Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2011

Col. Alphonse “Al” Buford Sutton, loving husband, father, grandfather and brother, went peacefully on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, at the graceful age of 90. A native of Natchitoches, son of the late Elizabeth Bryant Sutton and J.W. C. Sutton, Col. Sutton attended Louisiana State Normal College in Natchitoches prior to WWII and received his Bachelor of Science Degree from SLI (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) after WWII. In 1947, he married his devoted wife of 52 years, the late Marjorie “Peggy” Henry Montegut.

He entered naval aviation training in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the fall of 1941 and was designated a naval aviator and commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in July 1942. He served as a dive bomber pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, nine air medals and the Purple Heart medal, all for courageous conduct in performing combat missions flying from Munda, Bougainville, Emirau, and later from the Philippines and China. Al was recalled to serve during the Korean War, and after his release from active duty in 1952, he continued to be active in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. He was commanding officer for four years of VMF 143, a reserve jet fighter squadron based in New Orleans. He transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps Retired Reserves in 1965 with the rank of colonel. He was awarded the Certificate of Full Retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1981.

A resident of Lafayette from 1950 to 2002, in civilian life he was active in the residential design, construction and development of more than 4,500 homes in the Acadiana area of South Louisiana.

He was an active member of Our Lady of Fatima Saint Vincent DePaul Society from 1958 to 1971. He was a supporter of Our Lady of Fatima, St. Mary’s and Holy Cross churches. After moving to New Orleans in 2002 to be near his family, Col. Sutton volunteered for the National WWII Museum until his death, continuing his enthusiasm for serving his country.

He is survived by his four daughters, Lynn Sutton Barry of Pacific Palisades, Calif., Laurie Sutton Hienz, Jan Elizabeth Sutton and Lelia Sutton Peyronnin and husband Paul Lee Peyronnin, all of New Orleans, and his sister, Iona Lane-Burslem of Natchitoches. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Sean Barry, Erin Gheen, Devin Barry and Trevor and Parker Peyronnin; and one great grandchild, Drew Barry.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy, brothers Bryant of Alexandria and Henry of St. Joseph and sister Marguerite Matthews of Natchitoches and his dear companion, Elizabeth Lewis Root Jones of San Antonio.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Memorial Mass officiated by Monsignor Christopher Nalty at St. Stephens Catholic Church, Chapel Rectory, 1025 Napoleon Ave., New Orleans, on Saturday, Sept. 17, at noon. Additionally, visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, at Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive in Lafayette, followed by a service at 1 p.m. in the Delhomme Chapel of the Flowers. The burial will immediately follow at St. John-Fatima Cemetery, with military rites conducted by the Lafayette Marine Reserve Unit. Father Joseph Brennan will be the concelebrant. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National WWII Museum, St. Stephens Catholic Church or Lambeth House, all of New Orleans, or the Society of St. Vincent De Paul.

Personal condolences may be sent to the Sutton family at

Delhomme Funeral Home of Lafayette is in charge of funeral arrangements.