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Dora High Loses 1937 Alumnus

CandleAlexander James Sumner was born on Columbus Day in 1919 in Dora, Ala., the son of Luther McLeod and Alma Evans Sumner. Alex was the fourth of six children and is survived by his brothers, Bryceon J. Sumner and H. McLeod Sumner.

Alex graduated from Dora High School in 1937 and worked briefly for a local coal mining company before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCCs sent him to Oregon, where he was stationed at Camp Trask in Tillamook County. While in Tillamook he met a young local woman named Rhoda J. Trusty. They soon began a courtship before Alex entered the U.S. Army in 1941. They were married on June 12, 1941, by Alex’s brother-in-law, a Walker County, Ala., minister.

Alex spent the early years of the war state side in Florida, Texas, Illinois and Washington. He was then sent to the war in the Pacific serving on the islands of Saipan, Guam and Tinian. He finished his service as a first lieutenant with the Oregon National Guard in 1956.

After the war, Alex and Rhoda settled in Portland, Ore., and he became an auditor for American Can Company. He stayed with the company, working in Portland, Salem and Ft. Dodge, Iowa, until he retired. Alex took accounting classes at Portland State University on the G.I. Bill and was a member of the International Accounting Society. 

In 1956, American Can Company opened a plant in Salem, where Alex was transferred. He began work at the plant before construction was completed, later returning to Salem and working again with American Can Co. until the plant closed in 1987. He had worked at the plant the day it opened and the day it closed. 

Alex was preceded in death by his spouse, Rhoda, who died in 1989. 

He is survived by his sons, James (and spouse, Annabelle Sumner) of Salem, Oregon, and Kent (and spouse, Claudia Cave) of Corvallis; grandchildren Emily Skelding (and spouse, Philip Skelding) of New Orleans, La., Jacob Sumner (and spouse, Miranda Sohn) of Chicago, Ill.; and grandchildren, Sumner Skelding, Ramona Skelding, Cole Ivelia-Sumner and Jude Sumner.

 A memorial service was held for Alex on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009, at 1 p.m. at the Trinity Covenant Church in Salem, Ore.

 
 

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