Dr. Jack Sumner

Dr. Jack Allan Sumner, age 86, passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Aug. 23, 2019 at the Veteran’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. Born on Feb. 10, 1933 in Des Plaines, Illinois to John and Sylvia Sumner, the new family moved to Arizona in 1938.

Jack began his journey in education in Phoenix, where he met his 80+ year friend, Norm Silvers. Jack graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1951. Shortly thereafter, his cousin Nancy Brewer introduced him to his future wife, JoAnne Richards.

After serving in the United States Navy, Jack began his college education, which culminated in earning a PhD from Kansas State University in 1973. He served on the faculty of several prestigious universities, including the University of Arkansas, Florida International University, and the University of South Dakota. As a specialist in adult and higher education, he taught masters and doctoral level students and developed precursors to modern distance learning programs. He lectured on the design of distance learning both nationally and internationally and was designated as Educator of the Year by the Great Plains Adult Education Association.

Jack’s teaching, research, and leadership touched thousands in their pursuit to better themselves through lifelong learning programs. Along the way, he made lifelong friends such as Michael Rask, Stan Green, Albert Campbell, Al Clapsaddle and Charles and Judy Divita. One would be hard pressed to find a better Dad, truer friend, and more gifted teacher than Jack. He will be missed by many, both personally and professionally.

Jack is survived by wife, Rossy; brother, Richard; sons, Steve, Scott, and Gus; daughters, Charlotte, LaRissa, and Stacey; and by nine grandchildren and great grandson, Marley.

A memorial service is being planned for a future date.

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