Sumner  Mapes


Charles Sumner Mapes, Jr., an only child born to Clara (Moore) and Charles Sumner Mapes II., was born on July 21, 1941. Sumner and his parents lived on a farm about two miles east of Earlham, Iowa. This is where his love of cattle and all animals began. He learned quickly that there were many chores to do to keep a farm operating and learned the love of hands-on work. Early Chapel Church, near Earlham, was where they attended church.
Sumner attended Earlham Grade School, graduating from Earlham High School in 1960 and was very active in the music program at the schools. A big inspiration was Jack Oatts, who came to Earlham while Sumner was in high school and started up jazz bands in the state of Iowa. He then enrolled at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa as a Vocal Music Major and graduated in 1965.
On December 28, 1968, Sumner married Carol Lynn Franken at the Second Reformed Church of Pella, Iowa. Their son, Elliott Bruce, was born in 1974. Daughter, Donna Eileen, was born in 1977. They purchased 90 acres of land south of Pella, allowing Sumner to continue his cattle interests while teaching music in the Pella Community Schools. He loved doing chores with his children, helping them with projects in 4H, and supporting them in all their activities.
Sumner became the vocal director at Pella High School in 1965 and taught instrumental music at the Pella Middle School for a total of 32 years, retiring in 1997. His love of jazz bands continued throughout his career. Many a student got to talk about cattle and horses before their band lesson ever began.
Sumner had a cattle partner, Elliott Brown, for many years. After that he was partners with Marty Van Vliet. They loved traveling to look for cattle and attending shows in Denver, Kansas City, Omaha, Louisville, and Des Moines. In the summer of 2018 at the Iowa State Fair, they won Supreme Grand Champion. Sumner and Marty travelled thousands of miles together looking for good show cattle.
Sumner and Carol liked to travel as well. For a couple months in 1970, they rented a car and travelled all over Europe. Trips were made to Canada to see family, east to visit family and historical sites, but their favorite was Colorado, returning year after year to the Rocky Mountains, and Grand Lake, of which they never got tired.
Sumner spent about 30 years in 4H!! He started at a young age and showed cattle. As an adult, he became a leader of the Lake Prairie 4H group and helped many 4Hers. Elliott and Donna became avid 4Hers as well. One honor was to have four of their cattle be a part of the "Governor's Steer Show" Event at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.
One of his passions in life was to give as many children and/or adults the experience of riding one of his horses. Many a child has had a grin on their face from holding the reins and either being led around or getting the feel of being on their own.
Upon retirement Sumner became very interested in reading more and more about Native Americans and the Civil War. He made several friendships and visited reservations in his quest for learning more. Trips out to Gettysburg became frequent. Another interest was becoming friends with many Sudanese in the Des Moines area. He put a lot of energy into helping raise money, learning about brick making machines, and helping the Sudanese community build a school in Sudan. He loved hosting students from other countries who attended Central College, especially wanting them to have a good horse riding experience, or letting them carve a turkey for the first time on Thanksgiving Day.
Fishing had been a great childhood experience for Sumner as his Uncle Fred would take him to Canada every year. Fortunately, last summer he renewed that love for fishing and taught Elliott, Donna and John a thing or two. Trips were made to Minnesota where he caught the most fish, by far!!
Sumner was an active member of the "Maine Anjou Cattle Association" and served on the board for many years. He was named "Maine Man of the Year - Iowa" a couple years ago. His most recent award was "Maine Man of the Year" in the nation!!
On Friday, March 1, 2019, Sumner passed away at his residence he loved at the age of 77 years. He is survived by his wife, Carol, son, Elliott Mapes of Pella, daughter, Donna Mapes and John De Bruin of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and two sisters-in-law, Marilyn (Franken) De Roos of Des Moines, Iowa and Helen Franken of British Columbia, Canada; along with nieces and nephews. Sumner was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Sumner II and Clara Mapes, and his parents-in-law, Rev. Henry and Harriet (Dykshorn) Franken.
Sumner had his goals and always kept striving for them.
Memorial services were held on Saturday, March 9, at the Second Reformed Church in Pella. Memorials may be given for the Marion County 4H. Van Dyk - Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Published on March 11, 2019
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