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James "Bill" Summerlin '80 January 16, 2020 2:53 PM updated: January 16, 2020 2:54 PM

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home and Crematory obituary
3001 S College Avenue
Bryan, TX 77801,
United States
Phone: (979) 822 3717

James William “Bill” Summerlin

February 12, 1930 – January 8, 2020

James William Summerlin, better known as “Bill,” was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on February 12, 1930, to parents William Summerlin and Lucille Gregory Summerlin.

Before entering college Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served his country proudly as a medic. It was during his time in the Navy that Bill forged lasting friendships with his raucous Navy buddies. Through the years, they dubbed each other with nicknames born of their time in the service. Bill was affectionately known to his Navy buddies as simply “Goose.” Before his honorable discharge he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal.

Upon his discharge he enrolled in Atlantic Christian College (today known as Barton College) in Wilson, North Carolina. It was here Bill met the love of his life, a petite, sparkling blue-eyed beauty named Anna Dare Rowe. When first crossing paths on campus, Anna instantly turned on her heels and exclaimed to her girlfriends, “Who is THAT?!!!” Once Anna had set her eyes on Bill, he never had a chance. Their instantaneous courtship soon led to marriage.

Together, they had three children—Scott, Leigh Anne, and Stephen. Bill and Anna were also blessed with eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. Bill was a loving husband and dedicated father. He participated in his children’s lives as both a baseball coach and Cub Scout leader. He loved road trips with his family, which often entailed camping across the country en route to visit relatives in North and South Carolina.

Bill came to Texas A&M through the USDA as an entomologist to head up the newly developed research department dedicated to studying the effects of fire ants on livestock and agriculture. His contribution to this research was invaluable as it led to many effective methods of controlling the damage fire ants caused. He was so accomplished and passionate about this work he became known to his colleagues as the “Ant Man.” Bill went on to earn his master’s degree and continued to work at A&M until well into his 70’s.

Bill was also a champion to many rescue animals through the years, always a happy dog at his feet or content cat on his lap. This was just one of so many things Bill had in common with Anna. A mutual love for family, animals in need, gardening, tennis, and weekly dancing dates at Texas Hall of Fame kept them busy and bonded for 57 years.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife Anna, as well as his parents and brother Greg and sister Jean. He is survived by his children, Scott Summerlin and his wife Suzanna Summerlin, Leigh Anne Summerlin and her wife Helen Martell, and Stephen Summerlin. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren,—Davis, Hanna, Amanda, Julianna, Parker, Reece, Taylor, Jordan, and great-granddaughter, baby June.

Bill Summerlin, 89, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 8, 2020. A Celebration of Life Service in his memory, officiated by Certified Life Celebrant Dawn Lee Wakefield, will be held at 4:00pm, followed immediately by a reception on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Center, 3001 S. College Avenue, in Bryan.

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