Obituary of Peter (Pete) David Sumner
Peter (Pete) David Sumner died peacefully at home in San Anselmo, California on March 29, 2019 at the age of 68.
Peter was known by many Western Nevada County residents as the lead piano technician for In Concert Sierra.
Peter exhibited minor stroke-like symptoms when he was in Grass Valley in January for InConcert’s Third Sunday Concert featuring pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin. In mid-February, he was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, an extremely rare brain ailment. Friends and family are thankful that the progression of the disease was very quick.
Pete was born in Sheffield, England on April 21, 1950. He had careers as a banker in Bermuda and England, as well as a folk musician and presenter. In a pivotal decision in 1985 he enrolled in the Piano Tuning and Maintenance Program at Newark (England) Technical College and became a sought after, brilliant piano technician. In 1998 he moved to the United States and became a US citizen in 2007. The highlights of his career are his strong connection with the Steinway Piano Company, his positions as curator of pianos at Stanford University, head piano technician at the Aspen Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center, and the lead technician for InConcert. He loved coming to Grass Valley, a place he called “his second home.”
Beyond Peter’s career, he was also a lifelong guitarist and a beautiful mandolin player. He had incredible artistic abilities as evidenced by his handmade bodhrans (Irish drums), custom leather guitar straps, and Calder style mobiles and sculptures. He created beautiful gel prints, mixed media art pieces, recently learned welding to make masks from metal farm implement pieces, and was currently learning the art of bookbinding.
Pete is survived by his wife Lynn O’Brien of San Anselmo, his daughters Rachel Henry (husband Jay) and Elizabeth Dungworth (Richard); and five beloved grandchildren.
There will be a potluck gathering to honor Peter on May 20 at 4pm at the home of Monroe Lovelady and Rik Augustin in Penn Valley. For more information, please contact InConcert Sierra office at 530-273-3990.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to InConcert Sierra – a non-profit classical music presenting organization that Peter nurtured and adored.
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