John Augustus Suther, 80, of Concord, slipped the surly bonds of earth and has made his final flight, joining our Savior in Heaven. John passed away Friday, October 12, 2012 at his home in Concord. He was preceded in death by his parents, John D. Suther and Gladys Ritchie Suther and brother George Suther. Surviving siblings are Louis Suther and Linda Herring of Concord and Charlie Suther of Stanley.
Col. Suther is also survived by his wife Martha Rheta Suther and three sons; David of Concord, Greg and wife Jan of Wilmington, and John of Charlotte; grandchildren Kelsey, Katie, Cody, Brandon, Austin, Mattie, and Sam Suther.
Born on April 20, 1932 on the family farm near Mt. Pleasant, NC, he developed a strong work ethic while growing up and helping on the farm. He graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School in 1950 and went on to attend Lenoir Rhyne College, North Carolina State University, and earned his Bachelor's degree from State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
In 1954 he enrolled in the United States Air Force Aviation Cadet program and earned his pilot wings in 1955. Over the course of his 32 year career he became a Command Pilot while accumulating over 7000 flying hours in 12 different aircraft including 119 combat missions flying B52's during the Vietnam conflict. In the late 1960's, he was one of the very first qualified instructor pilots on the then new FB-111A Fighter Bomber. Throughout his career he served in several leadership roles including squadron commander up through Director of Operations of the 45th Air Division. He retired in 1985 with the rank of Full Colonel.
After his retirement from the Air Force, he built his dream home on the family farm and became very active in the community. He was a lifelong member St. John's Lutheran Church, where he taught Sunday school for many years. He recently served as Chairman of the St. John's Heritage Building Committee. He was instrumental in seeing the new building and historical repository project through to completion. He was also past President of the Mt. Pleasant Lion's Club, past President of St. John's Grange, and a Board Member of the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society and the North Carolina State Grange.
He had a love of history and genealogy and enjoyed traveling all over the world in recent years. One of his true joys was giving tours of the "Suther Prairie" to various groups on the farm. He was very proud of all his grandchildren and always tried to attend their many sporting and other events.
The family will receive friends at Gordon Funeral Home in Mt. Pleasant from 3 to 5 PM Sunday, October 14th. The funeral service will be at St. John's Lutheran Church in Concord at 11 AM on Monday, October 15th.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. John's Lutheran Church Heritage Building Fund, 100 St. John's Church Road, Concord, NC 28025.