In loving memory: Denise Semands Suttles

Denise Semands Suttles

Denise Semands Suttles, 71, wife of Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma co-founder Ron Suttles, and a steady behind-the-scenes supporter of the organization, died August 29, 2021.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 6, 1950, to Theresa M. and Howard L. McFadden, Denise spent her formative years in Cole County, Missouri, where her father had moved the family in 1954. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 at the University of Texas at El Paso and earned a Master of Science in 1986 from Texas Women’s University.

She entered the field of healthcare as a registered nurse and worked her way into the highest echelons of healthcare management over a 25-year career. Early in her career, as a nurse, she specialized in obstetrics and gynecological care. Later she served as President of GlobalHealth, Inc., as Chief Executive Officer of The Oklahoma City Clinic, and as National Vice President for Physician Venture Management (PVM). She led large, complex health systems through strategic growth in all areas of practice.

Her family described her in her obituary as “a consummate visionary leader, able to see the disparate parts of a complex enterprise and quickly understand how to best align the parts for maximum efficiency and impact. Even with her success in the boardroom, her passion was always in helping women – particularly those seeking assistance at the border in El Paso.”

She married Robert Semands in 1973, and they had two children (John and Emily) before divorcing in 1998. She met Ron Suttles at a swing dance class in Oklahoma City in 2000. She and Ron married in 2002.

“She served as a trusted sounding board on health, family, and social issues and was ready with advice and ideas to improve almost any situation. All who knew her could see her great pride in and love for her children and grandchildren, upon whom she doted… Denise was a passionate supporter of good public work and policy in areas that benefit women, children, the environment, and the civic richness of Oklahoma City,” the family stated.

She served on the board of advisors of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, as a trustee of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and as a member of Rotary Club 29. More recently, she devoted time and attention to the Oklahoma City Ballet and supported the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma and the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma Foundation.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations may be made in Denise’s honor to the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma or to its sister organization, Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma Foundation.

Read her full obituary at the website of Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Funeral Directors.

Services will be held at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Tuesday, September 7, 5:00-7:30, with a celebration of life at 5:30 followed by a reception.

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How You Can Help

The Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma, a 501(c)4 non-profit, is built to amplify the voice for conservation throughout Oklahoma. Created to bring together many of this state's great conservation organizations, we are creating a pivotal space for this state's wildlife, outdoors, and natural resource interests. Learn more about the CCO and how ...
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