Molalla Pioneer

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Former state representative Mac Sumner dies

By Abby Sewell
Molalla Pioneer

Mac Sumner, a longtime resident of Molalla who served as city councilor, mayor and state representative, died last night after a long battle with cancer. He was 67 years old.

Flags at public institutions statewide will be flown at half mast on May 20 in Sumner's memory, by order of Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Sumner, who was born in Missouri but lived in Oregon from the age of seven, had a long history of public service in the Molalla area, according to his many friends and associates.

Molalla interim city manager and former mayor Mike Clarke, who served on the city council with Sumner for many years, said Sumner's political career was marked by fairness and community spirit.

"Mac worked hard for the common person and what was best for them," he said. "It was what the people wanted, not what was best for him. I remember Mac and I always joked about him being a Republican and me being a Democrat, but it was always joking in fondness."

Clarke added, "(Sumner) really did care for our community and our state. He believed in our government and the process of the government. You could see that in his work."

Sumner was appointed to the Molalla City Council in October 1997 and then elected to the position, starting in January of 1998. He served one term as mayor from 2001 to 2002, then returned to the council until spring of 2004, when he resigned to run for the District 18 State Representative seat, according to Molalla City Recorder Melanie Maben.

"He was a fine man, just a really good person and genuinely concerned about the citizens," Maben said. "I not only enjoyed working with him as a councilor and mayor, but he was also my friend."

Sumner served one term as state representative and was elected for a second term in November of 2006.

He had publicly announced his cancer in September, 2006 but initially said he would be able to serve the two year term. Declining health led him to resign the post on Dec. 8, 2006.

Aside from politics, Sumner was deeply involved with his church, the Molalla Christian Church, where he served as an elder and volunteered regularly, Pastor Bob Laver said. Among his hobbies, Sumner was a gourmet chef and frequently helped prepare dinners for new member classes and receptions and other church events.

Laver, who met Sumner in 2003, said, "I admire him as a man of conviction and a man of faith. He was passionate about his Lord, his family and his country. "

A public service will be on Sunday May 20th at 2 p.m. at the Molalla Christian Church on East Third Street and Berkley Avenue, Molalla. Several members of the Oregon Congressional Delegation are expected to participate.

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