Cover photo for Thomas William Sumner's Obituary
Thomas William Sumner Profile Photo

Thomas William Sumner

October 28, 1944 — April 4, 2023

Thomas William Sumner

Tom Sumner , 78, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, passed away at the Cleveland Clinic  on Monday, April 4, 2023, after a brief illness.  

Tom was born October 28, 1944 in Cleveland to Phil and Anne Sumner. He grew up in Shaker Heights.

He married Christine Morgan Sumner in 1971. She predeceased him by three years.

Tom graduated from University School, where his parents both taught and where Christine taught after marrying Tom. At University School he was an excellent athlete, playing soccer and baseball for the school teams. He was also an excellent tennis player. His athletic career ended early, unfortunately, due to a predilection for breaking bones. He attended Williams College, and returned to Cleveland Heights, where he resided until his death. He and Christine were involved in Cleveland area politics, and he designed and built voter databases for various Cleveland area politicians and ballot issues.

As well as politics, Tom had two other areas of intense interest – folk music and the Cleveland Indians. He was an excellent guitarist, with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of folk music and musicians. Highly intelligent and well read, he had numerous close friends with whom he and Christine met regularly for evenings of bridge, board games, folk music, and political debate. Tom was a generous, gentle soul. One of his friends noted recently that “Tom was never mean-spirited, he was truly a nice person.” He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

Tom and Chris were both very generous donors to a variety of causes in which they had a strong interest: NWA Community Cat Project in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, The Nature Conservancy, as well as many local Cleveland non-profits.

Tom and Christine had no children, but he is survived by loving family: His sister-in-law, Julia Morgan Lustic and her husband Gary, their three daughters - Erin Lustic and her son Emmett Grandgaard; Brittany Lustic Seigneur and her husband Austin Seigneur and their children Averi, Addysen and Ashtyn; and Caitlin Lustic. Tom’s brother Alanson and his sister-in-law, Hilda Burgos Sumner predeceased Tom, but Tom is also survived by their two daughters, Dalina Sumner of San Juan and Rebecca Sumner of Chicago.

There will be no memorial service, but a gathering of friends will be scheduled at a later date.

Tom’s family would like to particularly thank the nurses and doctors at the Cleveland Clinic for their care and support during his two recent stays at the Clinic.

Tom and Chris were supportive of several charities, reflecting both their interests and in sympathy with interests of their friends. Gifts can be made in Tom’s name to  NWA Community Cat Project, 200 S. Barton Avenue, Fayetteville, AR, 72701 or Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, 25350 Rockside Road, Bedford Heights, OH, 44146.

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