James T. Sumner

James T. Sumner

GUILDERLAND — James T. Sumner, a warm man who dedicated himself to community service, died on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, at Albany Memorial Hospital. He was 87.

Guilderland’s Supervisor, Kenneth Runion, described him as a “warm individual, and a true gentleman.”

Mr. Runion said Mr. Sumner dedicated himself to the town and his community, and “was always there to be of service to people in need.”

Mr. Runion called Mr. Sumner a “stellar member” of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Sumner was born in Spartansburg, S.C., but lived most of his life in Guilderland.

He served as a radio operator in the Army Air Force during World War II, in the Pacific. He graduated from Spartansburg Junior College, and also attended The College of Saint Rose.

He was former owner of, and was employed for many years by, Arcardia Supply, Inc., of Albany.

Mr. Sumner volunteered and served in a number of capacities, including as a coach for American League Junior Baseball, through the Valek Post; as the Oratorical Chair for the American Legion 3rd District of New York; as a life member of the Guilderland Center Veterans of Foreign Wars Post; as a long-time member of the Western Turnpike Rescue Squad, including as the former president and a member of the board of directors; as a member of the Guilderland Democratic Committee, including as the treasurer and on the executive committee of the party; and, as a member of the Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals.

He played an important role in securing public funding for the Guilderland Emergency Medical Service System, and volunteered his time in the establishment and expansion of the Guilderland network of rescue squads, wrote his family in a tribute.

 “He was very respectful of people; he loved working with them and never complained,” Mr. Runion said. “I know everyone here will really miss him.”


Mr. Sumner is survived by his children, Donna Smith, and her husband, James, of Lyman, S.C., and William T. Sumner, and his wife, Barbara, of Delmar; his beloved companion, Margaret “Peggy” McMahon, of Guilderland; his sister-in-law Josephine Sumner, of Robbinsville, N.C.; his grandchildren, James M. Smith, and his wife, Kimberly, and Katie Murphy, and her husband, Matthew; and his great-grandchildren, Nora and Madeline Murphy, and Joshua and Jordan Smith.

His wife of more than 50 years, Doris Meron Sumner, died in 1999.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the Hans Funeral Home, and Christ the King Church, in Guilderland, and interment followed in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery, in Colonie.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Turnpike Rescue Squad, 200 Centre Lane, Albany, NY 12203.

— Anne Hayden Harwood

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