Early on July 1st, 2019, surrounded by his family, Richard W. Sumner was released from his physical form, having completed his work here on Earth. He lived in Middletown, NY. Born in Albany, NY he was the son of William Charles and Mary Annie Griffin Sumner. He married his wife Martha of Argyle, N.Y. on October 13, 1956.
He moved with his family to Middletown in 1961 having been transferred by his employer, Rudolph Jewelers. He later spent 20 years in the baking industry, retiring in 1985 from Wonder Bread. Richard was the proprietor of Memory Lane Antiques and Etceteras, which he began in 1989, and where his reputation for friendliness, fairness and honesty were the hallmarks of his business. He enjoyed doing the "eBay thing" and had an excellent reputation as a buyer and as a seller.
Richard served on active duty with the United States Marine Corps, being a Crew Chief with a Transport Helicopter Squadron, Marine Air Group 16, HMR 163, and was honorably discharged in 1956. His tour in Marine Corps helicopters prompted him to learn fixed wing flying from Norm Quade of Orange County Airport.
He was, in his earlier years, active in our community, coaching Middletown Little League Baseball, and serving as Pack Chairman for Cub Scout Pack 57 and on the Hudson Delaware Scouting Council. He was a past president of the Middletown Parent Teachers Association. Richard enjoyed fishing, camping, photography, Corvettes and playing pool as well as an occasional martini. He loved the English language and would jokingly get upset if he wasn't able to do a crossword puzzle in less time than suggested. He loved spirited discourse and would play "devil's advocate" or take the side of the minority for the sake of discussion.
Richard treasured his vacations and would start months in advance planning the trips to the Caribbean which he loved so much.
In 1997 his friend Steve introduced him to computers. Richard said he was a two- fingered typist and thought he wouldn't be proficient with this new tool. After a few lessons, his friend said "he took to it like a duck to water."
Richard was an Advisory Director of "The Sumner Family Association", a worldwide association researching genealogy on the Sumner family name. His forefathers came to this country in 1636 and he was proudly aware of their contributions to the making of the United States: Many served in the military during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War from the rank of Private to General. One of his relatives, Charles Sumner, a United States Senator from Massachusetts, was famous for being physically attacked on the floor of the US Senate for his outspoken anti-slavery position.
He is survived by his devoted wife Martha Sumner, and by three children he loved dearly and of whom he was very proud: Kathleen D. Sumner and her husband, James N. Gambino of Herkimer N.Y., Kevin M. Sumner, Keith S. Sumner and Molly Carhart of Middletown; six grandchildren: JeriAnne Moses Moore of Orlando FL, Alan Moses of Spotsylvania VA, Douglas Sumner of Rochester, NY, Brendan, Mitchell and Skyler Sumner of Middletown and three great grandchildren; a brother, Charles H. Sumner and his wife Marjorie Marriot Sumner of Nashville Tenn., a sister, Joane L. Gelep and her husband Paul Gelep of Chapmansboro, Tenn. and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. His step mother, Elizabeth (Betty) (Lehowicz) Sumner of Utica NY, predeceased him in 2011 at the age of 101.
Three quotes that he enjoyed:
The first is paraphrased.
‘The answer is one of these two, there is an end to the Universe or there is no end to the Universe. I cannot conceive of either’. SH.
"Most of us wonder if our lives made any difference. Marines don't have that problem." RR
“I still find each day too short for;
all the thoughts I want to think,
all the walks I want to take,
all the books I want to read,
and all the friends I want to see.
The longer I live the more my mind dwells
upon the beauty and the wonder of the world”. JB
One of Richard's last wishes was to give thanks to all who enriched his life, including family and friends, good neighbors, customers of his businesses, co-workers, and his Marine Corps brothers and sisters. The family offers deep gratitude to Dr. Seth Hurwitz, Dr. John Ferguson, and the staff of the rehab unit at Middletown Park and Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties for their compassionate and professional care for Richard.
While he will always be in our hearts, we will miss dearly his wit, charm, unconventional sense of humor, and the sparkle of his beautiful blue eyes.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at the American Legion Lodge, 185 Wawayanda Avenue in Middletown from 1-4 PM with a Memorial Service at 2 PM.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Cornelius, Dodd & Connell Funeral Home, Middletown, NY.
To send flowers to Richard's family, please visit our floral section.