Boats 02

William "Mac" McCann Sutherland

February 17, 1950 ~ October 4, 2020 (age 70)

Obituary

William “Mac” McCann Sutherland of Fairfield, Iowa, died peacefully on October 4th, 2020 of natural causes resulting from a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.  Clear and aware, Mac was surrounded by his local family of wife Marilyn, first son Jonah in Portland, OR, joining via second present son Michael's cellphone, and Michael's wife Danielle. Vedic administrator Jennifer Hamilton, RN, Death Midwife, was present. Faith Barr-Shimone, LPN assisted.

Born in 1950 in Jersey City, NJ to Betsy Hart McCann Sutherland and William Harrison Sutherland, Mac followed his passion for wooden boat building from Kensington, Maryland to two years in London and then UWC Atlantic College in a Hearst castle in Wales, UK, where he later worked with a now-famous catamaran designer.  Back in the US at age 19, he did woodworking projects, learned Transcendental Meditation, attended wooden boat school in Seattle, WA, where he later built and restored wooden boats. He arrived in Fairfield, IA in 1979 to help build the first Maharishi Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge. While doing some finer details, he steam-bent the arched framing for all 120+ windows.

Founding Sutherland Woodworking in 1980, Mac built masterful custom wooden creations, crafting countless projects for the Fairfield community and beyond.  They included large and smaller projects from complex pillars to tall, graceful church window frames to bed frames, tables, Ayurvedic treatment tables, bookcases, stereo cabinets, bank and office counters, the conference table at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center and a high entrance counter for the Cambridge Investment Group, Inc.  He also designed wooden boat tools including his high-precision, stainless steel Bevel Boss and hand-made brass bevels, marketing them through Sutherland Tool starting in 2000.  Sadly, the Depot Building fire, the biggest here in 100 years, destroyed his 4000-square-foot woodworking shop in 2011.

Mac started the Maharishi Sthapatya Veda Builders Association in 1988, and served as president.  Assisted by wife Marilyn, and with baby Michael in a basket beside them, they, with about 20 local builders and interested members, started a movement here to build according to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda.  Environmentalists came from Colorado, Hawaii, Sweden and elsewhere to speak in several of MSVBA’s weekend conferences given in Maharishi International University’s former Learning Center.  Some former members are still involved today in MIU’s Sustainable Living Program. 

Mac’s passion for cutting-edge technologies led him to start an electric vehicle group.  They obtained two prototype electric vehicles from an electric company in 1990.  Mac also enjoyed sailing, windsurfing, and playing Celtic folk music on his concertina.

Mac is lovingly remembered by his wife of 33 years, Marilyn Mackey Sutherland, siblings Howard and Beth, sons Jonah and Michael with his wife Danielle, and grandchildren Quinntin, Killian, and Immoria. It is touching to note that Mac was aware that, God willing, twin boys are due in February.  He will be long-appreciated and honored for his fine furniture and structural designs, expansive understanding of woods and of boatbuilding, and for his clear memory, creativity, wit, world-wide wisdom and eclectic curiosity.

Mac’s pre-cremation ceremony was on 10/7/20, and was attended via Zoom by family and friends throughout the United States and Canada. 

Tribute Donations in Mac’s memory may be made at: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research .

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