Tuesday, December 10, 2013
SOUTH PORTLAND -- Sumner Field Jr., retired vice president of Maine National Bank and a decorated World War II veteran who lived life to its fullest, died on Monday. He was 96.
Sumner Field Jr.
Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.
Mr. Field began his banking career in 1927 as a messenger at the First National Bank of Commerce in Monument Square in Portland. Soon after starting, he was promoted to teller.
He left the bank in the late 1930s to work in the South Portland Shipyards.
He eventually enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He served during World War II in the 450th Bombardment Group, 722nd Bomb Squadron. He piloted a B-24 Liberator named "Holy Joe" and flew more than 30 missions over Europe, Africa and the Mideast.
Mr. Field received a Purple Heart for his service, and in August he was recognized with a Maine Silver Star Honorable Service Medal.
Mr. Field eventually returned to his position at the bank. He became a manager of the installment loan department and later managed the commercial loan division.
He retired in 1988 as vice president of Maine National Bank. A year later, at the age of 73, he was recruited to work at the Holy Cross Credit Union in South Portland. He worked as a teller for a couple of years before finally retiring.
His wife, Carolyn Field, said Wednesday that he loved his work and was well respected in banking.
"He loved helping people," she said. "He loved trying to direct people to the best way to resolve their financial problems. People liked him. I don't know anyone who didn't like him."
At the bank, Mr. Field met his first wife, Grace Field, to whom he was married for nearly 60 years. They raised a son, Sumner M. Field III.
He met the woman who would become his second wife, then Carolyn Gates, when he interviewed her for a job in 1962. Field hired her as his secretary to process loans.
Carolyn Gates became friends with his first wife. She joined the Fields on dozens of vacations and outings to their summer camp in Limington.
"We were the best of friends," said Carolyn Field. "They were very young and loads of fun. Grace has been sorely missed. We had so much fun together."
When Grace Field died in 2003, Carolyn took care of Mr. Fields.
Four years later, he asked her to marry him. They were married in February of 2007.
She said they enjoyed traveling together.
"I respected him and cared about him and loved him dearly," she said. "I got married because he wanted to ... We were comfortable together. We didn't have to talk. We could be comfortable in the silence. ... He was an easy guy to love."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: