In Memoriam Claude Sumner

September 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Claude Sumner

I just discovered this obituary for Claude Sumner in SJ Africa News:

Fr Claude Sumner (AOR – GLC)

Born: 10 July 1919
Entered SJ: 14 August 1939
Ordained: 29. June 1951
Final Vows: 15 August 1955
Died: 24 June 2012

Fr Claude Sumner of Eastern Africa Province (applied to  French Canada) died on 24th June, 2012, in his  community of Notre-Dame de Richelieu in Montreal at  the age of 92 after 72 years as a Jesuit.

Fr Sumner worked for many years in Ethiopia. He taught at the University of Addis Ababa and was a pioneer in work on African Philosophy.

There would be nothing whatever on Ethiopian philosophy in English without Claude Sumner (the posts I’ve been putting up on this blog are his translations, with my own commentary added). And I’m sure a lot could be said about his influence in other languages, too.

Like myself, Claude Sumner was a Canadian who fell in love with Ethiopia. I spent a summer in Ethiopia back in 2002, and dropped by the philosophy department at Addis Ababa University in hopes of meeting him. But he was back in Vancouver, my own home town, so I missed him. I could never even find an email address for him, but I suppose I could have tracked him down if I’d really tried. Not in this life-time, now.

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Update: here is a longer obituary in French.

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