She was born Nov. 17, 1913 to Benjamin Franklin and Hattie Rodenberg Laird in Round Knob, where she grew up and attended school along with her four sisters and two brothers.
In August 1931, she married William H. Sumner and settled in Metropolis. They had one son, Ronald Wayne Sumner.
Together, Velma and Bill owned and operated several businesses including Standard Station and Sumner Service and Sales.
She was also employed by First National Bank of Metropolis from 1955 until her retirement in 1980.
Velma was very active in her church as well as the community. A member of the First Christian Church since 1937, she taught Sunday school and was a member of Christian Women Fellowship and the Progressive Women Sunday School Class.
She was also a member of Massac County Homemakers, Metropolis Federated Women’s Club, Massac County Historical Society, and Metropolis Business and Professional Women’s Club, having been selected their Woman of the Year in 1980.
She had traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada as well as abroad.
She also enjoyed quilting, playing bridge and baking, but most of all, she loved spending time with her family.
Velma is survived by her devoted and loving granddaughters, Julie Jacobs and husband Richard of Metropolis and Rhonda Smyly and husband Wayne of Barnwell, S.C.; grandson, Todd Sumner and wife SuVonne of Metropolis; great-grandchildren, Ashley Derrick and husband Chris of Irmo, S.C., Blake Austin and wife Lindsay of Barnwell, Matthew Jacobs and wife Hailey of Nashville, Tenn., Mason Jacobs of Champaign, Meredith Bunting and husband Bryan of Metropolis and Madeline Sumner of Metropolis; great-great-grandsons, Austin and Banks Derrick and Cameron and Cayson Austin; one sister, Mary Lou Rehlmeyer of Metropolis; one brother, Paul Laird of Pueblo, Colo.: and a host of nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, William “Bill” Sumner; her son, Ronald Wayne Sumner; and her siblings, Mae Miller, Ruby Kommer, Aline Gowins and Roy Laird.
Velma was a very loving, compassionate, generous lady, who touched many lives throughout her 98 years. She will be sadly missed by her friends and family.
Funeral service was held Saturday at Miller Funeral Home in Metropolis with Jim Haley officiating.
Burial followed at Metropolis Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers were Richard Jacobs, Wayne Smyly, Matthew Jacobs, Blake Austin, Brad Rehlmeyer and Randy Harris. Honorary pallbearers were Leonard Adkins, Stewart “Mutt” McDearmon, Robert Mumford and Pat Fiorentini.
Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 2580 Federal Drive, Suite 403, Decatur, IL 62526; or American Cancer Society, 4503 West DeYoung, Suite 200C, Marion, IL 62959.