Willis Sumter

Obituary of Willis Franklin Sumter

Willis Franklin "Rickey" Sumter of Somerset, NJ died on August 5, 2017 in Silver Spring, MD. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina to James and Anna Sumter, the first of nine sons. In 1964, Rickey married Bettie Terrell before leaving for an active tour duty with the U.S. Army headed to Seoul, Korea. They had 4 children. He faithfully attended First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens where he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and there he was baptized as a young man. Rickey served his community as an officer within the Franklin Township Police Department. He later became the entrepreneur of Rickey's Hair Care Center in Somerset. Throughout the 44 years of operation in his barber shop/salon he touched many lives. He then continued to serve his community in which he lived and worked in the political arena as Franklin Township Councilman, Deputy Mayor as well as Mayor of the 4th Ward, District 12. Rickey also showed commitment to his community by serving on many boards and commissions including: Housing Authority; Youth Services Commission/Alliance Against Drug Abuse Council; Real Estate/Open Space Subcommittee; Collective Bargaining Subcommittee; Public Works Standing Committee; Senior Services, Parks and Recreation Standing Committee; Land Use/Properties Subcommittee; Redevelopment Plan Committee; Renaissance 2000 Subcommittee; Municipal Improvements Advisory Committee; Somerset County Action Program/ Board of Trustees; Community Development Block Grant Committee; Youth Center Task Force Ad Hoc Committee; Traffic Management Subcommittee; Planning Board; Somerset County Youth Services Commission; Veteran's Memorial Ad Hoc Committee; Hamilton Street Advisory Ad Hoc Committee; Hamilton Street Business & Community Corporation; Redevelopment Agency; Municipal Cross-Acceptance Committee; and the Transportation Subcommittee, to name a few. Whereas the leadership, dedication and commitment to service, Rickey has demonstrated, and is an example and inspiration to all Franklin Township residents and members of the Democratic Party. As it is written, in a Commendation from the Executive Committee of the Somerset County and Democratic Party. He leaves behind his wife, Bettie Terrell, son Willis "Darnell" (Katherine), daughters Renee (LaMontz), Deneen (Michael) and Deborah (James). 5 Grandchildren, Danisha, Sharonda, Courtney, Brooke and Jaela. And a host of nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind 3 brothers, Jeremiah (Catherine), Malachi (Ruth) and Norman. Funeral Services are private and will be held at the convenience of the family. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday August 12, 2017 at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ with the Reverend DeForest "Buster" Soaries officiating.
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