Joann Blackett Sumsion (91) passed away in the afternoon of May 12, 2020 surrounded by her family in the comfort of her home after TMB (too many birthdays) and a sudden decline in health. We feel comfort in knowing after a life of service, love, and devotion to faith, family, and friends, she was well prepared to return to her heavenly home.
Joann was born and raised with core values of thrift, organization, cleanliness, and hard work instilled by parents Elmo R. Blackett and Mary Gladys (Mamie) Hair of Springville. Joann’s commitment to excellence and work ethic is symbolic in her intellectual acumen and penmanship despite her missing an entire school year while overcoming two bouts of rheumatic fever as a child. In high school, Joann served as editor of the yearbook where she became well acquainted with Dick Sumsion and his 1925 model T-Ford. After being married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1948, Joann supported Dick in his work as a road and paving contractor managing highway construction projects throughout the state of Utah. During their children’s teen years, Joann’s frugal means and long summers of hard work helped justify annual family ski vacations to Aspen, Colorado for their favorite winter adventure.
Joann’s diligent work on every assignment and calling extended in Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were her trademark. She also stepped up as a secretary when needed for the family construction business. She was a natural servant-leader, teacher, organizer, coupon clipper, shopper, immaculate homemaker and housekeeper, cook, and was known for her exceptional canning and sewing. Joann was an original member of a women’s club, Le Jolle Femme, meaning “the happy ladies”. They rotated hosting “club” periodically for over 70 years, creating lifelong friendships and memories.
Some of her outdoor hobbies included gardening, and she would annually bottle the harvest. Joann and Dick produced the finest grape juice, known as “liquid gold.” Joann’s father taught her to love fishing, which she passed onto children and grandchildren with the ultimate prize of a 56-pound King Salmon caught on an Alaskan trip. Another claim to fame was a hole-in-one on #4 of the Hobble Creek Golf Course.
In retirement, Dick and Joann traveled the world and maintained second homes in St. George and Hobble Creek Canyon. They were avid BYU fans, having season tickets to football and basketball games for decades, including near front-row seats to all these events. Rarely did they miss a grandchild’s performance or sporting event, including two state basketball championships. Requests for Grandma’s prayers in clutch moments were legendary. Grandson, Mason Sumsion, said, “I’d hate to be on a team that Grandma wasn’t praying for.”
Joann’s faith in Jesus Christ has left an inspired legacy for her posterity of 109. Her devoted husband of 71 years, Richard (Dick) Sumsion and their four children and spouses are: Sharee (Alan) Bird, Brent (Kay) Sumsion, Steve (Mindy) Sumsion, Scott (Linda) Sumsion. Joann is also survived by her beloved brother Stanley (Diane) Blackett of Providence, Utah. We will honor and celebrate Joann’s exemplary life in a private family funeral Saturday May 16, 2020. A recording of this service will be available through the Wheeler Mortuary website.