Zona Sutherland

Obituary of Zona Ellen Sutherland

Zona Ellen Sutherland passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at her residence in Ontario, Oregon. She was 85

Zona was born in Fort Benton, Montana on June 7, 1933, along with a twin brother.  She was one of seven children born to Otto Owen Dickerson and Agnes Mae Richardson.  Her siblings included an older brother and sister, Bill and Melinda, her twin brother Luther, younger sister Sheila, and a second set of twins, Ray and Faye Dickerson.

This was during the height of our country’s Great Depression, and the economic situation in Montana was very poor, spurring Zona’s parents in 1938 to move the family to Ontario, Oregon in search of greater opportunity.  This is where the youngest twins were born.

Economic times remained challenging throughout her childhood, and as a young girl, Zona went to work cleaning houses to help meet the family’s needs.   She was hired by Duke and Emma Dawns to clean house and take care of their daughter, Sue Ellen.   Over time, they became like a second family to her, a relationship that lasted throughout her life.

Zona married Jerome Barrie on August 8, 1952, and her first son, Douglas Ray Barrie, was born in 1953.  The marriage dissolved and on January 23, 1955 she married Robert “Bob” Davis.    They initially moved to Harper, Oregon where Bob worked a small farm.  Late that same year, her second son, Owen Scott Davis, was born.

It was difficult to support a family on a small-farm income and the family moved a couple times over the next five years, seeking better opportunities.   They returned to the Ontario area, living first in New Plymouth, then in Fruitland.  Two more sons, Allen Lee Davis and Kevin Dale Davis, were born during this time.

In 1963 the family moved to a 180-acre farm south of Ontario, where they had 20-head of milking cows, a few hogs and a large flock of laying hens, and farmed sugar beets, sweet corn, and wheat.

Two years later, Bob and Zona moved the family to Rio King Ranch, a half-million-acre alfalfa ranch near Winnemucca, Nevada where Bob had secured a position as Maintenance Manager.  It was a very isolated place to live, being 40 miles off the main road.  The three oldest boys attended school in a small two-room schoolhouse, with only a handful of other kids from the immediate area.   Unfortunately, about a year later, Bob suffered a work injury that forced the family to return to Fruitland, Idaho.

In 1968, Bob secured a job in Connell, Washington and Zona and family moved once more.  In the year following their move to Connell, she and Bob were divorced.  Zona and her boys purchased a small house in Connell, and she went back to work, first waitressing at a popular local restaurant, and later working as a secretary at the sand and gravel plant.  Between work and raising her boys, she didn’t have a lot of spare time, but when she could, she volunteered her time to the Girl Scouts, helping with their group activities and going on campouts where she slept on the ground right alongside the girls, even though she was now in her fifties.

In 1978, with her boys now grown and gone, Zona moved back to Ontario to be near her family.  She went to work as a librarian at Aikens School, which turned out to be her dream job—she loved working with the kids, and they loved her.  She worked there for the next twenty years until she retired.

In 1985, Zona received Christian baptism and for the remainder of her life, faithfully attended her local church.   She volunteered much of her spare time to the local Veteran’s Administration, helping out any way she could.

Around 2012, Zona was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  The disease progressed over the next two years, and in 2014 she moved into assisted living at Dorian Place in Ontario, where she kept herself busy with new friends and helping out wherever she could be useful.   After nearly five years, she lost her battle with Alzheimers, and passed away at her home in Dorian Place.

She is survived by her four sons, Douglas Ray (Sheryl) Barrie, Owen Scott (Gale) Davis, Allen Lee “George” (Michele) Davis, and Kevin Dale (Margaret) Davis, and one sister, Faye Yoctorowic.  She was preceded in death by two sisters, Melinda Beltz and Sheila Morris, three brothers, Bill, Luther, and Ray Dickerson, and by her parents, Otto and Agnes Dickerson.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Veterans Administration of Ontario or to the Silver Sage Girl Scouts.


Services will be held on June 8th @ Calvary Chapel Ontario 10:30am, please save the date

Arrangements by Lienkaemper Chapel, Ontario.

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