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1939 George Lewis Sumner 2024

George Lewis Sumner

October 30, 1939 — January 23, 2024

Colonial Heights


George L. Sumner, whose deep Christian faith and kind spirit was known to everyone who encountered him, died peacefully at home on January 23, 2024 from complications of dementia and prostate cancer. The former Colonia Heights resident was 84. George Lewis Sumner was born in Harvey, West Virginia, to Delia Belle and Frank James Sumner, a coal miner who began working in a coal mine in the early 1900’s when he was only 10 years old. Mr. Sumner was the 13th of 14 children and was raised in Hill Top, W.Va., where as a boy, he milked the cow and helped tend to the garden that provided for the large family. After graduating from high school, Mr. Sumner entered the U.S. Navy and served for 3 years, primarily on an icebreaker that traveled on missions to Antarctica twice and the Arctic Circle and made stops in South America and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. After leaving the Navy, Mr. Sumner moved with one of his brothers to Hopewell to find a job. After working for a few years at a Firestone manufacturing plant, Mr. Sumner began working for Valley Plating Company in Richmond, where for more than two decades he used a sledgehammer to straighten dents in car bumpers. Eventually, he went to work for Richmond Bumper Supply and managed the warehouse for several years. Mr. Sumner was an avid sports fan who followed multiple sports, especially baseball, at the high school, college, and professional levels, and he was known for his recall of facts and statistics about players and coaches. But Mr. Sumner’s “true passion,” his daughter, Patti Sumner, said, was his faith and his family. “My father told my mother before they were married that God would always come first in his life and that stayed true throughout their marriage.” In 1965, he married the former Priscilla “Irene” Collins, who he met at a restaurant where she worked as a waitress. For many years, they were members of what was then called the Worldwide Church of God, and, after leaving the church in the mid-1970’s, they continued to gather weekly with several other former members in their homes, and Mr. Sumner led Bible study sessions. They continued to gather until shortly before Mr. Sumner’s death. Mr. Sumner was a devoted father to his 3 children and loved nothing more than playing sports with them and their friends in the backyard and cheering them on with his wife when they played organized sports. He was also a father figure and spiritual guide to numerous extended family members and family friends. My dad was a very loving, sweet-natured person, and I never heard anyone say anything derogatory about him. He cared deeply about people and had a great sense of humor. You always felt better when you were around him,” said his daughter. In addition to his wife of 58 years, a homemaker, and his daughter, Patti Sumner of Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Sumner is survived by his oldest son, George Lewis Sumner, Jr. and his spouse Karen of Chester, and granddaughters Madison and Hannah Sumner of Nashville, Tennessee; his youngest son Michael Jameson Sumner and spouse Andrea of Dublin, Ohio; sisters Laura Miller and Joann Smith of West Virginia; sisters-in-law Cathy Layne and Peggy Hamilton of Hopewell, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. The family wishes to express its immense gratitude to Crater Community Hospice of Petersburg for the kindness and professionalism shown by its employees.  A graveside service will be held 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 30, 2024 in Bermuda Memorial Park 1901 Bermuda Hundred Road Chester, Virginia 23836.  The family will receive friends Monday, January 29, 2023 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Colonial Heights Chapel of the E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes and Crematory 2033 Boulevard Colonial Heights, Virginia 23834.  Condolences may be registered at  


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, January 29, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

E Alvin Small Funeral Homes and Crematory - Colonial Heights

2033 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, VA 23834

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Graveside Service

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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