Cover photo for Mary Elizabeth Sumner's Obituary
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In Memory Of
Mary Elizabeth Sumner
1937 2023

Mary Elizabeth Sumner

June 17, 1937 — December 30, 2023

Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Sumner, age 86, passed away quietly at home Saturday, December 30th, 2023. Born June 17th, 1937 on Baptist Ridge in Celina, TN to parents Cluer L. Fikes and Willi B. (Chism) Fikes, she was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Herbert Ray Sumner; son, Tony Sumner; brothers, Elmer L. Fikes, Charles E. Fikes, and Richard G. Fikes; and sister, Patricia J. (Fikes) Comer.

Liz moved to Dayton when she was 7 years old and acquired her education at Holy Trinity, Emerson Elementary, and Stivers High School Class of 1955. As a teen, she worked as a seamstress in dry cleaners and car hop at Steve's Drive-In, where one summer, she met and fell in love with a dashing young man (Herbert) Ray Sumner. They married that Christmas Eve at his father's home in Tipp City, OH.

They continued to live in Dayton for some years and in 1963 purchased a home in Kettering, where they raised their 4 children, Jeanne, Steven, Robert, and Tony.

As a stay at home mother while the children were young, she earned money by cleaning, ironing, sewing, and babysitting, often paid in Top Value stamps. She was even able to squeeze monies to send her younger brother, Lew, who was in college at that time.

Where there was a neighbor in need, a hungry child who needed a hug, or a school volunteer required in a pinch, Liz was there.

She took great joy in caring for her children, and then grandchildren, creating quilts for each one to cuddle them while rocking and singing. It was her first grandchild who babbled, "Na, Na, Na," and caused Liz to adopt the name Nanny, which she answered to with quite great pride and love forevermore.

Liz took pride in her yard and flowers, as well as decorating for every holiday and delighting to see the looks on the faces of children enjoying them. She was excited to be presented with the "Neighborhood Beautiful" award from the City of Kettering and displayed it prominently.

Liz worked at Parkmore, Vito's Venice Inn, SS Kresgese, and K-Mart as the children grew older.

In 2018, limited mobility caused her to reside with daughter, Jeanne, and son-in-law, Joe, in Moraine.

Liz became a member of the Seniors Club and attended Memorial United Methodist Church in West Carrollton, occasionally.

Her twilight years brought enjoyment watching birds, woodland creatures, and flowers from the deck at home.

Liz is survived by her daughter, Jeanne (Joseph) Ray; sons, Steven (Florie) Sumner and Robert (Catherine) Sumner; grandchildren, Jennifer Kukal, Michael Huffman, Angela (Joshua) Campbell, Shannon (Scott) Bowen, Bret (Caitlyn) Sumner, Jessica Sumner, Bryan Sumner, Justin Ray, Lindsay (Brandon) Mullen, Briana (Benjaman) Corchado; along with ten great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren, who all loved her deeply and will sorely miss her smiling face and tender touch.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2024 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at Newcomer Centerville Chapel (820 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Dayton, Ohio 45459). A Celebration of Life will begin at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Liz can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

To share a memory of Liz or leave a special message for her family, please click the "Share Memories" button above.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Elizabeth Sumner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 6, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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