P/Lt/C David A. Sumner, P, of Smithtown, N.Y., passed away at the age of 66 after a battle with cancer. He was a member of Smithtown Bay Power Squadron, where he had served as executive officer and earned 8 merit marks.
Originally from Beaver Falls, Pa., Sumner started his career as a locomotive fireman with the Pennsylvania and Lake Erie Railroad while he was still in high school, and then became a management trainee with the Penn Central Railroad. He received a bachelors degree in economics from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, where he met his future wife, Patty. They married and moved to Smithtown, where they raised their two children.
In 1973, Sumner joined the Long Island Rail Road as an air brake examiner. Over the years, he held a number of leadership roles, and as general manager of service planning and quality assurance, he developed the railroad’s timetables. He supervised operations in Pennsylvania Station during critical times. On 11 Sept. 2001, he developed the emergency plan to bring thousands of stranded commuters home after Penn Station had been closed. In the blackout in 2003, he worked to evacuate trains stuck in the tunnels and to restore normal service the next day. When he retired in 2006, Sumner was chief program officer for operations.
In his spare time, he enjoyed boating, fishing and spending time with his four grandchildren.