It’s the end of an era for Sumner

By Shelly Schlumpf
Sumner/Puyallup Chamber of Commerce

It’s the fourth quarter and not only is the end of 2011 approaching, the end of a Sumner era is coming to a close as well. Councilman Leroy Goff is retiring from public office and is finishing up the last of his official duties as December winds down to a close and he completes 26 years of service to the City of Sumner as an elected official.

Having worked in Sumner for the last 34 years, Leroy Goff is more than just a familiar face to me. He’s a former mayor, a member of my military affairs committee at the Chamber, he’s been my date on several occasions for events at Jt. Base Lewis McChord and other community festivals, he’s the coordinator of downtown cornstalk decorations, lighter of the Gazebo during the holidays, counter of attendees at parades and concerts in the park, and the list goes on and on.

Rarely do I attend an event in Sumner that I don’t run into Leroy. And that’s a good thing in my book.

This holiday season we’ve seen each other at the Bridge Lighting and participated in the Santa Parade together and it always makes me smile to see him talking with the police and fire officials as I know that public safety is one of his passions. Leroy taught CPR training classes for many years, working as an EMT in the early days before they were known as EMTs and has seen things that I’d just as soon not know the details about.

Besides public safety, Leroy loves fishing and was once known to ride motorcycles. I’ve learned more about vintage motorcycles and local fishing holes from Leroy than from anyone else.

Of course, the only reason I think he told me about the fishing holes is because he knows I don’t fish and I can be trusted to keep a secret…

Leroy was married to his wife, Beverly, for almost 50 years and I wish I had known her better. I can only imagine what it was like to be married to him. I’m betting she had the patience of Job.

And even though he likes to refer to me as “kid,” Leroy and I also share an unlikely common bond in that we’ve both lost our spouses to cancer after raising our families. It’s hard to loose someone you love, but we both believe being involved in a community gives you a sense of purpose and a good reason to get up in the morning.

Leroy has made a choice every day to get out of bed with a positive attitude and an eagerness to participate in making his community a better place to live. I think my life is better for knowing Leroy Goff, and I think Sumner is fortunate to be the recipient of his “get ‘er done” mentality. And while I’m not the only one who wants to thank you for serving our community for 26 years Leroy, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for always being there when I needed you. I’ll see you around downtown.

And mum’s the word about the fishing hole…