Sumner Johnson (1924 - 2017)

9 entries
  • "was saddened to learn of the passing of Sumner....My folks..."
    - rich riordan
  • "To the family My Dad Frank Duspiva was a good friend of..."
    - Gary Duspiva
  • "Betty, Lynn and family. Ann and I extend our deepest..."
    - Bob and Ann Fale
  • "We are so saddened by Sumner's passing, he and Betty were..."
  • "may god bless you in this time of morning and after."
    - barbara
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Sumner M. Johnson
October 11, 1924 - February 4, 2017
Sumner M. Johnson, 92, died February 4, 2017, at a local care facility. Born October 11, 1924, in Nampa, Idaho, to Ambrose and Leta (Firkins) Johnson; he was the 4th child, following Wayne, Wanda, and Eugene. Sumner grew up on the family farm, attending Nampa schools. He graduated from Nampa High School in 1942 where is lettered in two sports, as a running back for the football team and pitcher for the baseball team.
During World War II, Sumner served in the Navy in aviation and as an electronic technician. His primary job, in his recollection, was to maintain the baseball diamond on base. He would say "War is hell. I have to report to the diamond at 3:30."
After the war, Sumner studied at the University of Idaho where he developed a lifelong love of the Vandals. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Vandal baseball team, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1948.
After graduation, Sumner returned to Nampa to work as an engineer. He was employed as assistant city engineer for Nampa from 1949 to 1951. It was during this time he met the number one love of his life, Betty Wisely. The always practical Sumner had to purchase a car, a shotgun, and a set of golf clubs before Betty received her diamond. They were married in 1950. Their son, Lynn, was born in 1952, daughter Renee in 1955, daughter Becky in 1958, and daughter Nancy in 1965.
Sumner worked with the engineering firm Briggs and Associates from 1951 to 1954. He then partnered in the firm Johnson and Underkofler, a relationship that continued until 1962 when the firm Johnson, Underkofler, and Briggs was formed. J-U-B Engineers, the second love of Sumner's life, was incorporated in 1969 with Sumner serving as president until 1979 when he became chairman of the board until his semi-retirement in 1983. Sumner resumed an active role as chairman of the board in 1986 until his full retirement in 1992.
Over the years, Sumner took an active role in his beloved city of Nampa. From 1957 to 1961, he served on the Nampa Planning and Zoning Commission. Sumner was a past officer of the Nampa Industrial Corporation, which was set up in 1949 to promote industrial development in the city. He served as a trustee of the Nampa School District from 1965 to 1968 and served as a member of the Canyon County Planning and Zoning Commission from 1981 to 1984.
He was chairman of the Nampa Area United Way Campaign in 1967, served as director of the Nampa Chamber of Commerce from 1963 to 1965, and as a member of Mercy Medical Center's board of directors from 1981 to 1986. Active with the Nampa Rotary club for over 30 years, Sumner served as president for two years and was a recipient of the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship award. He was also a member of the B.P.O.E (Elks) for more than 50 years.
Sumner was an active member of several professional engineering organizations and a past officer of the Idaho State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
He was a loyal Idaho Vandals booster and received the University of Idaho's Alumni Association's Silver and Gold Professional award in 1996. Sumner served as a member of the engineering advisory board of the University Of Idaho College Of Engineering and was proud to have a classroom in the Engineering and Physics Complex bearing his name.
Sumner was an avid gardener producing beautiful flowers and plentiful fruit and vegetables that he liked to share with family and friends. He enjoyed a variety of bird hunting, playing golf in the Broadmore Country Club's Thursday night men's league, as well as playing pitch and bridge games with friends. Sumner had a special place in his heart for Featherville, camping with family at "the point" in the early years and at the cabin from 1973 on. Our family has many fond memories of excursions down Trinity Creek with dad, outings to cut firewood, and picking huckleberries at "Duck Rock". He enjoyed entertaining family and friends at the cabin and his favorite spot was sitting on the deck enjoying the mountain setting.
Sumner is survived by his wife of 66 years, Betty, his children Lynn (Diane), Renee (Sarah), Becky (Kirk), and Nancy (Pete), his granddaughters Amelia (George) and Lucy, and great granddaughter Charlie. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings Wayne, Wanda, and Eugene, and sister-in-law, Lela.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Family Life Memory Care and Signature Hospice for their loving care and support of Sumner the past two years.
A viewing for family and friends will be held on Tuesday evening, February 14, 2017, from 7:00pm - 8:30pm at the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel, 415 12th Ave. So. - 442-8171. A private burial will precede the Memorial Service at the Kohlerlawn Cemetery. A memorial service honoring Sumner will be held on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at 2:00pm at the Nampa Civic Center, 311 3rd St. So. in Nampa with military honors by personnel from the US Navy. The family encourages black and gold attire for those attending. An online guest book is available at
The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the University of Idaho College of Engineering, 875 Perimeter Dr MS 3147, Moscow, ID 83644; Signature Hospice, 312 3rd St S, Nampa, ID 83651 ; or the .


Funeral Home
Nampa Funeral Home Yraguen Chapel
415 12th Avenue South
Nampa, ID 83651
(208) 442-8171
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Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Feb. 12, 2017
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