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Obituary for Shirley Sutton

SHIRLEY ELOISE ACKISS SUTTON, of Virginia Beach, fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, March 24, after a long illness. She was 88. She was born on March 3, 1929, to Johnson Washington Ackiss, Sr., and Mary Eloise Canoles Ackiss. She is predeceased by her older brother, Maj. Johnson W. Ackiss, Jr.

An Honor graduate and Valedictorian of her class at Maury High School in Norfolk, she also came from a long line of musical and artistic talent, excelling at them both. It was on the stairs at Maury, where friends set them up, that she met and eventually married her husband of 64 years, Gayle W. Sutton, Sr. Both of them enthusiasts of the "Big Band" sound, she and Gayle formed The Moonlighters Orchestra where she sang and played piano. Shirley had been a member of "The Common Glory" choir at The College of William & Mary, and was among a handful of its members chosen to visit the White House to sing for President Truman.

A devoted wife and mother to her three children, she was a homemaker for many years, and later returned to work at NDC Medical Center as a certified medical transcriptionist, until she retired. A favorite of both the physicians and her co-workers, she was often voted "Employee of the Month", and was awarded "Medical Transcriptionist of the Year" more than once. Her supervisors deemed Shirley to "always have a positive attitude and...the kind of personality that keeps everyone else's morale up".

A lifelong member of the Christadelphian faith, she was active in her ecclesia and lent her musical talents as their organist for over 40 years. Above her numerous academic and professional achievements, it is her faith, her love and loyalty to friends and family, her kindness, humour and beautiful spirit that will outshine them all as her lasting legacy.

Prov. 31:28, 29

"Her children rise up and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."
She is survived by her husband, Gayle Wesley Sutton, Sr., children, Nancy Sutton Dillingham LeMay Morales Ravise-Noel, Karen Eloise Sutton and Gayle Wesley Sutton, Jr., grandchildren, Joshua David Dillingham and Jason Thomas Dillingham (great-grandchildren: Keymani, Jasmyn and Jason, Jr.), nieces Terry Ackiss Schuler, Ellen Sutton Rockwood and Laurie Sutton Goldschmidt, and nephews Johnson W. Ackiss III, David Ackiss and Glen Ackiss.

The family wishes to extend their sincerest thanks to caregiver Ann Esperanza, her family and staff for the exceptional and loving care given to our dear mother in her last month.

A graveside service will take place at 12 Noon on Wednesday, March 29, 2016 at Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, with Brother Mark Giordano officiating.

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