Paul M. Sutton, Class of 1939, was nominated to
the Minerva High School Alumni Hall of Fame by Dorothy Hawkins
Cole and other members of the MHS Class of 1939. Upon graduation
from Minerva High School, he attended Harvard University
on a four-year full-expense National Scholarship, graduating
Magna cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics.
War duty in the U.S. Navy followed, then a return to academics.
From 1946 to 1951, he continued his education at Columbia
University where he earned both a M.A. and Ph.D degrees
in physics and served as a graduate instructor and research
associate in the physics department.
On active duty for three and a half years, during and after
World War II, Sutton served a total of 11 years in the U.S.
Naval Reserve, culminating in service as Training Officer
for Division 3-72, 3rd Naval District, New York City, during
the Korean War. In World War II, following officer's training
he spent five months learning the operation and maintenance
of a Top Secret acoustic homing torpedo, a successful weapon
used against German submarines. He and his crew operated
from Ascension Island, a volcanic cone in the center of
the South Atlantic. The crew served a Naval B-24 squadron,
VB-107, and, in 14 months, demolished four submarines with
As the war wound down, the B-24 squadron was transferred
to England, and Sutton and crew were sent to North Carolina,
where,just before V-E Day, off Norfolk, Virginia, the only
lighter-than-air (blimp) squadron with torpedos sank another
After the war, Sutton was assigned to Inspector of Naval
Materials at 30 Church Street, New York City. (Today this
spot is known as Ground Zero.) After six months, he was
assigned to serve as Instrumentation Coordinator for the
Ordinance Evaluation Group at the Bikini Atom Bomb Tests
where he witnesses the fourth and fifth atom bomb explosions...historical
Upon return, and entering Columbia University, Sutton met,
courted and married Doris Nichols, a published poet and
associate editor of the Fine Editions Press. Today she is
known as D.N.
Sutton, and is the author of several
books of peoms. They are the parents of two daughters:
M. Sutton, M.D. who worked abroad with the World Health
Organization and is now director of the Barbara
Ziegler Program of Palliative Care and Hospice at the
North Broward Hospital District in Broward County, Florida;
J. Sutton, inventor of the system for writing
sign languages, is Executive Director of the Center
for Sutton Movement Writing, Inc. a California non-profit
In the 1950s, Sutton was employed as a section supervisor
and research associate in the Research Laboratory of the
Glass Works in Corning, New York. In California from
1959 until 1987, he held the title of Department Manager,
Research Laboratory Manager, and Development Manager at
Aerospace Corporation's California Division at Newport Beach.
His work at Corning involved theory and experiment on transmission
of electricity and ultrasound through glass and develoopment
of techniques to measure stress in glass. His work at Ford
Aerospace was chiefly optics and laser relationed, proposal
preparation and research project administration.
From 1974 until the present, he has been involved in management
and planning for the non-profit Center For Sutton Movement
Writing, Inc. Sutton
SignWriting permits writing of any of the world's many
signed languages and has been proven as an excellent tool
for teaching those who are born deaf. The system is being
studied in 30 countries and is in effective use in Germany,
and in the USA.
For a person skilled in a particular sign language, anything
written in that language in Sutton SignWriting is easy to
read. There are no other sign language writing systems for
The Suttons have been residents of California since 1959
and live in the La Jolla part of San Diego. They tend to
spend winter months in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where they
are active in poetry circles.
The News Leader
June 18, 2005