Bridgeview Trustee Mary Sutton, who died Wednesday, chats with Community Service Representative Ken Pannaralla Jr., at a June 2022 board meeting. (Photo by Steve Metsch)
Longtime Bridgeview Trustee Mary Sutton, 88, dies
By Steve Metsch
Bridgeview Village Trustee Mary Sutton, who had served on the board since 1999, died early Wednesday, Mayor Steve Landek announced at the board’s matinee meeting.
Sutton “was dedicated to our community,” Landek said before the board paused for a moment of silence.
Sutton, who turned 88 in December, died of cancer, Trustee Patricia Higginson said. Services are pending. Sutton’s family was her in her home when she passed away, Higginson said.
Known for her sunny disposition and ever-present smile, Sutton was beloved by many in the village hall and throughout Bridgeview.
Higginson had trouble getting through her comments during the board meeting, her voice racked with emotion when thinking of her friend.
Sutton had missed several board meetings in recent months for health reasons.
Higginson and Sutton have been friends for more than 50 years, often taking vacations together. They frequently attended Fire and Red Star soccer games at SeatGeek Stadium.
“Everything. We did everything together,” Higginson said. “She’s like a family member.”
“We traveled together all over. Not that long ago, we were in Colorado together at a time-share. …. Never had a cross word. We’d laugh our heads off at different things that happened,” Higginson said.
Trustee Norma Pinion and Sutton were also vacation buddies.
“The last eight cruises, I went with Mary,” Pinion said.
“We got along so well and had so much fun together. I have trouble with my vision, she had trouble with her legs. She’d lead me around. She’d sit in a chair and I’d help her up because of her legs,” Pinion said. “We’d sit and laugh.”
Sutton was the first trustee appointed by Landek to the board in 1999. After he was elected mayor, he appointed Sutton to fill his vacant seat as trustee.
Given her history, she was an obvious choice, he said.
“She and her family were involved. They were in the (park district’s) floor hockey league in the 1970s, the baseball league, always volunteering to help the community.
“I thought she was the right person for the job,” Landek said.
“She always had a sunny disposition and always looked on the brighter side of everything. We’re going to miss her positive attitude,” Landek said.
Community Service Representative Ken Pannaralla Jr., who began working for the village in 2012, recalled how quickly he bonded with Sutton, who lived in his neighborhood.
“She gave me a big notebook of all the registered voters in the area. She knew them all,” he said with a smile. “She introduced me to a lot of people.”
“She is going to be missed. She was funny,” Pannaralla added.
Landek said Sutton “was very active, going all the time. When I realized she was 88, wow. … She was very upbeat, a pleasure to be around.”
Sutton and her late husband Roger have four children and many grandchildren with a third great-grandchild on the way, Higginson said.
A glimpse of Sutton’s playful nature was seen at a board meeting in February 2021.
After Pinion praised the village crews for removing snow promptly following a big storm a few days prior, Sutton decided to weigh in.
“Bridgeview has never had a bad snow day as far as our streets go, and I’ve lived here since 1957,” Sutton said. “We have never had snow on our streets. Never.”
Sutton’s weather report inspired Landek to smile and deadpan, “It’s always sunny in Bridgeview,” resulting in gales of laughter.
Sutton was not up for re-election this year. Landek said he will appoint someone to fill the remaining two years of her term.
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We lost a wonderful woman who loved her community and served it very well. May she rest in peace.