Life-style Senior Highlight: Baileyton’s Gene Sumner


Gene Sumner and his chiweenie, Abby (contributed)

Baileyton City Council member Gene Sumner lately celebrated his 90th birthday. He sat down with The Tribune to speak about his life and the way he got here to be a beloved member of the Baileyton neighborhood.

Sumner was born in Marion County, Alabama and went to Phillips Excessive College in Bear Creek, the place he was on the basketball crew. His father handed away when Gene was simply 6 months outdated. He and his mom moved into his grandparent’s house and his mother by no means remarried.

He stated, “That could be the one factor I held towards my mother. I feel in the event you lose a mate it’s OK to seek out another person, however she by no means did.”

When Sumner completed college, he went to Birmingham for work however was drafted into the Military in 1950. He skilled at Ft. Benning, Georgia and was a member of the 4th Infantry Division. Sumner spent 17 months in Germany all through the Korean Battle. With the Soviet Union supporting North Korea and america supporting South Korea, Sumner was positioned on border patrol in Germany to guard towards doable Russian aggression. 

When Sumner returned to america, he went again to work in Birmingham for a short while earlier than taking a job with Common Motors in Pontiac, Michigan. He met his spouse Becky, who’s initially from Ardmore, Alabama, whereas working in Michigan. The Sumners lived in Michigan till Gene’s retirement from GM after 35 half of years. They raised three kids in Pontiac: Debbie Jean, Dewayne and Michelle. 

The Sumners loved their life in Michigan. For enjoyable, they beloved to go snowmobiling.

Gene recalled, “There was a gang of us, different {couples}, who would experience snow mobiles collectively. We may experience on land owned by Chrysler and we’d go on the market. We might construct bonfires and sit round it.” 

Sumner was provided retirement when he turned 62.

He stated, “GM was good to me till I turned 62, however they needed to purchase me out. I wouldn’t take the buyout and took retirement as a substitute.”

Shortly after, Gene and Becky moved again to Alabama. Initially, they went to Marion County, however Gene didn’t wish to be there.

He defined, “I stated to my spouse, why don’t we go to the Fairview space down in Cullman. I used to trip right here rising up. My aunt and uncle lived right here. I don’t know why, I assume it was the town of Cullman and the huge streets, however I simply fell in love with Cullman.”

They seemed for a home to purchase, and after getting a listing from a realtor, they discovered a house behind Baileyton Mayor Johnny Dyar’s home that had a “on the market by proprietor” signal. The Sumners beloved it and acquired the house from the Jones household.

Stated Gene, “I don’t know one other place that I may have retired and been as comfortable as me and my spouse are than right here.” 

Sumner started attending the Baileyton City Council assembly’s often. Gene, who’s described by Baileyton City Clerk Patricia Gilbert as “too good to say no,” admits that he additionally likes everyone.

He stated, “You probably have somewhat drawback with any individual, simply put them on the again burner. They’ll come round and also you’ll get used to them.”

This optimistic perspective and love for the Baileyton neighborhood motivated him to assist whomever and nevertheless he may. 

These attributes didn’t go unnoticed when the city wanted to fill the council seat left vacant after the passing of Walter Mead.

Sumner stated, “Johnny Dyar had talked about the emptiness and I believed that it will be greatest for Mead’s son to take it. His job wouldn’t enable him the day without work for conferences. Subsequent factor I do know, the council voted and put me on the council.”

Sumner was sworn in on April 6, 2017 and stated he’ll serve till the time period ends. He then plans to retire but once more. 

Gene and Becky love dwelling in Baileyton. Their kids Dewayne and Michelle stay close by. Their older daughter, Debbie Jean, handed away in July 2017 after a battle with A number of Sclerosis. The Sumners give again to the city they now name house in some ways. Most lately they purchased all of the drinks and luggage of fruit for the city’s Christmas celebration. Every one that attended took house luggage of apples and oranges. They opted to do that for his or her associates and neighbors moderately than exchanging presents at house. 

Gene likes to giggle and enjoys being on the city’s senior middle with associates.

When requested about regrets or recommendation, he joked, “I married too younger! I acquired married at 26!”

As for recommendation, nonetheless laughing, he stated, “Nicely, these fellows within the service would get tattoos of their girlfriends’ names on their arm after which it would not work out. I at all times thought folks most likely ought not try this.” 

After an excellent giggle, Gene smiled, “I really like Baileyton. I do something I can to assist as a result of the folks right here have accomplished the identical for me and my household.”

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