Clyde Luther “Buck” Sumerlin, of Show Low, AZ for 47 years and most recently of Tonto Basin and San Tan Valley, AZ flew home to be with the Lord on Sunday, May 22, 2016 in the home of his son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Bobbie in San Tan Valley. Family and friends were at his side, who prayed and sang and had moments of silence as he squeezed his granddaughter’s hand before his departure. He was 88. He was born December 24, 1927 in Biloxi, Mississippi to Edward T. Sumerlin and Mary E. Stinson.
Buck is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sally Scarlett (Rudd), only child of George L Rudd & Margit Thanem; two of his three children he shared with his first wife of 19 years, Betty June Wright: Steven G. Sumerlin of Hawaii and Clyde J. Sumerlin of Flagstaff, AZ; two of his three children that blessed his life with Sally: Mark E. Sumerlin of San Tan Valley, AZ and Christine M. Sumerlin of Tempe, AZ; 14 grandchildren: June Treece and Hannah Meyer of Denver, CO, Josiah Sumerlin of Tempe, AZ, Matthew Broxterman, David Broxterman, and Anna Taylor of Kansas, Kenneth D DeBorde of Cottonwood, AZ, Kevin Stokes (step) of Tucson, AZ, Tyson Sumerlin of Maryland, Colton Sumerlin of Pinetop, AZ, Alexandra Romero of Mesa, AZ and Gabriel Romero of Show Low, AZ, Jasmyne Gaston (step) and Shannon Sumerlin of San Tan Valley; 17 great grandchildren; one brother, Rex Sumerlin; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, as well as five brothers, Edward, Detroy, Willie, John Lewis and Freddie; four sisters, Velma, Frances, Mildred, and Dorothy; as well as one son of his first marriage, Lawrence W Sumerlin, and one daughter of his second marriage, Tracy M. DeBorde.
Buck learned to work and “survive” (a word he used many times) at an early age while living in Mississippi and Alabama under difficult economic circumstances. He shined shoes, sold peanuts by the bag, went to the boat dock in Alabama and took the bananas that were given him from the banana boats and sold them, and sold newspapers, and he said he always took the money “home to Mama”. He hitchhiked to Hawthorne, Nevada when he was very young and worked either in a mine or for a railroad. He said he slept in a tent with his pet snake.
He had not completed high school when he joined the US Navy and entered active duty on May 1, 1944 and served in the European African Middle Eastern Campaign in WWII. He held the rank of Quartermaster Third Class and was on the USS Merrimack, an oiler, USS SC-1013, a sub-chaser, and the USS Wandank, a tug.
After his discharge from the Navy, he returned home to get his GED, and he married his first wife in Palatka, FL, with whom he had three sons. After the birth of their first son, they moved to Colorado, where their second and third sons were born.
He was very self-motivated and learned and perfected many trade skills by studying any technical resource he could find, and by completing correspondence courses, such as electrical, instrumentation, pipe-fitting, welding, carpentry, mechanics, and hydraulics. He worked in paper mills, wall board plants, chemical plants, had a bar-b-q restaurant in Palatka, moved houses, and started both a TV repair shop and a welding shop in Colorado.
He left Colorado in 1966 on his way to go see his mother after his divorce, and he stopped in Henderson, Nevada and got a job at Stauffer Chemical Company the same day he arrived. He met Sally in Las Vegas, and they were married December 22, 1966. In Sept. 1968, Buck, Sally, and their nine month old daughter, Tracy, moved to Show Low.
Buck started working at the paper mill in Snowflake, and later started an appliance repair business with his friend and co-worker, Doug Beeman. It was named D & B Appliance Repair. From that business sprang Sumerlin Electric, after he obtained his electrical contracting license. On $1000 earnest money and a loan from the bank, Buck purchased a block machine in New Mexico and had it disassembled and transported to Show Low, where Sumerlin Building Block was born, which provided block for many of the structures in Show Low. It was later sold to Show Low Block Company. After that, he had a recycling business called Sumerlin Metals, a patio stone paver block plant, a welding shop, paper recycling, a scrap yard, a swap meet business, a Bar B Q ribs and sandwich business, and Buck’s Gourmet BBQ Sauce. One of his self- motivating phrases was, “You got to make it happen”. Another was, “Without the Lord you cannot succeed, but with Him you cannot fail”. Some others: “Do not look dimly in the distance, but do what is clearly at hand”, and “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Buck passed his strong work ethic on to his children as he taught them the importance of responsibility and getting the work done first, and then they could play. He involved them in everything he did and tried to teach them what he knew, and to “do what you say you are going to do”. He was a good and faithful husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. He was a romantic who liked to sing and dance and have fun. And he enjoyed poetry and was very expressive in the way he showed his affection to others. It is true that “he never met a stranger”, and often times people he had just met were left laughing and smiling. His heart was big! At the same time, he never hesitated to tell you what he thought. He never forgot his roots and he was very grateful to God for the way his life had been blessed.
Buck was a generous man and always had compassion for those who were less fortunate and offered work of some kind to anyone who came to him for assistance. He liked being around people, joking and laughing with them. He had a strong personality that filled the room and left a big empty space when he would leave. We are grateful he no longer has to struggle with the effects of the chronic lung disease that he battled for so long.
Buck was a Show Low City Councilman for eight years and served as Vice Mayor for four years. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Show Low, a life-time member of the VFW, as well as a member of the Show Low Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Masons for 50 years.
San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home of Queen Creek, AZ handled the arrangements for cremation. A memorial service for Buck is being planned for Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 11:00 AM at the First Baptist Church in Show Low, AZ Ph. 928-537-4749. The services will be officiated by FBC Pastor Michael Heath and Pastor Dennis Adams from The Church at Arrowhead in Glendale, AZ.
A light lunch will be served in the fellowship hall following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to:
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 400 S. Colorado Blvd, Ste. 840, Denver, CO 80246 www.cff.org/colorado or Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation, 2929 E Camelback Rd., Ste. #122, Phoenix, AZ 85016 Ph. 602-933-4483 http://phoenixchildrensfoundation.org.