Cover photo for Janet Coty Sutherland's Obituary
Janet Coty Sutherland Profile Photo
1922 Janet 2020

Janet Coty Sutherland

June 5, 1922 — June 1, 2020

DURHAM, NC and PORTAGE LAKE, ME – Janet Sutherland, 97, died June 1, 2020 at Brookdale Durham Senior Living Center. She was born June 5, 1922 in Macamic, Quebec, daughter of David and Julienne (Dionne) Coty. Janet spent most of her life in Portage Lake, Maine. While working at Tanguay’s Restaurant/Hotel (that later became Dean’s) in Portage, she met her soon-to-be husband, Bob, a young clerk who worked across the street at Coffin’s General Store. She always maintained a positive attitude as she weathered life’s challenges, starting in her newly married years when husband Bob left to serve abroad in World War II leaving her to raise their young son Jimmy.

Janet liked to keep busy. In addition to being a diligent homemaker, supportive wife to Bob (Portage Postmaster), and responsibly raising her 3 children, she also found time to run a neighborhood “Grace Holmes Club Plan” for a number of years, held down a full-time job at Potato Service in Presque Isle for 5 years working the night shift, cleaned camps for seasonal residents, and clerked at Coffin’s store for a time. Janet even developed a bit of a reputation during the annual Northern Maine potato harvests - a newspaper article from 1951 declared her to be a “Champion Picker”, as nominated by the Carmichael Farms in Caribou for Janet having picked a record of 427 barrels of potatoes in 3 ½ days during their fall harvest. She could move around very quickly in the potato fields. Small in stature, she continued to be remain quite agile throughout her lifetime.

Janet is remembered for generously giving of her time and talents, and of baking her own breads, donuts, cookies, pies, and mastering recipes for delicious baked beans, potato salads and cabbage rolls. In her later years she enjoyed knitting and crafts, attending to her flowers, keeping up her lawn, and planting trees around her Portage home. She enjoyed taking part in Church functions, both in her own Catholic Parish and then later at the various Senior Living Centers where she has resided since leaving Portage in 2008 (Penfield NY, Fairport NY and now Durham, NC). She also enjoyed spending time with her three grown children and their families, and would travel to Laguna Beach CA, NYC and/or Rochester NY for month-long visits during the long winter months. She was quick to tell everyone who asked that she “seemed to be happy” and “she didn’t feel her age”, even up to her last months when the dementia was removing more of her memories and limiting her ability to do the things she always enjoyed doing.

Janet was predeceased by her parents, her husband Bob (1991), two brothers – Marshall and Belford, and four sisters – Annie, Mary, Sally, and Amelia. Janet is survived by her three children: James (Ann) Sutherland of Roanoke, VA, Linda Goelz of Chapel Hill NC/NYC, and Jack (Robin) Sutherland of Durham NC; four grandchildren: Laurie, Gary, Jaclyn and Jared Sutherland; two brothers: David Coty of Mapleton, ME and Maurice (Jeannette) Coty of Molunkus, ME; and two sisters: Liz Aguirre (Los Angeles CA) and Laura Neal (Diamond Bar, CA); and special sisters-in-law Jeanne St. Pierre, Sandra Porter and Gail Sutherland (all of Ashland ME).

A private graveside committal service for family will be held at a later date. Those who may wish to remember Janet in a special way can designate gifts in her name to Northwood Manor Assisted Living Center, 35 Walker Street, Ashland ME 04732. Condolences to the family may be expressed at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Janet Coty Sutherland, please visit our flower store.


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