KILMARNOCK—Brice Saunders Sumner, a former engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, died Monday, May 6, at his home in Kilmarnock. He was 88.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Mr. Sumner’s childhood included a sojourn with his father, an Army Corps of Engineers colonel, and family in occupied Japan immediately after the end of World War II where he developed a love of wooden boats that remained a lifelong pursuit.
Mr. Sumner’s interest in boats led him to Dahlgren, because it is on the Potomac River. He spent his career there as a mechanical engineer.
When the United States entered the Korean War, he dropped out of Harvard College during his freshman year to enlist in the U.S. Army where he served in an artillery unit on the Korean peninsula. He later served in the Corps of Engineers during his military service.
Following the war, he returned to Harvard and graduated, going on to attain his master’s at the University of Illinois and then earning a doctorate from Cornell University. But, one of his most treasured achievements was earning the respect of the well-known Colonial Beach boatbuilder, the late Clarence Stanford, whom he helped with design plans for the Pathfinder II.
In Colonial Beach, Mr. Sumner lived for a time with his wife, Shannon, and four daughters at Stanford’s Marina on his beloved trawler yacht, Edisto, which he and Shannon later used to travel to Florida and New England numerous times.
Mr. Sumner’s entire family was with him when he died. He had become bedridden with Alzheimer’s disease. Ever the devoted father, his last words expressed his concern for his girls.
In addition to his wife, Shannon, he is survived by his daughters, Cammie Hutchings of Falls Church, Libby Turowski of Mattapoisett, Mass., Becky Latane´ of Washington’s Birthplace, Malley Delurey of Williamsburg and all of their families; as well as his dear brother, George Sumner of Paris, France.
A private family ceremony is scheduled.
To honor the wonderful care provided to Brice, the family suggests contributions to Right at Home In Home Care Assistance, 87 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA 22482, 804-480-2151; or Riverside Walter Reed Hospice Program, 7358 Main Street, Gloucester, VA 23061, 804-693-1111.