Estranged daughter remembers "Popcorn" Sutton

Family members say Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, 61 will be laid to rest later this week in a private ceremony.

Sky Sutton in an undated photo is the daughter of Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton.

COCKE COUNTY (WVLT) – Family members say Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, 61 will be laid to rest later this week in a private ceremony.

Volunteer TV News spoke to the infamous moonshiner’s daughter on Tuesday evening. She said that her father died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sky Sutton lives in Massachusetts and hasn’t actually seen her father since she was two years old.

“He was an American folk character," she said.

According to Ms. Sutton, Sky had recently been talking to him every now and then. She was also writing a book on him, which gave her insight into who her father was. That’s why she wasn’t surprised when she found out “Popcorn” had died.

“He said he was going to do it,” she recalled. “He said ‘I'm not going to jail.’"

According to Sky Sutton, his autopsy report lists the cause of death as carbon monoxide poisoning. Before his death, he violated federal parole for making liquor out of corn.

“He got in trouble because he never stopped,” she said. “When you do something long enough, you get a reputation and you'll get caught."

She says he took pride in his work. In an interview before “Popcorn” died, he explained how he told a judge he would never stop making shine.

“I told that judge, I said ‘well look, do you want me to pay you now for the next time I come back, or wait till I come back next time’” he said. “He laughed like hell and said, ‘well just wait till you come back next time.’"

According to Sky, folks either loved “Popcorn” or they hated him. She remembered that he had an enormous personality and was often described as charming.

“Aw me and him were raised up together and he was a fine person," said one his friends.

Though “Popcorn’s” daughter wasn’t surprised by his death, she did say it was an odd feeling to find out he went through with his threat not to go to jail.

“It was like finding out how a movie ends,” Sky said. “The movie didn't end the way I thought it would"

The title of Sutton’s book, which was basically finished until his death, is “Daddy Moonshine."

Funeral arrangements are still incomplete, but a service will be held at the Costner Maloy Funeral Home in Newport.

Sky does not plan to go to her father's funeral because that isn’t the way she wants to remember him.


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  • by Phillip Location: California on Jan 18, 2012 at 07:57 AM
    Sad to see him go to bad he had to die to make a point.Funny how a man from such a simple back round can touch so many lifes. Rest in piese Pop Corn you was and are loved. May God bless you and your family.
  • by JennieSuttonClevinger Location: NC/Texas on Sep 19, 2010 at 09:12 AM
    I was born & raised in Cherokee County, NC on Hanging dog. My dad's name was Almer Sutton born of Luther "Cub" Sutton and Mattie Dockery. I was watching The Last One on Kera here in Texas and recognized the man on the movie had to be a Sutton due to the location, business and he had so many of my dad's actions. The way he smoked his cigarette,build, thumb to forehead when smoking and the crossing of the leg when sitting. I kept telling my husband he had to be a Sutton I just felt it. I am sorry about your dad's passing. My dad use to talk about the Sutton's around Jackson Co and the moonshine. My great uncle Leemum Sutton stilled in Cherokee County. I am proud of my heritage and will be purchasing The Last One for my children and grandchildren. My dad's favorite saying Sutton Tough and Hard To Bluff
  • by MesserRoyal Location: Southern NJ on Sep 2, 2010 at 04:32 AM
    My Daddy's mama was a Sutton. He was raised up on Cove Creek Maggie Valley NC. Daddy was "original nascar"...lol...he ran plenty of likker out of those mountains...landed in Jersey...and made plenty of likker all of his life. His still is close but not in use since his death in 1989. I visit Cove Creek and Suttontown Cemetery where my grandpa and grandma are laid to rest when I'm in NC. This was a culture and way of life..yes its illegal as per the government wanting their TAXES...but my Daddy was a good man and great Daddy...
  • by dallas st.john Location: bluff city,tn on Mar 27, 2009 at 09:22 PM
    i will make sure that the legend will live on in memory of you popcorn. you will be remembered every time i take a drink of likker.
  • by BRENDA Location: NEW JERSEY on Mar 19, 2009 at 11:02 PM
    MY GRANDPOP WAS FROM THE SAME HILLS AS POPCORN AND DID THE SAME THING. ONLY HE DID NOT GET CAUGHT! IT IS SOMETHING THE MEN OF THE HILLS DID FOR MANY YEARS! THEY SHOULD HAVE LEFT HIM ALONE!
  • by Mark Location: Parrottsville on Mar 19, 2009 at 10:10 PM
    Amen Martin, well said. R.I.P. Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton.
  • by martin Location: maynardville on Mar 18, 2009 at 10:13 PM
    popcorn was a national treasure...... a part of our history has been taken from up here in the hills of Tennessee....Popcorn you will be sadly missed, and like you always said in 5 yrs, Likker will be a thing of the past, a lost art form... people of the hills, survived through hard times with the shine......... let your spirit shine on!

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