In Remembrance
AFFIRMING AN INCLUSIVE PRIESTHOOD, ROOTED IN A REFORMED AND RENEWED CHURCH

Sutton, Edgar

Atlanta, GA, July 29, 2000

Edgar "Ed"Sutton, a priest, a father, and a longtime member of CORPUS, died on July 29 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was 69 years old. He is survived by his wife, Carol, a daughter, Kristen Henshaw, and a son, Michael Sutton.

Ed was born in Suffolk, Virginia - the son of Litha Earl and James Edgar Sutton, Sr.  He went to school at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburgh, Maryland. Ed was a descendant of a Cherokee chief. His ancestors avoided the "Trail of Tears" by hiding when the Cherokee Indians were forced to migrate to a reservation in the West.  During the Korean War, he proudly served as a sharpshooter and staff sergeant in the Marine Corps.  He was ordained in 1962 and served as a priest in Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Suffolk, Virginia.  As a priest he was highly regarded.  He and Carol were married on February 4, 1970.

Even as a husband and father, Ed was always a priest. He continued to celebrate Mass privately to the very end. He was an Oblate of an Ecumenical Third Order of St. Francis. He was deeply hurt by the rejection he experienced when he resigned from parish work to marry. He was unable to find employment in Virginia, where he grew up and where he had served as a priest.  He was finally hired by a Jewish friend, and moved to Florida. He and his family ultimately settled in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.  For many years, for the sake of his family,  he felt it was necessary to conceal his ordination, but even during that period, he maintained membership in CORPUS.

Ed’s death came quickly, and was a surprise for many of his friends. For the past few years, his health had been failing but no one, including Ed, was aware of the seriousness of his illness.  Since he was a veteran, he finally turned to the V.A. for treatment.  There he was diagnosed as having bone cancer.  He died two weeks to the day after this diagnosis.  Priests of St. John Newman's parish presided at his wake and funeral, which took place at Heaven's Hill Funeral Home in Snellville, Georgia, a suburb Atlanta. Few people knew that he was a priest, so the family put his stole under his shirt.

Ed’s daughter, Kristen Henshaw, writes: "I have so many fond memories of my Dad, but there are a few that stand out in particular. My Dad was a wonderful storyteller, and we always looked forward to him telling stories about our family, the past, or even of historical events and places that he was so fond of learning about himself, and about which he knew a great deal. But one of my favorite story-times with my Dad was to hear him read from Uncle Remus' stories about Brer Rabbit and al his friends. He would imitate each character's voice and exaggerate his face and his accent, so that the stories became so very vivid.  My Dad also used to get my brother and me up at the crack of dawn, when we were kids at my Grandma's lake house at Lake Sinclair, to go fishing. He would make coffee for all of us (with lots of Cremora!, and we would sit on the dock in the early morning mist and whisper to each other so we wouldn't scare the fish away. We would sit like that for hours, and enjoyed every minute of it."

"My Dad taught my brother and me respect and courtesy for others, and instilled in us the pride of family heritage - to learn where we came from and who we are now, and to lay a strong foundation for our family's future....I love my Dad, and I miss him terribly. But I know that he is watching over us now, and one day we will see him again, by the grace of God."

I'm sure that today, Ed is saying to his family and friends, in the words of Jesus: "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again I leave the world and go to the Father" Jn. 16:28)

On Saturday, August 26, members of CORPUS, together with friends and family, gathered together at 5:00 p.m. to celebrate the Mass for the Burial of a Priest, at The Anglican Church of St. Francis of Assisi, 9456 South Main Street, Jonesboro, Georgia.  Members of CORPUS concelebrated with the Anglican Bishop, Peter Brewer, presiding.

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