UPDATE: Watch the memorial service of Baylor student Sumner Smith
Funeral arrangements have been announced for Sumner Smith. Smith, 16, a student at Baylor, passed away Monday evening after suffering from cardiac arrest in the pool.
Visitation is Thursday, Oct. 8 from 2-7 p.m. at the Robin Smith family residence and Friday, Oct. 9 from 4-7 p.m. at the Jerry Smith family residence.
His shining light and life will be remembered at a memorial service on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. in the Baylor School Alumni Chapel. A reception will take place in Baylor’s Guerry Dining Hall following the service.
A live video streaming will be available at www.baylorschool.org/sumnerfuneral.
Please keep the Smith family in your thoughts and prayers. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sumner Smith Memorial Award at Baylor School, 171 Baylor School Road, Chattanooga, Tenn., 37405.
Sumner Joseph Smith, 16, died unexpectedly on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.
Although his life in years was too short, his presence among all who knew him was profound and will live forever in our hearts.
Sumner was a junior at Baylor School and attended St. Peter’s Episcopal School and Normal Park Museum Magnet School before enrolling in Baylor’s sixth grade in 2010. A talented athlete, he excelled in every sport he tried, including soccer, TAG gymnastics, Rivermont baseball, Hixson baseball, 11 years with the Chattanooga Area Swim League (CSAL), track, cross country, wrestling, and lacrosse. He loved extreme sports and was an avid wakeboarder, capable of many challenging tricks. He also enjoyed Community Service and Walkabout at Baylor. But it was swimming and later diving, at both Stuart Heights and Baylor, where he would find his focus and second families.
He worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the Stuart Heights pool; was a member of the 2014 and 2015 Baylor state championship swim team; and also placed 11th in the 2015 state diving competition as a sophomore. From the oldest teammates to his little “minnow” George VonCanon, and everyone in between, Sumner loved his teams and coaches and they loved him in return. If you were near him, you were laughing. If you were far from him, his smile would draw you near.
The family would like to thank the Baylor community, John Bonds, Jan Gautier, Laura Pittman, Brian Gill, Dan Flack and the entire swim & dive family. Also, the hardworking Hamilton County EMS, Chattanooga Fire Department, and Chattanooga Police; the Erlanger emergency team and ER staff who worked so diligently and tirelessly to save Sumner. We want to thank the class of 2017 for their beautiful gift at Coolidge Park; it was perfect. To all of those who shared the memories and painted the quad with their loving messages for Sumner, you knew him well and your outpouring of love is palpable. To all our extended friends and family, Stuart Heights swim community, St. Peter’s, Girls Preparatory School, McCallie School, Normal Park, TAG Gymnastics, and others too many to mention - thank you.
Sumner was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Carl Joseph Strobe and Robert Sumner Hampton, Jr. He is survived by his mother, Dr. Robin Smith; father, Dr. Jerry (Tanya) Smith; brothers, Ryan (class of '15) and Trey (class of 2021); sister, Alex (class of 2019); and step-sister Riley Baker, all of Chattanooga; a grandmother, Lynne Strobe, of Ga.; grandparents John and Jane Smith, of Tenn., and his beloved golden retriever, Dakota. He is also survived by an aunt, Joni (Wynn) Batson, Tenn.; uncles, Robert S. Hampton, III, Ga.; Jeff (Kelly) Smith, Tenn.; and Jay (Shannon) Smith, Tenn.; cousins, Jonathan, Jeremy (Laura) Batson; Jessica, Jacob, Tom, and Lily Smith, all of Tenn.
UPDATE: Crowds of students showed up at Coolidge Park right after school dismissed. The brought balloons, red ribbons, and their cherished memories of 16-year-old Sumner Smith.
The idea first started on Twitter and then grew to become a huge memorial for the junior swimmer.
Most, if not all, of the Baylor junior class and Sumner's teammates were there. Students from other schools showed up as well.
They wanted to make sure Sumner will always be remembered.
"I was pretty heartbroken," said Parker Gray, "Knowing he was one of my best friends. I don't know, I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what to say."
Gray is a junior at Baylor and one of Sumner Smith's best friends.
When he saw Smith in class, in practice, and in the halls, he always thinks of his smiling face.
"Nicest guy I've ever met," Gray said.
"He's got this personality you just can't help but smile when you see him, he's just a great guy."
There were tears, hugs and emotional stories. His friends wrote love notes and prayers on balloons, hoping he'll read them soon.
"Most of the things we're writing are notes that we're hoping he reads up there when we all let them go," Gray said.
Brianne Holsomback never got the chance to meet Sumner Smith. She's a junior swimmer at GPS. And while last week the schools were focused on their rivalry football game now they're calling themselves "three schools, one family."
"Even during our rivalry we still want to show our support," Holsomback said.
Funeral arrangements for Sumner have not yet been announced but we'll pass those along as we learn them.
UPDATE: Memories and messages of love written in chalk are covering the Baylor School's quad. The same quad 16-year old Sumner Smith crossed every day to class, lunch, and to swim practice.
Smith passed away Monday evening after suffering from cardiac arrest in the pool.
Sumner enrolled at Baylor as a 6th grader, and was a member of the Swim & Dive team all six years of enrollment.
In a message posted on Baylor's website, it says in middle school, Sumner "also played the clarinet in the band and ran cross country and track. When he entered the Upper School he continued to swim and dive, but also ran cross country and played junior varsity lacrosse."
"Being a part of the Baylor swimming community, it affects us all," said Jacob Sosna.
Former Baylor swimmer Jacob Sosna says the swim team was like a fraternity and Sumner was family.
"I'm sure it's hurting pretty bad right now, all the coaches, that specific team, I can't imagine," Sosna said.
Sumner was in the pool with his teammates Monday for a routine practice when he suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be rescued from the pool.
Teammates watched as the high school junior left in an ambulance with a police escort to Erlanger.
Later that night he would be pronounced dead.
Sumner's death is uniting students outside the gates of Baylor too. Even in the most unlikely of places.
Normally decked out in blue, some GPS students wore their rival's color Tuesday and tied red ribbons on students' wrists and backpacks.
At McCallie students using Twitter to call upon others to wear red -- organized under the hashtag "#3schools1family."
"Great sportsmanship and really shows the character of people around Chattanooga," Sosna said.
Sumner leaves behind his parents and three siblings.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced but we'll pass those along as we learn them. School counselors will continue to provide support for Baylor students.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Baylor community is mourning the loss of one of its students.
Sumner Smith, 16, passed away Monday evening after suffering an apparent cardiac event in the pool.
Smith was a member of the Baylor swim team and part of a routine swim practice Monday when the incident happened.
The high school junior was taken by ambulance and police escort to Erlanger Monday afternoon where he was pronounced dead later in the evening.
School officials confirmed his death to students Monday and asks the community for prayers for Smith's family.
School counselors will be available for Baylor students in the Chapel Board Room beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Students are using the Twitter hashtag #SumnerStrong to express their memories and support.