Marjorie Ellen Rowett was born August 1, 1921, to Victor C. and Lottie Mellen Rowett in Mountain Home, Idaho. She grew up there, then attended the University of Idaho, where she was active as a cheerleader for the freshman football team. It was her skill as a dancer that attracted young Charles Sutherland, who was also a freshman at the University of Idaho. Charles “Chuck” F. Sutherland was born October 1, 1921, in Camp Grant, Illinois. His father was an Army officer, and after World War I, he was transferred around the country teaching ROTC at various college campuses. His mother died when he was four years old, and Chuck was sent to Mississippi to live with an aunt. Once his father remarried, Chuck returned to live with him, first in Oklahoma, then Hawaii, Montana, and finally Idaho, where Chuck remained to finish high school and begin studying forestry at the University. Chuck was inducted into the service in 1940, first in the cavalry, which was abolished to become a field artillery unit. He was stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington, then sent overseas. Marjorie quit school and moved to California to continue her education.
Chuck and Marjorie became engaged while Chuck was in the military, and after his years of service in Australia and New Guinea, he returned home. They were married October 24, 1944, in Mountain Home. They returned to school at the University of Idaho to finish their degrees, graduating together in 1948. Marjorie’s degree was in business and Chuck’s in forestry. Their first child, son Charles II, was born in Moscow, Idaho, in 1946. Their second son, David, was born in Lewiston in 1949, after the small family moved to Headquarters, Idaho, where Chuck worked for Potlach Forests. They lived in the small “company town” for five years but eventually agreed that this was not where they wanted to live forever. That meant another move, this time for Chuck to return to school in Moscow, Idaho, while Marjorie taught school in Genesee. Their third child, son Richard, was born in 1952.
Chuck decided to continue his education in the PhD program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Marjorie, meanwhile, earned her master’s degree and worked at the University’s experimental school teaching business subjects. Their daughter, Ann, was born in Michigan in 1957, just before the family moved from Ann Arbor to St. Paul, Minnesota. There, Chuck worked for eighteen months with the Forest Service Research Station and Marjorie enjoyed raising their children. Soon, an opportunity arose for Chuck to teach at Oregon State University. They moved once more to Corvallis, Oregon, where he took a position with the College of Forestry. Their fifth child, Kevin, was born in 1959 in Corvallis, and it wasn’t long after that when Marjorie began teaching at Corvallis High School.
Marjorie was a mentor for the young people of Corvallis. She taught business courses at both high schools and led the local Future Business Leaders of America. Her legacy of caring and commitment is being carried on through a gift from her family that has created the Marjorie Rowett Sutherland Scholarship Fund. Chuck and his family established the fund to provide assistance to business students graduating from either Corvallis or Crescent Valley High Schools. “Marjorie was an excellent teacher,” Chuck recalls. “Every now and then, I meet a student who had her as a teacher and really liked her.” When the new high school was built, Marjorie moved with the first group of teachers to open Crescent Valley High School. She was very active in the Corvallis Teachers Association, and worked with the Professional Association for Business Teachers of Oregon, both on the board of directors and with statewide activities. In 1969–1970, both Marjorie and Chuck earned sabbatical leaves, which they spent at Harvard University and Boston University in Massachusetts.Marjorie also served on the vestry of the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan and worked with the Alpha Phi Sorority alumni organization as a board member. She was also a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa honorary association for teachers. Family and teaching, however, formed the mainstay of her life. In the early 1970s, a diagnosis of breast cancer forced her to leave teaching. She didn’t let it stop her completely, however. She became involved in the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, serving on the board of directors for the Benton County Unit. She eventually lost her personal struggle with the disease on March 10, 1981.
Charles retired from his position as associate professor of Forestry at OSU in 1985. He remarried, to a lifelong friend of his and Marjorie’s, Elaine Mellen—in fact, they were all in college together at the University of Idaho, and Elaine’s first husband was Marjorie’s first cousin. Elaine had come to Corvallis in 1964 to do graduate work in Home Economics, then taught at Philomath High School for fourteen years. She then “graduated” to teaching at OSU, where she taught for ten years before retiring early in 1991. Charles passed away October, 2012 at Twin Firs Foster Home. He was 91.
Chuck and Elaine both have been involved with Habitat for Humanity and Crossroads International. Together they have attended numerous Elderhostel programs and other travels. Elaine has been active with the Assistance League of Corvallis and was nominated in 2000 as Senior First Citizen. The scholarship is awarded to CHS and CV graduates majoring in business.