Longtime Great Race Volunteer Liz Sutter Passes Away

February 13, 2020


Liz Sutter, a longtime Great Race checkpoint worker, passed away yesterday at a hospital in Massachusetts. Liz was one of the all-time great characters involved in the Great Race. She not only worked checkpoints for most of the last two decades, she once was a competitor, driving a 1916 Hudson across the country for Dale Bell. When not working on the Great Race, Liz – always the adventurer – spent her winters in Antarctica (it was summer there) working. It was there late last year that she became ill and had to be evacuated to New Zealand and eventually to the U.S. as she tried to find out what was wrong.

I thought it would be best to let Liz tell each of you what you meant to her from her final blog post on Facebook:

Final Blog:
To all my dear, wonderful, wacky, kind and faithful friends.
I wish I had the energy to write to each one of you to thank you for your avalanche of good wishes, prayers, cards, visits, letters and gifts but the progression of my illness does not afford me that luxury. However, I want each and every one of you to know how much these signs of friendship and love have meant to me on my journey. You have given me more smiles and laughs than you could ever imagine. I have felt your love and your prayers and your many, many good wishes. They have wrapped around me like a warm flannel (or Pendleton) blanket on a cold day. I am always comforted knowing you are there.

Thank you for sharing your lives, adventures, homes and children with me.
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life and I have received abundantly. I love you all.
***Elizabeth asked me to help her draft the above letter yesterday.
Elizabeth passed peacefully at 7:55 this evening (February 12, 2020) — Judy Skinner.

6 comments about “Longtime Great Race Volunteer Liz Sutter Passes Away”

  • I am saddened to read of Liz’s passing. I followed her daily blogs and was so. hopeful that her condition could be turned to improved health. We shared countless adventures over the past many years; Over the years, Great Race has brought great characters together in the common love of old cars and lasting friendships. Liz was truly unique amongst that tremendous cast of characters.
    Rest in peace, Liz!
    “MotorMouth”

  • I’m very saddened to hear of her passing. She was an amazing lady and good friend who will be greatly missed. I enjoyed talking with her about her adventures especially her time in Antarctica. Our Great Race Family has lost another wonderful person.

  • I worked with Liz in Antarctica and would like to provide an explanation of the photo featured here.

    Google sent a backpack to McMurdo Station so “the streets” could be mapped. (We don’t really have streets.) Liz was so excited to be able to carry the backpack camera and walk around to help with the mapping process.

    She is wearing the backpack on the deck of the Chalet, the building where she worked. The view you see is the one she was able to enjoy every day from her office desk. She called it the Million Dollar view of the Royal Society Range of the Transantarctic Mountains. When the flat white sea ice melted, there would be orcas and penguins in that view.

    Thank you for honoring Liz. We, her Antarctic Family, knew about her Great Race Family, and enjoyed hearing her tales of the race.

    We are all grieving deeply.

  • I only worked with Liz one season at McMurdo, and may have been her first, but she was one of those kind amazing, wonderful souls that stick with you. Sorry to hear of her passing.

  • Liz was a friend of the legendary Ted Holden when I met her in 1987 while preparing for the 1988 Great Aamerican Race. She rode with Ted and me while we practiced in Teds’ 35 Chrysler Airflow and she became a avid GAR fan. She would fly from Florida to meet the GAR at various stops across the country.
    By 1991 Liz teamed up with her former business partner, Leilani Ketlinski and drove a 36 Chrysler Airflow restored for the race by Leilani’s brother Jack. Both trained at the Dobbin School of GAR Navigation in Jupiter FL. They won the Sportsman Class in the 1991 California Old Car race and raced the Aiflow again in the 1992 GAR.
    In 1993 LIz drove Barota’s Racing Team’s 1932 Ford Roadster with Don Lorrier as navigator. Then Dale Bell had her drive for him before she joined the Great Race Staff in sales then in scoring.
    After she started spending summers in Antartica she would use her frequent flyer miles for great adventures with co-workers “when they left the ice”. She was a talented story teller and writer. She often sent us her travel adventures from around the world.
    The Great Race remained her passion and she managed to continue that in her schedule. We often encouraged her to compile her adventures into a book for the friends she had all over the world. Sometimes she would stop by for a visit on the way home from the Great Race, to share stories of the most recent Great Race.
    We will miss her, as I’m sure all the Greatrace frinds will.
    Paul & Inge Dobbin

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