Harold S. Sutliff, 89, a longtime Gloversville resident, passed away peacefully on June 14, 2013, at his home, Soltera Senior Living, in Show Low, Arizona. Harold was born October 10, 1923, in Gloversville, the son of George and Mildred (Harris) Sutliff.
Hal was a 1941 graduate of Gloversville High School, where he excelled in both basketball and baseball. He stayed at GHS for a post-graduate year, then attended Springfield College to further his education and basketball career. Hal left Springfield in December 1942 to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was commissioned a lieutenant, trained as a fighter pilot, and assigned to the 14th Air Corps in China, the famous "Fighting Tigers." In August 1944, Lt. Sutliff's P-47 Thunderbolt was shot down over occupied China. Over the next 30 days, with the aid of the Chinese underground, he was able to make it back to his base. He continued to serve overseas until the war's end and was awarded the Bronze Star for his part in defending the vital Burma Road.
After returning home, Hal enrolled at Cortland College, where he was a star on the basketball team that defeated national power Colgate in early 1946. A broken leg suffered during a baseball game ended his college career, and he returned to Gloversville and entered the sporting goods business. With later help from his sons, Harold owned and operated the Gloversville Sport Shop for over fifty years. He was a pioneer in the ski industry, and before its sale in 2005, the Sport Shop was the oldest family-owned ski shop in the USA.
Harold Sutliff and sons
At various times during his life, Hal also owned the Speculator Sport Shop, the Circular Grill and the Royal Mountain ski shop, umpired in the former Canadian-American Baseball League, and was a well respected basketball referee. He was an avid golfer and liked nothing better than winning (although usually losing) a dollar or two from his pals at the Pine Brook Golf Club.
Harold is survived by: his four sons, Michael (Patricia) of Essex Junction, Vt., Larry (Sandra) of Littleton, Colo., Andy (Linda) of Show Low, Ariz., and Chris (Mary Sue) of Aurora, Colo.; six grandchildren, Amy Willis (Dan) of Indianapolis, Ind., Matthew Sutliff (Jessica) of Essex Junction, Vt., Alexander and Dilan Sutliff of Littleton, Colo., and Daniel and Andrew Sutliff of Aurora, Colo.; and two great-grandchildren, Morgan Sutliff and Eduardo Willis. He is also survived by his second wife, Margaret, his long-time companion, Sara Ann Burkart, and The Blaiser. He was predeceased by his first wife, Eleanor, in 2011; and his sister, Dorothy, in 1989.
There will be no services, at Mr. Sutliff's request. Memorial contributions in his memory may be made to Meals on Wheels at Fulton County Office for the Aging, 19 N. William, Johnstown, where he was a volunteer driver for many years.