Carolyn M. (Pendergast) Sumner
December 10, 1961 – March 10, 2020
Carolyn M. Sumner of Griswold, Connecticut, passed away in her sleep on March 10, 2020. She is survived by her beloved husband, Terry Sumner, daughter Rachel Lenda and her husband Joel, sisters Alison Pendergast and her husband Jeff Albert, Daryl Hurlock and her husband Joseph and Mother Kathleen Pendergast. Also, son Brian Sumner and his wife Jennifer and daughter, Laura Crews and husband Wayne. Carolyn also leaves behind her two much-loved dogs Krypto and Keegan. She was predeceased by her father Terrence W. Pendergast who passed away May 2019 and her cherished son, T.J. who passed away September 23, 2015.
Carolyn was born in Groton, Connecticut at the US Sub Base Hospital on December 10, 1961. Growing up, Carolyn attended and graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 1980. She always had a passion for sequins, rhinestones, and everything fashion. In her mid-to late-teens, Carolyn was the winner of 11 out of 14 pageant titles including Miss Teen Connecticut in 1981. Other titles garnered included Miss Preston, Miss VFW, Miss Coachman, and Miss Coachman International. Her spark and charisma could light up any room she entered – people were always in awe of her energy and passion for life.
In March of ’81, Carolyn met her forever soulmate and lifelong partner, Terry Sumner. It was love-at-first sight! They met at Rhanna Pippens in Groton, Connecticut. Soon enough, Terry and Carolyn married on May 7, 1982. Shortly after, Carolyn and Terry welcomed their first child together, Terry “T.J.” Sumner Jr. on August 17, 1984. Then on June 17, 1986, The Sumner’s welcomed the best child they ever had, Rachel Sumner as their last bundle of joy.
Carolyn was a co-owner of Annlynn’s Bridal Shop in Taftville, Connecticut until 1996. She was the magic behind every gown the lucky brides got to wear. Every Saturday, Carolyn would dazzle with her signature allure and million-dollar smile. She had the innate ability to take one look at a bride and could tell that bride exactly which gown she would look best in – ten times out of ten she was right! Her energy was the light of the shop; her uplifting personality made every day at work seem fun! The gardens at Carolyn’s home were the envy of the neighborhood. Raised flower beds filled with Petunias, Marigolds, Daisy’s, and vines dressed the home with a sweet, floral perfume in spring and summer. She was a master at her craft and could grow any flower her green thumb touched. Carolyn was also a songbird and could sing to the heart of anyone she performed in front of. During the 90’s and 2000’s, Mr. and Mrs. Sumner had the pleasure of hosting various karaoke shows across Southeastern, Connecticut. She often would lead the crowd with her funny antics and stories of her and her husband’s relationship. They formed deep connections and lasting relationships with those they met along the way in their entertainment business.
As Carolyn grew older, she suffered a great loss of her Son, T.J. Sumner in 2015. His sudden and unexpected passing left her world shattered from the pain of his abrupt departure. Though, Carolyn found every way to keep her son’s memory alive by being an active participant of TJ’s Annual Bike Night in Jewett City following his death.
The community lost a fighter, an advocator, a great friend, wife, and mother. Her sense of humor was a bit wicked but always filled with wit and laughter. Carolyn’s smile could let you know how gentle and kind her soul was. She always dressed to the nines – her reason? Because she felt like it and wanted to look – and feel – like a million dollars. She always said, “That’s how I roll”. There isn’t a diamond or ruby that could measure up to the sparkle and dazzle she gave to the world.
Funeral arrangements are as follows: calling hours are 5pm to 7pm on Monday, March 16, 2020 at The Gagne-Piechowski Funeral Home on route 138 in Griswold, Connecticut. A mass of Christian burial will be held at 10am on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at St. Catherine of Siena Church on route 164 in Preston, Connecticut.
Obituary written by her daughter, Rachel. This obituary was originally posted to Gagne-Piechowski Funeral Home’s web site.