Obituary, Yreka

Obituary: H.D. “Dick” Sumner

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21 Jul 1931 – 17 Feb 2024

H.D. “Dick” Sumner Obituary

Dr. H.D. “Dick” Sumner passed away, peacefully, in his home on February 17, 2024, at the age of 92.

Dick was born on July 21, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, the only child to Dr. Irving Emerson & Erna Margaret Sumner. They relocated to Carmel, California where he spent most of his childhood. While active in multiple sports, rocking the piano at school events and working on a cattle ranch up the Carmel Valley, he was most frequently found fishing or free diving for abalone off the Carmel coastline.

Upon graduating from Carmel High School, he served our country in the Korean War. Like so many of his friends, he did so with honor and courage. Following his service, he returned to Carmel and married his high school sweetheart and the mother of his three children, Patricia Ann Timbers. While working and raising a young family, he achieved his Masters in Fisheries Parasitology from Humboldt State, followed by his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, and moved to Yreka in 1964. He joined and later owned Yreka Veterinary Hospital. He was known to have a rugged bedside manner with both small and large animal owners but was entrusted by all, and importantly the animals he cared so deeply for. He was a renowned orthopedist and equine practitioner in the region. From a colleague, “– a legendary DVM who was decades, perhaps generations, ahead of his time in his practice of veterinary medicine.”  During his career, his profession was a 24/7 on call role, but Dick made time for outdoor activities with his family: backpacking, skiing, fishing, gold mining, and annual hunts for deer and elk locally and in Eastern Oregon. His wife Patricia preceded him in death in 1976.

In his later years and retirement, and with the love and companionship of Roz, Dick found a softer side with the two enjoying their mutual love of music, the arts and outdoors. As Roz reflects, “What a force of nature.” She unselfishly encouraged all phases of his art – as a pianist, a distinguished [world record holding] fly-fisherman, a gifted photographer and a gifted craftsman. Again from a colleague, “He was a perfectionist to the core, whether it was expectations of himself, his family, his friends or his professional colleagues. He wanted things done right, from fly fishing to placement of the hand above the piano keys- it had to be correct.”  His interest in fly-fishing led to a mastery of the craft of rod construction and finally some of the most exquisite of rods, the butts of which were composed of exotic woods and turned on his lathe. This interest in wood working led to his fascination with and craftsmanship of furniture that can be found throughout the North State.

Dick’s mantra- “There is no bad day fly-fishing”. If not on the water testing a new fly pattern in a quiet game of catch & release, you would find him in his workshop crafting items as he shared lessons and stories with his children and grandchildren. He was their teacher– crusty, impatient, open minded in learning to excel in every aspect of life, an open and sometimes painfully unfiltered communicator- a gift to them. He learned from his students: his beloved grandkids. Just this past fall, Dick evaluated several young horses for gait and confirmation soundness while Facetiming with his granddaughter, all the while lamenting, “If I had only had computers and technology like this when I practiced medicine!” Then ordering, “Spin him to the left again, faster.”

In addition to being a US Marine and Korean War Veteran, Dick was a founding director of the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden, a Board Member of the Klamath Fisheries Task Force, founding member of Trout Unlimited, a community volunteer as veterinarian for the Siskiyou Golden Fair and local 4-H Clubs, a distinguished member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and a proud member of the National Rifle Association.

Dick is survived by his current wife of 40 years, Rosalind Sumner. His 3 children; Scott (Kim) Sumner, Susan (Blair) Hart, Shannon (Terry) Salvestro . 2 Stepchildren; Josh (Jen) Newton, Nancy (Paul) Bloom 5 Grandchildren; Travis (Erika) Salvestro, Nick (Ashley) Sumner, Zach (Kayla) Salvestro, Alexandra Hart, & Eric Sumner. 5 Step Grandchildren; Madeline, Ella, & Parker Bloom, Ryan & Shaun Newton and 7 great grandchildren.

~Devoted Husband ~Beloved Father ~Epic Grandpa ~Cherished Great Grandpa ~ Loyal Friend & Mentor ~Force of Nature

Forever in our hearts…

Expressions of sympathy can be made to benefit Madrone Hospice Inc.; madronehospice.org 255 Collier Circle Yreka, CA 96097

No services are planned at this time.

Source: Girdner Funeral Chapel


One Comment

  1. Dave and Ann Herfindahl

    Dear Roz, Josh and Nancy,
    Thinking of you all. Remembering Doc Sumner from earlier years. The memories live on.

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