Cover photo for Georgiana Storey Sumner's Obituary
Georgiana Storey Sumner Profile Photo

Georgiana Storey Sumner

August 22, 1949 — March 14, 2024

Georgiana Storey Sumner

Georgiana Storey Sumner, 74, of Athens, Georgia, and Folly Beach, South Carolina, wife of Edward Donald (“Don”) Sumner, Jr. and mother to Melissa (“Lissa”) Carolyn Long and Ashley Sumner Heslop, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully the morning of Thursday, March 14, 2024. In addition to her husband and daughters she is survived by her four granddaughters, Sydney Carolyn Heslop (17), Macie Reynolds Long (17), Brenna Jane Heslop (14) and Sumner Agnes Long (13); her sister Johni Storey (Keith) Anderson; her sons in law Grahame Long and Clay Heslop; and her cherished cousins, nieces, and nephews. 


Georgiana was born August 22, 1949 in Athens, Georgia, daughter of the late John D. Storey and Agnes Fike Storey. As a young girl she loved all animals and especially adored horses and dogs. She attended Athens High School where she met Don Sumner when they were seated behind each other alphabetically in every class. Georgiana graduated from Athens High School in 1967 and attended Young Harris College for one year before returning home to join Don at the University of Georgia where she majored in early childhood education. Georgiana and Don were married in their junior year on September 13, 1969, and they lived in UGA’s married housing. After graduation in 1971, Georgiana and Don lived in Athens, GA, Warner Robbins, GA, Macon, GA (where Lissa was born November 21, 1975), Charleston, SC (where Ashley was born July 30, 1977), and Columbia, SC and made many dear friends along the way. They returned home to Athens in 1984. 


Georgiana started as a 2nd grade teacher at Alps Road Elementary School and “Mrs. Sumner” instantly became the “favorite” teacher every child wanted for 2nd grade. Her dedication to teaching and her creativity in the classroom was unmatched. Georgiana had a gift for helping each child find their special spark for learning when they would hear a new book through her voice or when she taught them about the moon, spiders, and butterflies. She applied for and earned a grant to create a hands-on interactive Butterfly Garden and was awarded the Foundation of Excellence Award for its impact on the students at Alps Road. Georgiana returned to UGA to obtain her master’s degree in education. In 1995, Georgiana co-authored a research study on teaching children’s literature that was published by the National Reading Research Center and in The Elementary School Journal. She was blessed to make many lifelong friendships at Alps Road during her 16 years there. 


After retiring, Georgiana continued to tutor children and to volunteer wherever needed. She was a member of the St Mary’s Auxiliary, where she offered her talent of flower arranging, the Glenwood Garden Club, Glenwood Breakfast Club, and a volunteer with the Salvation Army. Georgiana served the Lord every day and loved playing handbells with her friends in the handbell choir. She treasured her Bible study group and the deep friendships it brought her. Georgiana rediscovered her love for painting and drawing. She took lessons and was passionate about learning more. While she might say she was just “playing around”, her friends and family were in awe of her talent. Her creative spirit shined in every aspect of her life. 


Georgiana loved being “Momma” to Lissa and Ashley, her two strong-willed and independent girls. She was their greatest cheerleader and was always there to offer her wisdom and guidance. She loved being “Grammie” to her four granddaughters with countless beach days, boat rides, books, playing dress up, watching sunsets, painting with watercolors, attending dance recitals and battles of the bands, and listening to every detail of their day. She was “Gana” and the protective big sister and best friend to Johni with whom she laughed longest and loudest. Most importantly, she was wife and partner to Don. They grew up together and created a beautiful family while navigating the inevitable ups and downs of life. Don recently retired and he and Georgiana moved permanently to Folly Beach to be closer to Lissa and Ashley and their granddaughters in October 2023. They were settling in to their retired beach life, notably in the same family beach cottage where they had their honeymoon in 1969 (renovated and decorated as only Georgiana could do). Her family and friends are devastated by this loss, but they are comforted that she is in Heaven with all the family and friends who came before her.


A private graveside service will be held at Oconee Hill Cemetery at 10:00 am on Monday, March 25, 2024. Following the graveside service, a Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 am at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1065 Gaines School Rd in Athens, Georgia with light refreshments prior to and after the service. The Memorial Service will also be available via live stream on YouTube.


Memorials may be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church. 


Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. West Ashley Chapel.

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Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, March 25, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Covenant Presbyterian Church

1065 Gaines School Rd, Athens, GA 30605

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