Velda Virginia Werner Sutton
1935 - 2021

October 29, 1935 ˜ June 28, 2021

Velda was born Oct. 29, 1935, in Normal, IL, to William Henry Werner and Ivy Lewis Werner, and moved to Battle Ground at age five. She passed unexpectedly June 28, 2021, in Yuma, AZ, at the age of 85. She was the youngest of seven children and the last to pass. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings: Evangeline “Vange” Rose Smithline (1988), William “Bill” David Werner (2002), Oliver “Ole” Wendel Werner (1987), Ivy Louise “Peggy” Pylkki (2003), Theodore “Ted” Lloyd Werner (2021), Daniel Duane Werner (2012).
Velda married Keven D. Sutton of Amboy, Feb. 7, 1954. Keven passed in 2007. They were married 54 years.
She is survived by her three children, Velda “Cindy” (Stan) Sawyer, Vivian (Vince) Witt, and Wayne (Suzanne) Sutton; grandchildren, Josh Joner, Gretchen Brown, Casey Witt, Lucas Witt, Keven Sutton, John Sutton, Kent Sutton; and numerous “Great Grands” which she dearly loved in addition to numerous nieces, nephews, and their families!
Velda developed a strong work ethic at a very young age working on the family dairy farm and picking crops for the neighbors’ farms. While at Battle Ground High School, she excelled in academics and was a Twirling Majorette, marching in numerous parades including the Rose Parade each year. She worked full time while attending high school as a waitress and short order cook at a local restaurant. After graduation in 1953, she worked as a corporate secretary in Portland. Upon marriage to Keven, she continued to work at everything from picking berries and beans, to hoeing mint and driving truck. Once her children were in school, she became the room mother, Girl Scout leader, and president of the PTA. In 1965, she started driving school bus for the Battle Ground School District and within a couple of years decided to go to college to become a teacher. Three years later with a near 4-point GPA, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of Portland. Neil Armstrong spoke at her graduation. She immediately started teaching while simultaneously working on her Masters. Eventually, she earned several Masters and an Honorary PHD from the University of Indiana.
While teaching school, she taught at Kenton and Ascension Schools in Portland, OR, Lewisville Middle and Battle Ground High School, where she served as a math teacher, Rally advisor, Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, and eventually Principal. She also served as Principal of Lewisville Middle, Amboy Middle and Prairie High School.
Velda received national attention several times through the years, but none quite as interesting as when a bomb had been planted in the newly renovated Battle Ground High. After calling authorities and clearing the building, she was not going to let her new building be destroyed. She searched out and found the bomb, decided based on her knowledge of blasting to disarm it. She did just that and then carried it out to a large dumpster and threw it away. By the time the bomb squad arrived, she was ready to get everyone back into school. Beyond helping and working with others, she enjoyed playing piano, stitchery, calligraphy, crossword and sudoku puzzles, clam digging, making incredible food, and cheering for her favorite teams and athletes.
As a mother, teacher, mentor, friend, role model, and leader. Velda was always the very best and literally thousands of her “students” loved her and are better off because of her never-ending drive and energy. She was a pistol and will be greatly missed.
A celebration of life will be held July 23, at 10 a.m. in the Battle Ground High School Cafeteria at 300 Main Street, Battle Ground, WA 98604.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to The Amboy Territorial Days Association and Park, PO Box 203, Amboy, WA. 98601.
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Published by The Columbian on Jul. 11, 2021.
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Celebration of Life
Battle Ground High School Cafeteria
300 Main Street, Battle Ground, WA
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5 Entries
Velda was one of a kind. An intelligent, vibrant lady. She was so supportive of both Tim and Lynn when we began working in the BG District back in 1972. She loved the ag department and was a great support to all of the staff. When Lynn started back to school, Velda was there with advice on how to coordinate work, attend school, and raise a family - she had lived that already. She had an impact on so many people. We will miss her.
Tim and Lynn Hicks
July 19, 2021
Mrs. Sutton was a wonderful teacher and a lovely woman. She will be greatly missed.
sandi wellman pierce
July 15, 2021
Velda's passing will leave a huge hole within her family, and for that I'm very sorry. Velda was my fellow teacher at Battle Ground High School, and then she was my athletic director, vice-principal, and finally my principal. She was more than a colleague, she was a friend. I think the last line of her obituary, " She was a pistol and will be greatly missed," is particularly appropriate. I'm sure that if she were here to read it, she would agree.
Warren Bieker
July 13, 2021
Velda hired me to teach at Prairie High School 31 years ago! She was also the assistant principal at BGHS when I was in high school at Battle Ground High School from 76-80. So sorry for your loss. She touched so many people´s life over the years as an educator, I know she touched mine.
David Lemberg
July 11, 2021
So sorry for your loss. She will be missed by thousands. She was my role model from the time I met her many years ago. Rest In Peace, Velda
Vynnette Rettenmaier
July 11, 2021
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