The Rev. Dr. Sumner Walters was born on Christmas Eve, 1924 and died on January 9, 2021, at age 96. Throughout his life, Sumner believed he had a lot for which to be thankful. His education began at University Elementary School City, St Louis, Mo and continued in Alameda, California. This period included seven years of Scouting, from Cub to Eagle ranks, and Sea Scouting. In 1942, Sumner volunteered for the Army Air Corps. He served three years in Dutch New Guinea and the Philippines with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Following WWII, he entered Stanford University and completed his Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees in three years. He spent three years at Oxford University working toward his Ph.D., as well as his ordination in the Episcopal Church. He was honored to be ordained at Canterbury Cathedral, in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1952.
Chief among Sumner's lifelong interests were the Episcopal Church, in particular its Christian Education and Ecumenical Movements. He served as Rector at parishes in California, Oregon and Washington states. Sumner also spent five years in New York, serving at the the national Episcopal Church's Education Department, in Leadership Training. In addition, Sumner served for five years as headmaster of the San Rafael Military Academy where he was affectionately known among the cadets as "Old Smiley."
Sumner was a strong, lifelong swimmer, who especially enjoyed his years as a Stanford University lifeguard. He was an avid hiker, climber and skier. Among Northwest peaks he summited Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mt. St Helens, before the eruption. In the Himalaya, in 1990, he trekked, in the foothills of Mt. Everest to 18,500 feet and, in Japan, led a group of students to the summit of Mt. Fuji. Sumner was a leader at the Rossmoor Trails Club of Walnut Creek, CA, serving as president in the year 2000.
A loving father and grandfather, Sumner is survived by his beloved wife, Roxanne; his children Sumner Paul, Leanna Kay, Evelyn Page and Mary Ann Marguerie; and his grandchildren, Tony, Page, Sydney, Mallory and Sean. He was preceded in death by this parents, the Rt. Rev. Sumner and Evelyn Walters; his first wife, Norma Jean and his sister, Mary Ann Robbins.
A funeral Eucharist will take place for Sumner's service on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 2:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Grace at Grace Cathedral, 1055 Taylor St., San Francisco, where Sumner often preached, and where he and Roxanne were married. Sumner asked that his friends remember him with a smile. Express condolences at www.oakparkhillschapel.com.
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