Shirley Jones Sutton

Honored by:Karen Sutton, John Sutton and Debbie Blanchard
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Shirley Jones Sutton is being honored in the Plaza of Heroines by her children not only for her personal and professional accomplishments, but also for the way in which she has lived her life, which taught us much about living ours. She has accomplished many things because of her belief in God, in herself, in her family, and in other people. She has brought to her life a sense of adventure--the willingness to look in new directions and explore new opportunities. Her commitment to helping others--through her involvement in politics, in women's rights, in support of the homeless, and in everyday living--has been an enduring theme throughout her life.

Shirley Jones Sutton was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on February 20th and reared in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1953, she married Clark A. Sutton, and subsequently had three children, Deborah, Karen, and John. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and Northwestern University in Chicago.

After graduation from high school she worked as a business office representative and service analyst for Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania. She actively participated in the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania including holding the office of President for both the Upper St. Clair chapter and the Allegheny County League, and she was a member of the State Board. She was highly involved in voter education and community issues such as civil rights and women's rights including the Equal Rights Amendment. As Executive Director of Pittsburgh's Project Pacesetter, Shirley managed a pilot program involving all sectors of the community in energy conservation. She was a representative of the American's for Energy Independence in Washington, DC on issues of energy conservation and alternative sources of energy. Shirley cofounded Contact Chicago, a 24 hour telephone crisis line, and served as director of the organization for ten years. In addition to providing a broad range of crisis intervention services, Contact Chicago established a message relay service for the hearing impaired.

Her active participation in churches in the Pittsburgh, Chicago and Sandwich, Massachusetts areas has included implementing and supporting outreach programs with special emphasis on problems for the homeless.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, what is striking about her life is the combination of patience and balance she has shown us through the years. She has always been a nurturing, supportive parent--putting her family first. At the same time she has known when it was appropriate even necessary for her to pursue her needs as an individual.

We are honoring our mother Shirley Jones Sutton as a heroine--a brave woman, a woman of admirable valor--for the patience, steadfastness, sense of adventure, courage, love, concern for others, and commitment to her beliefs that have marked her life. Thank you for being a loving mother and role model to us, and to those whose lives you have touched.

Submitted on 7/1/96