Judy Sumner

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

By Jason C. Mattox

Como Mayor Judy Sumner died early Saturday, Panola County Coroner Gracie Grant Gulledge said.

Sumner, 58, died of natural causes and was pronounced dead at her home at 1:27 a.m., the coroner said.

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“We still plan to run a toxicology report, but there will not be a autopsy,” she said.

According to the police report, officers arrived on the scene at 1:19 a.m.

“CPR was attempted by her husband and emergency personnel, but they were unsuccessful in reviving her,” Gulledge said.

Ray Nowell Funeral Home in Senatobia has charge of the arrangements, which are incomplete at this time.

Sumner was in her first full term as mayor after winning re-election without a runoff against two opponents May 2009. She had served about a year of her first term after her challenge of the 2005 municipal vote count wound its way to the State Supreme Court before being resolved in her favor.

During her mayoral tenure, she guided the town toward resolution of a debt crisis with the Internal Revenue Service and a host of other creditors while helping to coordinate celebration of  Como’s musical and ethnic heritage and its Main Street business revivial.

“This is a great loss for the Town of Como, and we will miss her dearly,” Alderman-at-Large Forster Ruhl said. “She has worked hard for the town and helped us move forward during this difficult financial time.”

Ruhl said the town board would meet next Tuesday as planned, but did not know what comes next.

“It is too early for us to know what the plan is for going forward,” he said.

Town Attorney Parker Still was not available for comment Saturday morning.