SIKESTON - Rufus J. "Big Rufus" Sumlin Sr., 76, died Feb. 25, 2005, at the Clearview Nursing Center.
Born Nov. 11, 1928, in Renova, Bolivar County, Miss., son of the late Johnnie Sumlin and Ruth Mae Wolfe, he was a member of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Sikeston. He was a businessman and had served on various community organizations including chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee of the Sikeston Branch of the NAACP and was a member of the local Steelworkers of America.
He retired after 20 years of service as a Merchant Marine with the U.S. Coast Guard, which involved extensive world travel. Employed as an electrician for McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Corporation in St., Louis for about five years, his second retirement came after 25 years of service as an electrician at Noranda Aluminum in New Madrid.
His wife of 54 years, Ella Yarber Sumlin, survives of the home.
Other survivors include: two daughters and one son-in-law, Agnes and Steve Mason of Sikeston and Denise Mills of Sikeston; five sons and two daughters-
in-law, Rufus "Little Rufus" and Hilda Sumlin of Poplar Bluff, Dennis and Johnnie Sumlin of Woodbridge, Va., Wayne Sumlin and Elliott Sumlin of Forrest City, Ariz., and Eldlridge Sumlin of Memphis, Tenn.; one adopted grandson, Masakala Sumlin of the home; one sister, Lois C. Shelby of East St. Louis, Ill.; and 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, one great-great-
granddaughter and a host of other relatives and friends.
Visitation is from 1 p.m. Saturday until service time at 3 p.m. at the West End Missionary Baptist Church in Sikeston. Richard Lee and Chester Yarber, pastors, will officiate.
Burial will be on Monday at the Missouri State Veterans' Cemetery in Bloomfield.
Williams Funeral Home of Sikeston is in charge of arrangements.