Mary Cissel Suttell
Community senvice has always been an animating force of Mary Suttell’s life. Since moving permanently to Little Compton in 1980, she has served on the town’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission, as well as on the Boards of Stay At Home and the Sakonnet Point Club. She has also served as a Deacon and Trustee of the United Congregational Church.
She would tell you, however, that her most meaningful camtributions dame during her twenty-five years as an EMT on the Littie Compton Volunteer Fire Department. From scraped knees to homicide, Mary responded to countless medical emergencies and accidental injuries. Her quiet competence and calming demeanor were a welcome sight to many residents in the throes of pain and anxiety.Throughout her tenure on the Department, she always enjoyed working as a team with her fellow firefighters and EMTs to comfort and assist others.
In addition to her duties as an EMT, Mary was also trained as a fire fighter and was involved in several memorable conflagrations during her career on the Volunteer Fire Department, incuding a particularly pesky fire at the Read house on a wind-swept Warren’s Point on a frigid December night.
Although not the first woman to serve on the Volunteer Fire Department, Mary was one of the early female pioneers and the very first woman to attain recognition for twenty years of service. She also received an award from the Littie Compton Grange #32 for her dedicated service.
Mary was born in 1951 to Edward ard Jane Cissel in Morristown, New Jersey. She has been a summer resident of Little Compton since 1958, visiting her grandmother Margaret DeBevoise, wino formany years rented the Little Parks House on Warren’s Point. In 1967, Mary moved to St Louis when herfather became Head of John Burroughs School. After graduating from Smith College in Northhampton,Massachusetts in 1974, Mary lived in Alaska for five years, returning to Little Compton permanentiy in 1980 when she married Paul Suttell.
Mary’s commitment to serving others is also reflected in her professional career in education. She was a teacher and long-time Head of the Math Department at Providence Country Day School, where for over thirty years she taught and mentored high school students. On most afternoons, she could usually be found on the athletic fields or at a swimming pool coaching cross-country, lacrosse, or swimming. Her many contributions to the PCD sports program are now recognized by the annual awarding of The Mary Suttell Athletic Award to the most promising female athlete In the junior class.
Mary is also a gifted athlete in her own right. She was a founding member of the Smith College field hockey team, the school’s first varsity sport. She also played on the first women’s field hockey team as a transfer student at Bowdoin College. Following graduation from college, she played on a St. Louis all-star field hockey squad, earning honorable mention recognition to the all Midwest team.
Mary is known to many for running the roads of Little Compton, most notably as one of the very few runners who look like they actually enjoy what they are doing. A fixture at the summer Little Compton Road Race, either as a participant or race organizer, she held the record for fastest Little Compton female for over thirty years.Teacher, runner, coach, EMT, firefighter, public servant, community volunteer – Mary Suttell has made many contributions to Little Compton, both small and large; enough to be farever memorialized as Ms. November in the 2006 Women of Little Compton Calendar.
Paul Suttell, LCHS Board of Directors