Ink industry mourns Jimmy Sutphin: former president of Braden Sutphin Ink, NAPIM executive director remembered by colleagues.
The son of Al and Mary Sutphin, Jimmy Sutphin was renowned for his community service, with the Rotary Club of Hudson and other civic and religious organizations. The Rotary Club of Hudson honored him with the "The Service Above Self Award" for his countless efforts on behalf of the community.
"He had done it all for the Rotary Club, from being on committees to serving as Santa Claus," Cal Sutphin recalled. "He would ride in the Memorial Day Parade dressed as Uncle Sam, and when the Olympic torch passed through Columbus, OH, he even carried the torch for a mile."
His long service to the ink industry began when he was 16, when he started in the shipping room at Braden Sutphin Ink, rising to president in 1967 before retiring in 1985.
Sutphin then joined NAPIM as assistant executive director in 1989, working with executive director James Renson until Renson retired in 1991. As NAPIM's executive director from 1991-96, Jimmy Sutphin helped lead NAPIM to where it stands today.
"I figured it would be a great way to give back to the industry," he said recently.
Jim Leitch, Braden Sutphin Ink's CEO, has many fond memories of his Uncle Jim (Leitch's mother Carolyn was one of jimmy's four older sisters).
"Uncle Jim was always the organizer for family events," Leitch recalled. "Some of these were family events, especially the 4th of July. My grandparents had six kids, and in total, we had 28 cousins. So these events were also big. And everything always revolved around a sporting event--softball games, football games, pick up basketball games. The other youth memory was that if you went to a professional sporting event, Uncle Jim always had a betting game as part of the game. Every one would pick a player who was going to have the most hits or score the most points. You never went to a game just to watch the game."
"As an adult, my favorite memory is how giving Jimmy was," Leitch added. "He volunteered for everything and was involved in everything. He was Ben Franklin at the Printers Ball, he was Uncle Sam on the 4th of July, and you came to understand that in life you must give back."
Jim Coleman followed Sutphin as NAPIM executive director in 1996, and spoke of his friendship and service.
"His friendship was very valued by me," Coleman said. "He was a teacher for a lot of people. He was so heavily involved in his community. He was a heck of a guy."
NAPIM executive director Brad Bergey spoke of Jimmy Sutphin as a friendly, joyful person.
"Jimmy was a good friend and I am so lucky to have known him," said Bergey. "During Jimmy's funeral, I remembered this quote and thought how fitting it was to describe Jimmy's life: 'When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.'
"Jimmy wasn't a boastful person nor did he always need all the attention; he was a man large in generosity and had an enormous will to live a joyful life," Bergey continued. "He enjoyed making everyone happy. He always had a piece of paper and pen with him to write down notes so he wouldn't forget the important things about conversations you had with him, such as your kids' names and ages, or where you were from or company you were with."
George Fuchs, director regulatory affairs and technology for NAPIM, was hired by Jimmy Sutphin in 1993 as the manager of environmental affairs and information systems.
"I've known Jimmy Sutphin since he and Jim Renson hired me to work at NAPIM in the mid-1990s," Fuchs said. "'Inky Jim' as he was fondly known, was without doubt one of the kindest and most gentle persons I have ever known--a true gentleman. He was a man of truly wonderful and uplifting character whose good natured sense of humor could lift anyone's spirits.
"I honestly never tired of hearing Jimmy's remarkably detailed and generally amusing memories and recollections of his childhood and adolescence in Cleveland, OH and his early years working with his dad at Braden Sutphin," Fuchs added. "Jimmy's dad, Al Sutphin, engendered in Jimmy a love of all types of amateur and professional sports. In fact, Jimmy's father took the family to Helsinki to attend the Summer Olympics in 1952.
"Jimmy had an encyclopedic memory for all types of information," Fuchs recalled. "This was backed up his vast hard copy filing system - the equal or better of any computer database! He never ceased to amaze with his remarkable ability to recall detailed information on almost any topic of conversation - always infusing it with a sense of humor and amusement."
Jimmy Sutphin's friendliness is one thing that Fuchs recalled fondly.
"While Jimmy was NAPIM's executive director, we would make frequent visits to our membership across the country," Fuchs said. "To this day I have never known anyone with his incredible ability to almost immediately establish a friendly, relaxed and sociable rapport with people whom he had never met. It wasn't just his ability to bring up interesting, relevant, local or sports facts--it was more his innate ability to relate to almost anyone quickly with this friendly and disarming demeanor and quiet affable manner. He was truly unique and remarkable in this regard.
"One of my favorite stories was one in which Jimmy was golfing with an older gentleman who became fatigued midway through the round," Fuchs added. "Jimmy being the kind hearted person that he was offered to shuttle the older gentleman back to the clubhouse. Upon returning to finish the round, the golf cart lost its brakes on a very steep downhill section of the course. Hanging on, Jimmy piloted the cart to the bottom of the hill, at which point it hit a slight incline and was launched over a shallow ravine and collided into the opposing side. The force of the impact catapulted Jimmy out of the front of the cart doing a complete airborne somersault and landing on his feet--as he described it 'as if I was walking up to the green.' Truly a remarkable fellow who I will always remember with great affection and admiration."
"At NAPIM, we knew him fondly as Inky Jim, and will always remember him as one of our most charismatic, passionate and caring leaders," Bergey concluded. "I had a conversation with Jim Leitch, Jimmy's nephew from Braden Sutphin, before his funeral and he told me to be prepared because it will not be a time for us to grieve his death but to celebrate his life; that's what he would have wanted. I was always so impressed about how much he cared for others, especially his family. You knew he held the most precious spot in his heart for his wife Louise. He always signed his notes to me as Sweet Louise and Inky. There is so much we learned from and will remember about Jimmy."
Leitch said that Jimmy Sutphin was "one of a kind."
"He was the kind of guy that made everyone feel part of whatever you were involved with," Leitch noted. "He was always doing employee morale events, team building events, asking for employee involvement. He was involved in all the print clubs and would call everyone to come to the meetings.
"I think that is why NAPIM was perfect for him.... getting the ink companies and suppliers involved," Leitch added. "He was always worried about not being technical enough at NAPIM, but the industry had lots of great 'ink' people. However there was only one 'Inky Jim' Sutphin, and his friendship to everyone and kindness towards everyone will be missed but never forgotten."
Jimmy Sutphin is survived by his wife, Louise (Dolence); children Mary Louise Sutphin, James H. Sutphin Jr., Ann Elizabeth Nock (Mike) and Susan Bernadette Sutphin; five grandchildren; two sisters, Jane Leitch and Alberta Stoney, and one brother, Cal Sutphin. He was predeceased by his two sisters, Mary Sutphin and Carolyn Leitch.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Right to Life and the Haven of Rest, Akron, OH.
BY DAVID SAVASTANO
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|Date:||Jul 1, 2015|
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