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Buddy Sumrall Remembered

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By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The East Texas community education lost a true lion in the world of education when Eldon Daniel “Buddy” Sumrall passed away last week at the age of 75.

Born in Baytown, Buddy came to the East Texas area when he attended Stephen F. Austin State University. While at SFA, the longtime educator earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in English and physical education.

After graduation, Buddy went to work for Huffman ISD where he started as an elementary teacher before working his way into the elementary principal’s position. He also served as the district’s Director of Transportation.

During this time, the Lumberjack became a Bearkat as he began working towards his Master’s Degree in Education at Sam Houston State University.

Once he received his Master’s, Buddy left Huffman ISD for a position at Dallardsville Big Sandy where served in a variety of roles over 19 years.

Starting out as a teacher, he moved into administration after a bit and served as the K-12 principal. Buddy also began to dabble in grant writing and was moved into the district’s Federal Program Director position.

While in Big Sandy, Buddy also served as the district’s Athletic Director and Head Football Coach before moving into the role of Assistant Superintendent.

In 1991, he took the year off, but came back to education in 1992 when he came to Crockett ISD to serve as a principal and then became the Director of Maintenance/Transportation in 1993. His title was changed to Assistant/Deputy Superintendent of M/T in 2000.

He left Crockett in June 2004 and moved down the road to Grapeland where he took the reigns as GISD Superintendent.

Buddy experienced both the lows and highs of his profession while in Grapeland. He helped shepherd the school district and Grapeland community through the tragic death of Russell Pennington when Russell was struck by lightning.

He also helped Grapeland ISD to build a much needed new high school. 

Buddy was a friend, a mentor and a sounding board for many people over the years. More than anything, he was just a good man. Godspeed.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.   

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