Sutherland Denlinger

Published: May 22, 2019 at 09:30 am


Sutherland William Gilmore Denlinger, known as Bill (and Big Bill), died on May 15, 2019, at age 80.

Bill is survived by his wife, Patricia (Boutell) Denlinger; his children, Carley Lee (Harry), James Denlinger (Tracey), Julia Raab (Dean), and Diane Savinelli (Michael); twelve grandchildren, Michael (Stephany), Danny and Billy Lee, Julia and Sam Denlinger, Matt, Emily, Joe, and Eleanor Raab, Beth, Sarah, and Peter Savinelli; and one great-grandchild, Jamie Lee Forsythe.

Bill was born on September 30, 1938, in Manhattan, N.Y., to Sutherland and Frances Millen Denlinger. He eventually moved to Connecticut and graduated from Staples High School in Westport. Following his graduation from the University of Connecticut in 1960, he married his high school sweetheart and received his commission in the United States Army. After leaving active duty as a Captain, he started working for the Hartford Insurance Company and enrolled in night school at the University of Connecticut School of Law. After receiving his JD, he practiced briefly in Bridgeport before moving to Newtown, where he opened a solo general law practice with a specialty in zoning law. Throughout his career, he never hesitated to engage in pro bono work to assist members of the community.

Bill was deeply involved in community service throughout his 40 years in Newtown and treasured all of the close friends he and Pat made during these years. He held leadership roles in many organizations, including the Jaycees, Big Brothers, Newtown Summer Festival, and Newtown Housing for the Elderly, of which he was a founding member. The Newtown Lions Club honored him with many awards during his years as a member and president and recognized his long service with a life membership. He was also very involved in Pop Warner Football, Newtown Girls Softball, Little League, Community Action Newtown, Newtown Democratic Town Committee, Newtown Historical Society, and the Newtown Fund. He was elected to serve as a member and chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Newtown Board of Education. He was a member of Trinity Church and served as an usher for many years. Bill was also president of Rock Ridge Country Club, and after losing many golf balls, was awarded a lifetime membership. He loved golf, all games, and especially winning!

His friends remember his sense of humor and his ever-present pipe. His children remember his wit and that he never missed a game! They have also tried to carry forward his dedication to community service. His grandchildren will always remember walks along the train tracks to the ice cream shop, afternoons in the pool, and his famous “secret ingredient.”

Bill and Pat moved to Heritage Village in 2008, and Bill also contributed to the community in Southbury by serving on the Heritage Village Legal Committee.

Bill was predeceased by his sister, Marion Denlinger Callum.

The family would like to thank all the staff and administration at Candlewood Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center for the excellent and compassionate care Bill had received over the past two years.

Friends may call at Honan Funeral Home in Newtown on Friday, June 7, from 5 to 8 pm. All are welcome to attend a celebration of Bill’s life on Saturday, June 8, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown at 10:30 am.

Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at

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