"Concerned with the General Welfare of the Deaf of Iowa"

Updated  July 26, 2021

Agnes (Dunn) Sutcliffe

September 12, 1934–September 27, 2020

Agnes Dunn Sutcliffe, 86, passed away Sunday, September 27, 2020 at Jefferson, MD.  She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Ronald, and her children: Glen of Bethesda, MD, Jane of Jefferson, MD, Herb of Washington, DC, Bert of Boca Raton, FL, and Dale of Mt. Pleasant, SC; and 10 grandchildren: Tim Colliere, Dr. Jaclyn Franzak, Jacob Franzak, Joshua Franzak, William Tucker Sutcliffe, Ava Sutcliffe, John Hunter Sutcliffe, Sabrina Sutcliffe, Chase Sutcliffe, and Thomas Hayden Sutcliffe.   

Agnes was born in Fortescue, MO the second of 10 children.  Her family moved to Omaha, NE so she could attend the Nebraska School for the Deaf. 

Upon graduating in 1954, she excitedly took a train to attend Gallaudet College (now University).  She loved all the opportunities to play sports in college and was a proud contributing member of her sorority, Phi Kappa Zeta.  Upon her graduation from Gallaudet in 1959, she joined the faculty in the Department of Physical Education and coached women’s field hockey, swimming, and basketball teams.   During that time, she coached the US World Games for the Deaf Women’s Swim Team in Finland.   Agnes also served as the athletic director of the District of Columbia Club for the Deaf (DCCD) in the 1960’s when there was a strong “male-only” culture and was on the staff of Dee Cee Eyes, a local publication for deaf people.

After her marriage to Ronald, she continued teaching PE until the 9th month of pregnancy with her second child and then transitioned to being full-time mom with her children. 

While “home” raising 5 children and supporting her husband’s graduate studies, Agnes coached her children’s basketball teams and continued to give much of her time to Gallaudet University and the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA).  She could be seen recruiting volunteers for events, manning booths at homecoming, organizing fundraisers, and cheering at sport events. 

Later she became a sign language instructor at Catonsville Community College and then Gallaudet University.  She taught many of the new faculty/staff which made her a well-known and popular face on campus.   She served as vice-president of the GUAA and as president of the DC Chapter of GUAA.

Upon retiring from teaching in 1998, she continued to travel the world with Ron – attending nearly every National Association of the Deaf convention, Deaf Olympics, and Deaf Seniors of America convention and touring fascinating places such as Egypt, Europe, and New Zealand.

All along she loved being involved in the lives of her grandchildren being sure to attention many of their sports events.

In addition to her commitment to family and community organizations, Agnes maintained close friendships with her fellow “Bridgettes” – a group of Deaf women who met monthly for 50 years to play bridge – and her Red Hat Club of “Proud Primroses”.   

Her contributions have been recognized by many.  The Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, the Washington Division No. 46 of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, and the Maryland Association of the Deaf have recognized her contributions with distinguished awards.   The GUAA honored her with the prestigious “Pauline “Polly” Peikoff Service to Others” Award. 

She will be remembered as a caring, hardworking woman who often spoke of and acted on her dedications to her family and community. 

Donations in her memory can be made to:

Gallaudet University Sutcliffe Business Bowl, Office of Development, Denison House 203800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002  


National Association of the Deaf; 8630 Fenton Street, Suite 820; Silver Spring, MD 20910

An online Memorial Service will be scheduled.

 Thanks to Dr, Ronald Sutcliffe for the obituary.