Dr. William Arthur Sumner, Jr. of Kinston, North Carolina passed away on October 29, 2019, just 12 hours shy of his 87th birthday. Dr. Sumner is preceded in death by his parents Bill and Violet, his brother Bob, and his second wife Judy.
Dr. Sumner is survived by his loving family and friends, including: his daughter Lynda, his son-in-law Chuck, and his granddaughter Kathryn; his daughter Suzanne and his son-in-law Wyatt; his son Todd, his daughter-in-law Sherry, and his grandson Jude; his sister-in-law Alice; his niece Betsy (Scott), his grandnephew Ben (Kaisha) and his great-grandnephew Wilder, his grandnephew Thom, and his grandniece Ellen (Daniel); his niece Bev and his grandnephews Ross and Evan Darwin (Alix); his nephew Bobby and his grandnephews Teddy and Joey; his nephew Billy (Cheryl), his grandniece Kelsey (Andy), his grandnephew Jake, and his grandniece Claire; his first wife Shirley; his nephew Scott; his niece Sandy (Ron); his daughter-in-law Barrett (Ron); and his sweetheart Betty and her family Laura (Andrew) and Jonathan.
Dr. Sumner received his training as a veterinarian at his beloved Cornell University’s Veterinary School. Upon his graduation, Dr. Sumner completed his military service at Fort Bragg and then joined the practice at the Greensboro Veterinary Hospital. As Director of the Greensboro Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Sumner ensured that his hospital became certified under the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), an agency that accredits veterinary hospitals that demonstrate benchmarks of excellence.
Dr. Sumner’s career as a skilled veterinarian and leader was filled with many noteworthy accomplishments. Dr. Sumner served as the President of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, and he was awarded its Distinguished Veterinarian Award in appreciation for his leadership. In addition, Dr. Sumner represented North Carolina as a Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Most notably, Dr. Sumner was installed as President of the American Animal Hospital Association to advocate for the highest standards in treatment care for pets nationwide. Dr. Sumner’s tireless work with AAHA garnered him the AAHA Charles E. Bild Practitioner Award "In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Small Animal Practice."
For Dr. Sumner’s work to found North Carolina State University’s Veterinary School, he received an award for outstanding service to the NCVMA. In appreciation for Dr. Sumner’s advocacy, NCSU conferred to him the status of honorary alumnus (alumni indictio honorarii).
Dr. Sumner was also heavily involved in his local community, serving as President of the Guilford County Humane Society and starting the Pamlico Animal Welfare Society. Perhaps Dr. Sumner’s greatest legacy is the large number of veterinarians and doctors he inspired and mentored over his long career.
Dr. Sumner dedicated his time on this earth to loving his family and friends, enjoying the great outdoors, ensuring the best possible care for God’s creatures, recognizing the potential in others and helping them achieve their dreams.
A memorial celebration of Dr. Sumner’s life will be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 800 Rountree Street, Kinston, North Carolina 28501 on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kinston, the Cornell Veterinary School, the North Carolina Veterans Home in Kinston, any Hospice agency, or any local Animal Welfare agency, such as the Pamlico Animal Welfare Society at PO Box 888, Oriental, NC 28571, or the Lenoir County SPCA at PO Box 1481, Kinston, NC 28503.
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