May 22 – Happy Birthday TJ Sumigray

Just about every Sunday, Tony Sumigray would show up at Mass with today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant in tow and sit next to, in front of or behind me and my kids. Back then, little TJ was a study in perpetual motion, crawling, squirming, standing, making crazy faces, doing everything but sitting still and his antics would always entertain my four kiddo’s while Tony would look at me, smile and just roll his eyes. He knew he had a bundle of pure energy he was raising and fortunately, he and his wife Paula were up to the task.

This cute, squirmy kid would grow up to become an outstanding Amsterdam High School athlete. According to former AHS Coach and Athletic Director, Bob Noto, TJ Sumigray was one of the top ten AHS baseball players he’d ever seen play during Noto’s 40-plus year involvement with the program. He was a stellar third-baseman for the Rams, who could hit a baseball a mile. As good as he was on the baseball diamond, he was probably an even better golfer. His Dad loved to play golf and he made sure TJ had the opportunity to fall in love with the game as well. I saw Tony Sumigray hit some drives on the golf course and the guy could absolutely crush the ball. I’ve never seen TJ hit one off the tee, but friends of mine who have tell me the son could hit the ball longer than the father, which I find incredible. In any event, TJ Sumigray was good enough with all the clubs in his bag to play four years of Division I collegiate golf for St. Peters University in New Jersey.

Tony Sumigray was one of the most genuine, nicest human beings to ever call this place home. His death from cancer in 2012 was a huge loss to his legion of friends and a crushing blow to young TJ.

Fortunately for him, a new love had entered his life to help him get through the grief. Her name was Megan Gaugler. She happens to have been one of the very best lady basketball players to ever play for Amsterdam High School. She was also a great student, who went on to play hoops at Skidmore and then get her medical degree from the University of Buffalo’s Medical School. Today her patients refer to her as “Dr. Sumigray”.

TJ is no slouch in the academic department either. While Megan was getting her medical degree at Buffalo, he was attending their school of management. Today they are living back in this area and are the proud parents of the newest Sumigray, a boy they named Gabriel. I’m not positive of this but I’m willing to place a wager that if little Gabe gets taken to Church on Sunday, he doesn’t sit still and if in a few years he takes a liking to sports, not only will he win some longest drive contests, he might become a pretty decent three-point shooter as well. Happy Birthday TJ!

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