William Irwin Sunderland obituary photo
 
In Memory of

William Irwin Sunderland

December 13, 1929 - August 10, 2017

Obituary


William Irwin "Bill" Sunderland of Sandy Springs died August 10, 2017. He was born in Baltimore MD, to Lida Elizabeth Irwin and Pearson Sunderland on December 13, 1929. He spent his early years in Baltimore, graduating from McDonogh School, and is an alumnus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh NC. He was a longtime resident of Sandy Springs and a founding member of The Church of the Atonement (now HECC).

Growing up as an asthmatic, his childhood pursuits were limited to quiet activities. At age 7, given a bar of soap and a...

William Irwin "Bill" Sunderland of Sandy Springs died August 10, 2017. He was born in Baltimore MD, to Lida Elizabeth Irwin and Pearson Sunderland on December 13, 1929. He spent his early years in Baltimore, graduating from McDonogh School, and is an alumnus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh NC. He was a longtime resident of Sandy Springs and a founding member of The Church of the Atonement (now HECC).

Growing up as an asthmatic, his childhood pursuits were limited to quiet activities. At age 7, given a bar of soap and a pen knife, he began transforming bars of soap into delicate carvings of animals and by age 12 won a national contest sponsored by Proctor & Gamble. Over time he progressed to larger creations in clay, wood and stone. As an adult he built a thriving cleaning business which he sold in 1989 in order to pursue his lifetime passion for sculpting. He traveled to Pietrasanta, Italy, to study under Pasquael Martini at the Lynn Streeter Marble and Art Institute. With this tutelage, he became an accomplished artist, skilled in the techniques of pneumatic tools. During his life, since that first bar of soap, Bill created well over 2000 works of art on a wide variety of subjects, inspired most often by his love of children and animals. His works are displayed from Georgia to Maryland to Scotland and have received numerous awards and accolades.

One of his most cherished commissions was "Friends Forever", a seated bear and fox, that memorializes the 16 Kindergarten children and their teacher killed in 1996. It is displayed in the town square in Dunblane, Scotland, where the victims are buried. Another is "Memories of Gray", a life sized Italian marble creation of a young cadet embracing his pony, that honors the history and former military tradition of Bill's alma mater, McDonogh School in Maryland. An artist in residence of Tate GA where he had his studio, he gave the community "Learning is Fun" that depicts a small boy reading to eleven animals. Carved from a 22 ton block of Georgia marble, it resides in front of the Pickens County Library in Jasper GA.

It has been said that in an age of tumult and terror where we yearn for tranquility, Bill Sunderland did not torture our souls; he touched the other side of our humanity. Compassion and simplicity was his soul. Out of solid stone he brought forth the honesty of animals, the faith and innocence of children, immortalized forever. We are fortunate that the small boy in Baltimore discovered his passion for sculpting and honed his skills so today we can enjoy the simplicity and touching love that his works display. Bill became his life's desire, a master of marble, a sculptor of stone, with a heart of gold.

Mr. Sunderland is survived by his wife, Gina Smith Sunderland; children, William "Bie" Sunderland, II (Judee), David Sunderland (Sandy), Barry Sunderland (Terri); Elisabeth "Lisa" Sunderland Henry (Jeff), Donald A. "Andy" Sunderland (Jolee); step-sons, Holden T. Hayes (Caroline), Mose "Trey" Hayes (Leah); 17 grandchildren; 3 great grandchildren; brother, Richard W. Sunderland (Carolyn); and sister-in-law, Sarah Elizabeth Sunderland. He was preceded in death by his parents, son, Brett A. Sunderland, and brother, Pearson Sunderland. The family will receive friends Thursday, August 17, 2017 from 6 to 8 o'clock at H.M. Patterson and Son, Arlington Chapel, 173 Allen Rd., NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. A memorial service will be Friday, August 18, 2017 at 11 o'clock at Highpoint Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Rd., Sandy Springs, GA 30342. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Highpoint Episcopal Community Church.