Earl S. Sumner, 86
Died November 29, 1999
Earl Samuel Sumner, 86, of Hudson, died Monday, Nov. 29 at the Hudson Christian Community Home.
He was born Aug. 2, 1913, in Thurston, Neb., the son of Owen and Bertha (Limburg) Sumner and grew up on his parents' farm, near River Falls.
He graduated from River Falls State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin-River Falls) with a degree in agricultural education. After graduation he became an assistant educational advisor for the Civilian Conservation Corps and then taught agriculture in Hitchcock (S.D.) High School.
In September of 1937 he was married to Marguerite Metcalfe.
During World War II, he was an officer on the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Gilbert Islands, and was in the battles of Okinawa, Kyushu, Japan, Balikpapan, Borneo and Mindanao in the Philippines.
After the war he became head of the Land Classification Section for the Northern Plains for the Bureau of Reclamation, then headed irrigation planning for a new dam in Iraq. In Afghanistan, he planned and directed agronomy and soil research for the Ministry in Agriculture. In West Pakistan he was Irrigation Farming Advisor and even tried to irrigate land in the Thar Desert.
In the Indo-Pakistani War in 1965, the Sumner house was eight miles from the front lines.
While in Nigeria in Africa, he was also irrigation advisor. Because they lived on the edge of the Sahara Desert, water rationing was a major challenge.
He returned to Pakistan in 1974 where he advised the water development authority on salinity and waterlogging control programs and trained local consultants.
In 1976, he and his wife returned to River Falls to retire. They held leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, the American Legion and Auxiliary and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the River Falls Garden Club. They made weekly visits to hospitals, nursing homes and shut-ins and hosted foreign students.
They both did various types of volunteer work for a variety of organizations, including UW-River Falls and its alumni group, Boy Scouts, blood bank, Senior Citizen Choir, Human Services, Council on Aging, Moose Lodge and many more organizations.
In 1981, he and his wife were named the River Falls Volunteers of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and American Association of University Women. They were also among four senior citizens to be chosen by Sen. Robert W. Kasten for the Congregational Senior Citizens program in 1990 in Washington D.C.
He was a past president of WinterGreen Association, a member of the United Methodist Church in Hudson and a past member of its board of directors.
He enjoyed gardening, playing cards and reading.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his brothers, Owen Jr., and Ken; a sister, Alma; and a son, Perry, who died in a car accident in 1962.
Surviving are his wife, Marguerite of Hudson; a daughter, Karyl (Ted) Bainbridge of Hayes, Kans.; a granddaughter, Sarah Bainbridge of Provo, Utah; a sister-in-law, Mae Sumner of River Falls, and a brother-in-law, Dr. Merle Michaelson.
Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 (today) at the United Methodist Church in Hudson with Pastors Michael Ida and Ruth Egerer officiating. Visitation will from 9:30 to 11 a.m. prior to the service at the church.
Burial will be at 2 p.m. in the Arkansaw Cemetery in Arkansaw with Pastor Henry Dreistadt officiating. Casketbearers will be Keith Hansen, Roy Forhand, Larry Sutton, Bob Johnson, Merle Michaelson and Merton Timmerman. Military honors will be given by the American Legion.
Memorials are suggested to the bus fund at the Christian Community Home in Hudson or the donor's choice.
The O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson was in charge of arrangements.