Richard Henry Sutton was born in New Rochelle, NY, on July 19, 1932, during the Great Depression. A banker by trade, he worked his way up through the ranks of The Bank of New York ending his career as corporate vice-president of operations. Richard’s mother, Catherine Emily Scaffidi, raised chickens, sold eggs, baked pies, and later in her life became an artist painting still lifes and portraits of every member of her family. Richard’s father, Anthony T. Sutton, sold apples, boxed professionally under the name “Boom Boom Sutton,” brewed moonshine in his basement during Prohibition, opened his own private detective agency, and rented a store every December to sell Christmas trees and wreaths.
Richard graduated from Blessed Sacrament Grammar School and New Rochelle High School. After serving in the military and starting a family, Richard completed his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Iona College in New Rochelle in 1962.
He enlisted in the US Air Force serving from 1950-1953, when he was honorably discharged. He received the National Service Defense Medal.
Richard met Mary Godfrey in the bowling alley where he worked. They married June 2, 1956 and had their first child, Teresa Sutton, in 1958. They guarded her so carefully, the family nicknamed her “The Golden Nugget.” They had two boys, Jeffrey Sutton in 1960 and David Sutton in 1962. The family read bedtime stories every night, and made frequent excursions to the zoo or duck pond. They ate spaghetti and meatballs with “gravy” every Sunday, and fish on Fridays. Soon Richard and Mary bought a house at the north end of New Rochelle where they grew vegetables, planted a peach tree, and installed a swing set and basketball hoop. They went on summer vacations to pick blueberries, watch the race horses in Saratoga, and learn about historical sites.
Panic of the 1980s
Tragedy struck on Nov. 3, 1979, when the youngest, David, developed myocarditis and shortly after that, cardiomyopathy. Three weeks later, Jeff, came down with the same illness. David lived for four months, passing away on March 4, 1980. The date of his illness coincided with the taking of the Iranian Hostages at the American Embassy in Tehran and David measured the days of his illness with daily newspaper headlines that proclaimed the number of days the hostages were in captivity. Jeff lived for ten months, moving in the final months of his life to Palo Alto, CA, in hopes of receiving a heart transplant at Stanford University. His physician was the famed Dr. Norman Shumway, heart transplant pioneer. Jeff passed away on Sept. 29, 1980, before a heart donor could be found.
Retirement Years and Illness
Richard continued working at The Bank of New York until his retirement in 1992. He spent his retirement years attending daily mass at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in New Rochelle, NY. In 2011, he had a triple bypass at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Shortly after, he developed Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease with Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.
Richard is survived by his daughter, Teresa Sutton, of Poughkeepsie, and two grandchildren, Ryan Pierce of New Rochelle and Melissa Pierce of Albany. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Godfrey Sutton, in 1996, and his two sons, Jeffrey Thomas Sutton and David Richard Sutton, both in 1980. Richard is also survived by two brothers, Anthony F. Sutton of New Rochelle and Dexter Sutton (Anne-Marie Sutton) of Milford, CT, and his sister Geraldine Barrese (Joe Barrese) of Westerly, RI. He is predeceased by his brothers Rex Sutton and William Sutton and his sister Patricia Sutton. Richard is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Thursday 2-4 & 7-9pm at Lloyd Maxcy & Sons Beauchamp Chapel, Inc., 16 Shea Pl., New Rochelle. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday 10:30am at Holy Family Church. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.