George Sumner lived a remarkable life:
• He married the love of his life, Sandra, when they were just teenagers. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last Feb. 1.
• He proudly served in the U.S. Navy aboard an aircraft carrier during the Korean War. He was an electrician and he and his buddies knew how to “play the system.” They’d pull a breaker in the kitchen, then go and fix it whenever they wanted milkshakes or ice cream. The appreciative kitchen staff always rewarded them with a frozen treat.
• After the war, he worked at a nuclear plant near his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. A RIF led him to leave there for Huntsville, and, eventually, his dream home on Georgia Mountain overlooking his beloved Guntersville Lake.
• He had a job he loved, teaching soldiers how to use the TOW missile. He’d taught forces in 29 different countries about the missile.
• He bass fished competitively for 34 years, up until just a few weeks ago, with his longtime fishing partner Jeff Shelton. They often finished in the money in the local wildcat tournaments.
George Theron Sumner of Guntersville died Friday, May 20, 2022, after a brief illness. He was 89.
He was a sport his entire life, both deer hunting and bass fishing when he was younger. In his later years, he turned entirely to bass fishing, although he still kept feeders and cameras in his yard to keep tabs on the deer herd.
He worked 33 years for the federal government and another 30 years for contractors. He absolutely loved his work as a TOW missile expert and had taught the weapon to American, NATO and even Arab troops.
He and Sandra moved to Guntersville in 1987.
He felt working as long as he did contributed to his longevity.
He was an early adopter of the computer and was a founding member of the Guntersville Computer Club.
The Sumners and their long marriage were featured in the Gleam just last February. They gave their secret to a long happy marriage.
“We enjoy doing things together,” Sandra said. They’d not only traveled, but had deer hunted, fished and enjoyed many other activities together.
“We’ve had disagreements,” Sandra said.
“But you never go to bed mad,” George said.
He is survived by his daughters Carrol (Ricky), Cheryl (Alvin), Robin (Ross) and Stephanie; 4 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren with another on the way; as well as his fishing partner of 34 years, Jeff Shelton. The family is very appreciative of Jeff’s friendship with George as it kept him fishing long after he could’ve fished on his own.
A visitation for George will be Thursday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Guntersville Memorial Chapel. A graveside service will be Friday, May 27, at 2 p.m. at Mt. Carmel Cemetery on Georgia Mountain.