Steve “Boomer” Sutton, 59, died in his sleep at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, his brother, Kurt Sutton, said.
Sutton, who graduated from Cherokee High School in 1970, was a fixture on local and Atlanta radio stations throughout his career and won two Emmy awards for his work on “Georgia Outdoors” on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Funeral services will take place Saturday at 2 p.m at the Darby Funeral Home Chapel in Canton.
After Sutton’s diagnosis in 2008, he conducted several benefits with the help of friends, fans and family to raise money for the extraordinary post-surgery costs associated with a kidney transplant.
The Macedonia community resident was never able to receive the transplant, despite being placed on the transplant list three years ago.
But Boomer, as he was known to many, never stopped fighting.
“He was always active and a fighter by nature,” his brother said. “He thought he had a good chance of getting a kidney and coming out of it. He never gave up.”
“He encouraged that kind of conservation for all wildlife,” his brother said. “People respected him for that.”
Kurt Sutton said he and his brother were close and could always count on each other, despite their eight-year age difference. Throughout his career, the older brother would often appear on Boomer’s radio shows and they played together for a few years in a band based out of Helen.
Kurt Sutton said he respected his brother most for remaining humble even after his radio success.
“A lot of people, once they become a disc jockey on one of the big stations in Atlanta... a lot of them let it go to their heads,” Sutton said. “Steve never affected anything. He was just Steve. If you wanted to talk with him, he was always there and interested in people. I think (his fans) will miss that about him… as the old saying goes, he never met a stranger.”
Steve Sutton started his career at WBHF radio station in Cartersville, but later became best known as “Boomer” at Power 99 in Atlanta and later at Star94,
Jim Vann, a high school classmate and lifelong friend, said he was always in awe of Sutton’s extraordinary vocal, musical and radio talent.
“He was very funny,” Vann, a Cherokee Tribune blogger and former radio personality, said. “That’s one of the things that made him so good on the air.”
The former broadcaster never worked with Sutton on air, but said he was a fan of his quick wit, and on a personal level, his kind heart.
“He was just a really good and faithful friend,” Vann said. “You knew you could call on him when you needed him.”
But what Vann most admired about his friend was his strength throughout his five-year medical ordeal.
“It was an uphill battle he was fighting gallantly,” Vann said. “A lot of people facing what he faced would have just thrown up their hands. He just wasn’t that sort of guy.”
Sutton is survived by his wife, Stephanie Sutton, sons Chris and Cory Sutton, daughter Erin Coursey, brother Kurt Sutton, sister Sharon Brock, and grandchildren, Kayla Skyler and Hyden Sutton.
The family will accept friends today at Darby Funeral Home from 6 to 8 p.m.
Burial will follow the funeral services Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Kurt Sutton requests donations to the American Diabetes Association or one of the many conservation and outdoor preservation organizations throughout Georgia, or donations to help with funeral expenses.