The program for today’s celebration in memory of West Seattle business/community pioneer Helen Sutton described its location, the South Seattle Community College Arboretum, as “one of Helen’s favorite places.” Guests were welcomed with harp music by Pinky Dale, SSCC’s Georgetown Campus dean:
Hundreds gathered underneath a striped canopy, where the celebration officially began with a welcome by SSCC’s interim president Gary Oertli:
Ms. Sutton’s many ties to SSCC and the rest of Seattle’s community-college system were described in the program:
Helen served on the Seattle Community College District Board of Trustees from 1974 to 1985, and was involved with our colleges from the beginning. She was one of South’s earliest and strongest supporters. Helen was instrumental in the establishment of the South Seattle Community College Foundation, and she served as board member for many years, including several as president. She also helped create the Arboretum, where the Helen G. Sutton Rose Garden was established several years ago in honor of her efforts. In addition to her work on the Arboretum Committee, Helen was a member of the Scholarship Committeee.
Helen was fondly known as “Mrs. West Seattle” by many in the community. She owned La Grace Fashion Apparel for more than 40 years and was the first woman president of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. She was also named “Citizen of the Year.”
She also was a Board Member Emeritus for the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) and had been involved with Fauntleroy Church; on behalf of the church, LeeAnne Beres was to share reflections at today’s memorial, as were several others including niece Lori Edgerly of Yakima, the town in which Ms. Sutton was living when she died in June at age 95.