sign that reads, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.” John was preceded in death by his father and mother, brother Jimmy, sisters Hattie (Phillips) and Nancy (Baxley), and grandson Christopher Jungers. John is survived by his wife of 65 years, Marlene; daughters Jalene Jungers of Billings, MT, and Shelley (Steven) Dahl of Three Forks, MT; sisters June Branch, Bonnie Tompkins, and Mary Sutton; as well as five grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. A cremation has taken place and a memorial is to follow.