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Gary S. Sumner

November 2, 1939 ~ December 22, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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Gary Sumner Obituary

Gary S. Sumner – 1939 – 2023 – Athens Businessman and Community Leader

Gary S. Sumner, 84, of Wysox, PA, formerly of Athens, PA, passed away at home surrounded by his loving family on Friday, December 22, 2023.

Gary was born November 2, 1939, in Sayre, PA to the late Bird and Helen Sumner, who raised Gary and his siblings in Athens, PA.

When Gary, at the age of 12, attended the Presbyterian Church Camp in Scranton, PA, he met a girl and knew right away that he had met the love of his life, Frederica Dardenne-Ankringa (nickname “Mike”). Gary graduated from Athens Area High School, in the Class of 1957. He then attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, graduating in 1961. After graduation, Gary served in the US Army’s Intelligence Division in Washington, DC from 1961-1963. During his time of serving his country, on June 16, 1962, the girl “Mike” that Gary had met so long ago, became his beautiful bride. This summer Gary and Mike celebrated 61 years of marriage, but 71 years of a beautiful friendship.  

Upon returning home from the service, Gary began his insurance career with the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company from 1963-1969, moving his family to Albany, NY and Hartford, CT. Gary and Mike then made the decision to move their family back to Athens, where he would pursue a career in Life Insurance and Financial Planning. He began working side by side with his father and best friend, Bird Sumner, at the Bird Sumner Agency in 1970. Gary retired in 1999.  

After moving back to Athens, Gary and Mike started spending their summers at Lake Wesauking in one of the stepping stone cottages. The stepping stone cottages were part of the Lake Wesauking Lodge that was owned by Mike’s grandparents.  Gary quickly became head of the Lake Wesauking Entertainment Committee, where Mike called him the “best Social Chairman the lake ever had.”  Gary participated and helped organize many years of Lake events, including the first 4th of July parade, the Corn roast, breakfast in the middle of the lake, Memorial Day picnics, Labor Day breakfasts, Lake Olympics, sing-alongs, dock hops, and many more. Gary also loved sailing and became an avid sailor, hardly ever missing a sailboat race. In 1998, they built their permanent dream home at the lake.

Soon before retirement, Gary and Mike started spending time in Tucson, Arizona. Eventually, they bought a house where they spent the winters. Being a passionate sports fan, Gary and Mike attended Penn State and University of Arizona’s basketball, football and softball games. Gary also enjoyed playing golf and tennis over the years. Gary and Mike loved to travel and have been to 49 of the 50 states. He was also an avid reader and always had his Kindle by his side.

Gary loved his wife deeply and he cherished his children and grandchildren. He was a father who was seen at every one of his children’s sporting events and was always there for his family to provide guidance, love and unwavering support. Gary was so full of life, always telling jokes, some better than others, that became a source of laughter in our homes. He will be greatly missed, but the beautiful family life that was shared over the years will be cherished and remembered.

Gary was a very active and proud member of the Valley community and loved raising his family here in this area. He served on numerous committees and boards, including the following: Guthrie Medical Center Trustee for over 40 years, Elder and Superintendent at the Athens and Sayre Presbyterian Churches, Chairman of the Bradford/Sullivan Cancer Crusade, Vice President of the Bradford County Redevelopment Authority, President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce during the flood of 1972, Valley Business Chairman of the United Fund, Member of the Bradford County Zoning Committee, Regional Board Chairman of Northern Central Bank, Officer of the Valley Jaycees, Volunteer Police Commissioner of Athens Borough, and a member of the Sayre-Athens Lions Club. Gary also obtained The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFC) designations. These designations and his work ethics demonstrate the commitment and care Gary showed to his clients over the years.

Gary is survived by his beloved wife, Frederica “Mike” Sumner, son and daughter-in-law Steven and Melanie Sumner, son Jeffrey Sumner, daughter Amy Sumner and her partner Amy Erwin, grandchildren Aubrey Sumner and her fiancé Steven Greer and Jesse Sumner, sister Sylvia Gray, sister and brother-in-law Beth Sumner and L.J. Kopf, and several nieces and nephews.

A Time of Visitation for friends and family will be held on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 from 2pm-4pm at the Lowery-Urban Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 225 South Main Street, Athens, PA. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Thursday at 11am at the Waverly Community Methodist Church, 158 Chemung Street, Waverly, NY with the Rev. Cindy Schulte officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Gary’s name to Guthrie Hospice, 421Tomahawk Road, Towanda, PA 18848.




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December 27, 2023

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Lowery-Urban Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc.
225 South Main Street
Athens, Pennsylvania 18810

Funeral Service
December 28, 2023

11:00 AM
Waverly Community Methodist Church
158 Chemung Street
Waverly, NY 14892


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