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Sumner Norton Milender

Sumner Norton Milender, Needham, MA and formerly of Tucson, AZ and Lenox, MA, died peacefully at home on October 12, 2021. Born January 17, 1927 in Brookline, MA to Charles and Florence Milender, he was predeceased by his parents, beloved sister Marcia Milender Abrams and dear wife Edith Morse Milender.

Beloved husband of Edith Michelson Milender, he leaves behind his devoted family including 4 children: Steven Milender (Helen Raschke), Connie Goebel (Jay), Linda Ortwein (Tom), Karen Shackford (Fred), 10 grandchildren and 7 great- grandchildren.

Gregarious and friendly, he never passed up an opportunity to meet someone or start a conversation. “Happy go lucky”, a favorite song and his goal in life – to make others smile and laugh. He was an eternal optimist and entrepreneur; lifelong music lover, voracious learner and reader; avid dancer, skier and tennis player earlier in life.

Sumner attended Runkle School, Brookline High, and graduated from Phillips Academy Andover and Harvard University with a BA in History, 1948. Afterwards, he joined the family leather business, W. Milender and Sons. After selling the business he became a serial entrepreneur and consultant. He was a committed philanthropist focused on education and music. With former wife Edith Morse Milender, he founded Thinking in Music, a program currently used and embraced by the Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University. He also endowed The Milender Seminar in Jewish Communal Leadership for Brandeis graduate students, funded a dance program at University of Arizona and was a generous supporter of Tanglewood music programs.

Services will be private. Donations in his memory may be made to: The Lemberg Children’s Center, 457 Old South St., MS044, Waltham, MA 02453 or Good Shepherd Community Hospice, 90 Wells Ave., Newton, MA 02459, or to a charity of your choice.


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