Home > Obituaries > JAMES “JIM” SUMNER, AGE 65


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James “Jim” Sumner, age 65, of Kingston, passed away January 18, 2020. Jim was born in Knoxville, Tennessee lived, graduated from West High School and the University of Tennessee where he played trumpet in the Pride of the Southland Band. He was a registered Professional Engineer who received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He completed graduate work in both Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management.

Mr. Sumner served as a Program Manager for the UT Institute for Nuclear Security at the Howard H Baker Center for Public Policy. He retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he served as a Program Director and Division Director. He was very proud of his work supporting nonproliferation missions as well as managing efforts to secure at-risk nuclear materials and equipment. He previously served as the Deputy Program Manager for Oak Ridge support for the Highly Enriched Uranium Transparency Program, monitoring the down-blending of weapons-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons. He received a patent for novel instrumentation.

Jim was on the Board of Directors for Michael Dunn Center, was past president of the Kingston Rotary, and was a volunteer tax preparer for the Roane County United Ways. He was also a graduate of the Leadership Roane program.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents: James and Francis Sumner. He is survived by his wife: Deborah Helfenberger Sumner; brother-in-law: David Helfenberger (Shelly) of Morristown; sister-in-law: Diane Helfenberger Clark (Randy); special cousin: Tom Woosley (Jane) of Birmingham, Alabama; and dear cousins in the Chattanooga area: Tom (Bonnie) Cope, Patsy (Jack) Herring, and Susan (Mike) Ledbetter.

The family will receive friends from 2 until 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 21, 2020 with funeral services to follow at Kyker Funeral Home in Kingston, Tennessee.

In lieu of flowers, Jim requested donations to any of the following non-profit organizations:

Cancer Support Community East Tennessee, 2230 Sutherland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37919

Friends of the Smokies, P.O Box 1660, Kodak, TN 37764-7660

The Gary Sinese Foundation, P.O. Box 368 Woodland Hills, CA 91365

The Michael Dunn Center Foundation, 629 Gallaher Rd, Kingston, TN 37763

Roane Imagination Library, P.O. Box 128, Kingston, TN 37763

Thompson Cancer Survival Center, 1901 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37916

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