Paulette “Punky” Marie Sutherland, 66, passed away on June 5 at the Kloefkorn Home after more than a decade-long struggle with early-onset dementia.
Paulette was born in Red Wing, Minnesota and raised in Welch, Minnesota on the Olson family farm. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in nursing and soon married her high school sweetheart, Dr. John Billings. Together they had four children, to whom she committed her heart, soul, and every ounce of her being to raising. The children grew up in the midst of her enormous love and nurturing that took many forms—the constant cooking and baking for a family of six plus the numerous friends who always wanted to come over to eat her delicious meals and desserts, the endless support as she drove all her children to and fro to attend their many activities, the yearly hand-made costumes, the singing like a nightingale from dawn till dusk, and the ever-present laughter that let you know she was in a room. She had an abiding love for antiques, and after she and John divorced in 1998 she enjoyed working at an antiques store for a few years before starting work again as a nurse. During this time she was also teaching yoga classes, which is how she met her second husband, John Sutherland, whom she married in 2004. Together they enjoyed many adventures traveling the country and the world to visit her children. She maintained her joyful disposition and love of singing throughout her trial with dementia, and continued to win the hearts of all her caretakers despite her disease.
She is survived by her husband, John Sutherland, her sisters, Bonnie Granquist and Judy Ramboldt, her four children, Erin Una Olson, Benjamin Billings, Bekah Stout, and Hannah Acosta, her six grandchildren, Uma and Kaveen Chainani, Quinntin Bernstein, Zinnia and Kye Acosta, and Phoebe Stout, and numerous cousins and friends.
There will be a memorial service on July 2 at 1:00 pm at Highland Park Community Church. A burial service in Minnesota will be scheduled for a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Wyoming Dementia Care: www.wyomingdementiacare.com
They also ask that in her memory you take a moment today to sing along to your favorite song and enjoy the great healing power of music that buoyed Paulette throughout her long illness.
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