Sutherland always brought a smile

Print Article

Sandy Sutherland, left, and longtime friend Julie Beck share a laugh at Sutherland’s retirement in 2011.

It’s not very often that a person actually looks forward to checking out groceries at the store, but Sandy Sutherland always made it a little bit nicer.

Sutherland passed away late last month and Columbia Falls lost one of its shining stars.

I did a story of Sutherland’s retirement from Smith’s Food and Drug back in 2011.

She started as a cashier at what was then the Fred Meyer B&B Grocery in 1975. She never left.

“I decided I loved it here,” she said. “It was the right decision.”

For 35 years she was a cashier in the same building, chatting it up with customers as they went through her line. To be sure, if you were in a big hurry, you didn’t pick Sutherland’s line. But there’s more to life than blasting through a grocery store, and chatting with Sandy was always sure to bring a smile.

In 2011 her plan was to move to Washington to be closer to family, but she returned shortly thereafter.

She was a great Wildcat fan and supporter and she went back to work greeting folks and taking entrance fees to multiple Columbia Falls sport events over the remaining years, always with that big smile and down-home, good-natured attitude.

Sutherland truly did “bleed blue.”

She’ll be missed.


Tried to hike in Saturday’s rain up the Howe Ridge Fire Trail in Glacier Park. The trail isn’t used much and it shows. The trip started out OK, but it became pretty obvious after the first half mile or so that people get on it, realize it really doesn’t have any views and then turn around.

Then the real fun begins, because the route pretty much completely brushes in and turns into one of those journeys where you feel the trail with your feet, not with your eyes.

Add a pouring rain and some fog and it becomes even more “pleasant.”

At any rate, we followed it to the junction of the Howe Lake Trail and then hit the Howe Ridge Fire, where it looks like the fire did a pretty good job of not just damaging the tread, but completely obliterating it in some places.

It pretty much looks like a bomb went off up there, which, in essence, it did.

If it had been a nicer day we probably would have poked around and tried to find the route. But once in the burn, the dirt turned to gumbo and we bagged it and turned around.

Back at the truck a few hours later I noticed the water was literally shooting out of the pockets of my rain pants.

More fun in paradise.

Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Columns

The joys of cooking

October 16, 2019 at 7:50 am | Hungry Horse News So the other day I’d had a couple and when I was done grilling whatever it was I was grilling I cut a squash in half and threw it on the grill, skin side up, just for fun. Then I went back into the ...


Read More

Of locks and rocks

October 16, 2019 at 7:42 am | Lake County Leader A classic George Ostrom column, from June, 1989... I’ve been requested to not report this week about Dan Lundgren’s wife Corinne and my wife Iris locking themselves out of their car on Going-to-the-...


Read More

Sun Road plan deserves a closer look

October 09, 2019 at 10:20 am | Hungry Horse News Twenty years ago, the Going-to-the-Sun Road advisory committee had its first meeting. The committee was formed with a lot of help from Montana’s congressional delegation after the Park Service propos...


Read More

Griz gas and porkypines

October 09, 2019 at 7:25 am | Lake County Leader A classic George Ostrom column, from June, 1989... How ironic! It was just a year ago when a sheriff’s officer made headlines by accidentally triggering one of those pressurized bear repellant cans ...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2019 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy