William Earl Summerlin

Sunday 28th of August 1960 - Saturday 21st of March 2020

William Earl Summerlin

William Earl, “Bill”, Summerlin, born August 28, 1960 beloved husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and friend, died peacefully surrounded by his family on March 21. Bill was diagnosed with glioblastoma this past June after feeling unwell on the golf course.


He endured with grace the subsequent treatments he was subjected to, which included a trip to Durham to enroll in a clinical trial run by Duke University. He committed himself to the experimental treatment in the spirit of doing whatever he could to help others who found themselves/or would find themselves suffering from the same type of insidious cancer. Although the tumor began to rob him of his faculties - his kindness, generosity of spirit, and good natured-ness stayed with him until the last.


For 38 years Bill threw himself wholeheartedly into his career in equine insurance, which he loved and through which he readily transformed business associates and clients into close friends. His true focus, however, was on his family. He and his beloved wife Renee were married for 37 years and raised their three children in Lexington, the town which they themselves called home. Those three children, in turn, have blessed Bill and Renee with six grandchildren. Whether it be coaching his sons and grandson, cheering on his daughter and granddaughters, a family trip to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, or a weekend getaway to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee or North Carolina - Bill and Renee were never happier than when they could spend time with their children and grandchildren.


Bill was a gifted, natural multi-sport athlete and a Sayre Spartan. During his outstanding high school career Bill could be found on the football field, the basketball court, or on the track. His accomplishments were legion and included his being the Class A High Hurdles State Champion and runner-up in the Low Hurdles in both his Junior and Senior Years. In basketball he was leading scorer for his team in both his Junior and Senior Years. His prowess resulted in an offer to run track at the University of South Carolina and so following his Sayre commencement, Bill became a proud Carolina Gamecock.


Bill is survived by his loving wife, Renee, and his children and grandchildren – Billy (Lesley); Bobby; Elizabeth Sisk (Tyler) and Marley, Madison, Baleigh, Savannah, Margaret, and Kathleen. He is also survived by his beloved mother Sylvia Robbins Griffin; his brother Jim (Lisa); his sister Robin Snowden (Woody); his step-sister Susan Griffin Phillips (Bo); his step sister Leigh Griffin Hernandez (Ramon) and their families. He was preceded in death by his father James Edward Summerlin and step-father Gerald Robin Griffin, Esq. In addition, he leaves behind his in-laws - Maxine, Johnny, & Michelle Martin, and Gay Reading – and his maternal uncles Dr. Robert E. Robbins (Rita) and Mr. William G. “Bill” Robbins (Jessica) and their families.


Milward - Broadway is responsible for the arrangements and the family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105) or to Old Friends Inc., (1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, KY 40324) or to a charity of your choice. A Private Graveside service for immediate family only, conducted by Reverend Dwayne Justice, will be held at Lexington Cemetery on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 2:00pm.       

Guest Book

Kim Wolfe

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Addie and I were so sorry to hear that “Marley’s grandfather” passed. Your family was blessed to have such a wonderful man in their lives. Renee, anything you need. Love and prayers.

1 week ago

Mike Avant

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So sorry to hear about Bill's passing. . I'm an old Sigma Nu brother of Bill's. Such good memories. Good man.Thoughts and prayers are with y'all.

1 week ago

Dale Arms

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Bill was a great fraternity brother, roommate, and long time friend. He was like a brother and I cherish the times where our families could get together over the years. A great wit and a true southern gentleman. Libby and I love Bill and Renee with all our heart. We will miss you Summy!

1 week ago

Libby Glenn Fisher

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Bill was the soft spoken "big guy" that most every girl at Sayre had a crush on. But not only was he adorable, he was as kind as they come. Just hated to hear he had been stricken with this insidious disease and lost his battle. I never met Renee or his kids, but I can't imagine how badly this hurts for you all. God bless.

1 week ago

Judy Levey and Selma Cohen

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Selma and I are so sorry you had to go through such a rough time. Our hearts go out to you all. Just realize ...he is at peace now. Remember only the good times!!! Much love Selma and Judy.

1 week ago

Dana Alexander

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Cy and I were so very sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I smile when I think of all the fun we used to have at the boys birthday parties. Man that was a long time ago. Too long in fact. We always loved spending time with you both. This world will be missing one great man. Love and hugs to you and the family.

1 week ago