Cover photo for Jessie Keen  Sumrell's Obituary
Jessie Keen  Sumrell Profile Photo
1946 Jessie 2022

Jessie Keen Sumrell

March 9, 1946 — June 14, 2022

Jessie Keen Sumrell, 76, of Oxford, went home to be with the Lord Tuesday, June 14, 2022.  She peacefully left this earthly life surrounded by her loving family. 

A memorial service to celebrate her life will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. on July 1, 2022, at Oxford Baptist Church, 147 Main Street, Oxford, NC.  Inurnment will follow at the church columbarium.  Family will receive friends and family from 9:30-11:00 a.m. in the Oxford Baptist Church Family Life Center.

Jessie, a native of Johnston County, was the daughter of Jesse Milton and Eva Maynard Keen.  She graduated from Four Oaks High School in 1964 and was a proud member of the East Carolina University class of 1968.  Jessie spent her career teaching social studies and retired from J.F. Webb High School in Oxford after 30 loyal years in the classroom. She was a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa teaching sorority and enjoyed the camaraderie of all her fellow teachers.  She continued to deepen those relationships over lunches and gatherings long after she retired from teaching.

Jessie had a profound love of Oxford Baptist Church, where she was a member since 1972.  She took on various roles in the church, serving as a Deacon, Sunday School Teacher, the director of the church’s chapter of the Woman’s Missionary Union, and was an integral part of the church’s 170th Anniversary Celebration Committee.  Her heart for volunteering led her to countless hours spent organizing backpack supplies for children, serving meals to the hungry, baking and delivering treats and many other tasks for which she was happy to lend her time.

Jessie was cherished by her family and friends for her positive attitude and generous spirit, and she reciprocated that love in many ways.  Jessie loved preparing her home for holidays and hosting big family celebrations with sumptuous arrays of food. She loved Emerald Isle and spent many happy summer weeks with family and friends rocking on weathered porches, making peach ice cream, chocolate éclair, and her famous taco salad.  During the long rounds of family Trivial Pursuit at the beach, she could always be counted on for answering the history questions.  

Never one to let the generosity of others go unnoticed, Jessie was a dedicated writer of thank you notes to family and friends.  Each card would recount with fastidious detail any kindness extended to her and was written with great care to ensure the recipient felt her heartfelt appreciation and gratitude.

Jessie was a loving and dedicated mother and grandmother, always willing to attend a host of concerts, recitals, marching band shows and matches. Her great pride were her four grandchildren, Ben (13), Cate (10), Gracie (9) and Lucy (7) and she would reliably highlight her visits with her “Ama Jessie” bag of fun activities, at least one sweet treat and a generous present for each grandchild.

Jessie is predeceased by her husband, Richard Martin Sumrell and her parents.  Surviving Jessie are her children, Beth Sumrell Ehrensberger (Ryan) of Richmond, Virginia, and Jonathan Martin Sumrell (Susan) also of Richmond and her grandchildren.  She is also survived by her sister, Mary Keen Lassiter (Edward) of Dunn.

Memorials may be made to Area Congregations in Ministry (ACIM), 634 Roxboro Road, Oxford, NC 27565 or to Oxford Baptist Church, P.O. Box 398, Oxford, NC 27565.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, July 1, 2022

Starts at 9:30 am (Eastern time)

Family will receive visitors in the Family Life Center

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Memorial Service

Friday, July 1, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Oxford Baptist Church Columbarium

, WA

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