Sheldon Sumey

Profile Updated: August 13, 2016
Residing In: Casper, WY USA
Spouse/Partner: Judy Richards
Occupation: Retired
Children/Grandchildren: None. Judy has a grandniece (Taylor Cunningham, born 1993) who is a Down's baby, who has graduated More…high school, as of 2013. A sweeter person never lived. Also, my sister has been tasked with raising a grandson (Charles Brooks, born 2005) who has learning disability. My sister's husband has had some serious health issues in recent years. In and out of the hospital.
Yes! Attending Reunion
School Story: What have you done since 1962?

Casper College AA 1965
University of Wyoming BA 1968, MA 1971
Bob Marshall Florist (Family Business) 1970-85
Active in State and County Democratic Party since 1988; centrist and progressive.
Active in Anglican (Episcopal and Continuing) and Lutheran Church (ELCA) since 1963--traditional in public worship (Nicene Creed and Sacraments), progressive in theology.
Was primary caregiver for parents from 1985 to 2006, and my mother's cat since then. The cat has taken up the habit or rousting me out of bed 2-3 times a night, to get treats, fresh water, and to have the blinds opened. He is now the same as 80 years old.

What is your favorite memory of high school?

Miss Shidler's Latin classes, just how lackadaisical I was about homework.
The first jump off the diving board (I have since discovered my fear of heights is a function of vertigo and unsteadiness on my feet, resulting from a childhood fall.)
Also, the bonehead move shooting out a light at the rifle range.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I have given it a lot of thought. We have zipped down to Arizona any number of times. as Judy's family have all relocated there, but we are more comfortable here than any place else. I simply do not believe in the geographic cure. I still have some attachment to the Flathead Valley, but have no real desire to go back there (have not been there since 1964), unless it would be to show Judy around--her mother was born in Whitefish.

Where is the farthest you have gone on vacation?

Mexican Riviera cruise 2010, celebrating Judy's retirement--she broke her right elbow third night out, was treated in Puerto Vallarta. I have nothing but good to say about Mexican medical care. She needed no further treatment other than therapy.
Ohio, 1960, 1969. Louisiana (1968 Sugar Bowl).
Though I remain deeply interested in Egypt, that civilization is dead and I have no desire to go there (it continues in Christendom and Islam), so I would rather visit Peru and take in the Inca and previous cultures, and visit with the real old-timers, you know, the ones who don't look so good. No, I will not drink ayahuasca. I can get high without any drugs. Good music will do it.

Who was your favorite/most influential teacher?

Miss Shidler - fave and influence
Miss Lindsey - influence
Mr. Weishaar - liked his wit
There were two in Kalispell whose influence was paramount: Clarence Baker (wood shop) and Roger Marshall (physical education). Just about any male who has picked up discipline can credit shop and gym teachers. Two items; (1) Run with the pack, (2) Cultivate the social graces. Academics runs a poor third.
I might mention Jim Sweeney (coach at Fresno State). I took a baseball clinic from him in the 1950s and I found him a real gentleman.

How old were you when you got married the first/only time?

32 - Judy and I got together when we worked on "1776," for the Bicentennial. We found out we had our eyes on each other from the time I showed up in 1958.
I have had to give her some tough love, though I try to make sure she is not alone for any length of time--packing a cell phone is the main way I do this. Also, give her a time when I will be back.

How and in what ways have you changed since high school?

My views have changed from conservative to progressive, not necessarily liberal (as Gerry Spence has it, I am a born-again Democrat). My religious views have been stripped down, as they have opened up to be inclusive of other belief systems, and to reach out to those who have alternative lifestyles. It is possible to be both a Christian and a practitioner of The Craft, also to be straight and embrace LGBTQ. That has been a hard one.
Started smoking with cigars, and quit as I never got the habit, though I am looking forward to smoking a Havana; drank like a fish in Laramie, now a little red wine about every other night; otherwise dry. I favor legalized marijuana, though I want nothing to do with it or any drugs, other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. I remain a heavy coffee drinker. [Difference between Lutheran and Episcopal coffee: Lutherans use one scoop for each cup and on for the pot. Episcopals chase one coffee bean through the water with a pair of boots.]

Describe your ideal day.

The ideal day is to wake up with Judy, have breakfast either at home or with friends at the watering hole, go downtown on foot, guzzle coffee; gas, and do whatever business I need to do face to face. When I was in the political game, I got my politicking done, usually by 8.30 or 9. Then foot it home. If there is a baseball game, I will try to take it in. Otherwise, read, work on the coin collection (turned over 8 times in 60 years) or update my notes. These are now on the computer, and ever so much easier to edit.
Note: The winter of 2013/14 was rough. I broke an arm, and Judy had to go through rehab, after showing up paralyzed over the holidays. We had to move, and are now in Laurel Gardens, May 2014.

What has been the best part of your life?

Probably now. Judy and I have each other, I have kept several balls in the air, and I have cooled off the temper, and have even defused some nasty situations, both in public and private. Life is what you make it. The secret is to stay connected--meditation, frequent Communion, visit with all and sundry, keep up the small talk and listen and keep the common and light touch. Also, it helps to "outlive your enemies," read: Outlive your bitterness, and maybe your diseases.
One thing to note: The line between good and evil remains a bright line, but it rarely, if ever, coincides with that line between light and shadow.

What music/musicians do you listen to, besides Oldies, of course.

Pipe organ--baroque, modern, in between; chorales, bells, bagpipes, chant--Tibetan, Byzantine, Old Roman; some New Age, and classical. Even didgeridoo. Participated in native American drumming.
Musicians: Enya, Philip Glass, just to name two. Classical organists, like Virgil Fox, E. Power Biggs. AC/DC, Lady GaGa (this woman has done more to change our culture since the Beatles).
Also a fan of rock and roll, 1955 to 1997. Country-western leaves me cold. I can handle hip-hop, now. Some of the techno is quite good, and the Pagan music, both from light and shadow, I find very good.

What is on YOUR "Bucket List?"

Huh? I feel I have done all I want. My job is to reconcile everyone I can. Reconciliation and forgiveness are always retroactive, regardless of scope. And, believe it or not, you can fix the past. You cannot undo it, but you can still change its effects. When you say you have outlived your enemies, they are still very much alive. The real meaning is you have buried the hard feeling.
My job is restate everything we have built and believe in for a completely new era. The ax has fallen, and we need to get ready for a new cosmic year. It has already begun, and the cleanup is just getting started, and it has become particularly nasty. Remember, a cosmic day is 72 years.

Do you stay in touch with any classmates? Who?

Not on a regular basis--just whoever I see.
I keep track of all I can, both here and in Kalispell, and have had a couple of surprises. However, I have contacted nobody there--my real home is Casper and the high plains. Besides, the locals there have been run out by high taxes from the influx of rich Californians. My family has been in this area since 1854 by way of Topeka, Kansas.
I don't see much of the old crew. Just run into a few on my errands, and swap organ recitals.
One thing I feel I should do, to look up whether any of my Kalispell peers fell in Nam. I keep up with the obits from the Kalispell paper, and have had a few surprises.

Who did you march with at graduation?

I didn't go through commencement. Judy did march with Judy Kraen, who helped take care of my dad in 1996, when he was on the way out.

What did you think you would do after high school?

Academics or law, possibly accounting. I would have enjoyed forensic accounting, as I do like to get to the bottom of things. Also, I like to do forensic medicine on royalty. Found out that Louis XIV and Henry VIII were both diabetics, as was old Emperor Frederic IV (reigned 1439-1493), who was the model for the insufferable Caterpillar in Walt Disney's cartoon feature Alice in Wonderland.

What different jobs have you had?

Janitor, bookkeeper, political office manager. Am an amateur consultant about world coins, and still learning a lot in that field, as in, I can still be stumped, and I am not afraid to tell you that I am just guessing--as in WAG.

What is your favorite food? Drink??

Since I am diabetic, there are no real favorite foods or drinks, other than a good stiff dose of coffee--lots of them.

What is the last CD you bought?

Sorry, I haven't bought any. I tend toward a bit of technophobia. I mostly stream on the "beast," and I do not save much of anything. Just like the access, and I don't like the clutter. I do a lot of deleting.

What is your favorite TV show? Do you watch Reality TV? Why or Why Not?

Baseball games, football games (!), sometimes MASH. Most TV leaves me cold, and this especially applies to reality TV. Am beginning to respect the older movies, for their production values, though the weird props, especially stage money (mostly Mexican revolutionary), and the anachronisms get to me.
Over the years we have found the Inspector Morse programs and the spinoffs (Inspector Lewis and Endeavour) very interesting and enjoyable.

Any words of wisdom you live by?

An (if) it harm no one (Human, animal or spirit), do as you please--Aleister Crowley
I accept reincarnation, transmigration and resurrection, but my job is to live in the here and now, and not to worry about the future, or any past lives. 99% of any karma is resolved in the same lifetime it is generated. The secret is to maintain a healthy skepticism and reserve judgment. Also, most so-called reincarnation stories have to do with picking up "agendas" from historic characters.
I have had the worst happen, and I have landed on my feet. If you can look into the mouth of hell and come away laughing, you have won, hands down.

What would your classmates be most surprised to know about you?

The fact is, that I take my own comfort zone wherever I go. I believe in respect for the culture wherever I find myself. Though I like to "live" in ancient cultures, I know there is nothing really special about any one--they are all equal, and they are specific to time and place. I have always been a bit of an urban explorer. Only since Judy has been sick have I begun using cellphones. Fact is, I have always been a caregiver. Judy has now made a full recovery, though she is still goosy about a lot of things she used to do without a second thought.

Attending Attending Reunion


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Aug 13, 2016 at 11:34 AM
Sheldon Sumey posted a message.
May 30, 2016 at 6:46 PM

Running a bit late, but many happy returns! Was wrapped up in politics, but now can come up for air.

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May 30, 2016 at 6:43 PM
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Sep 08, 2015 at 1:44 PM

Have a good one, Bob. It has been a fairly good year at this end. The high point has been a visit to Yellowstone with Judy. Came back over Bear Tooth Pass. That was the easy part, as there were snafus all over the place. Hope you all have had a bit more fun. Happy Birthday

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Aug 19, 2015 at 10:12 PM
Sheldon Sumey has a birthday today. New comment added.
Aug 19, 2015 at 10:12 PM

Posted on: Aug 10, 2015 at 4:35 AM

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Dec 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM