PROPHETSTOWN – Richard Walter Sommers, 88, of Prophetstown, passed away Saturday, July 20, 2013, at his home.
Dick was born March 12, 1925, in Prophetstown to Walter Arthur and Leona Clara (Egert) Sommers, and graduated from Prophetstown High School in 1943. He served in World War II from 1943 to 1946, in the Marine Corps V Amphibious Corps Artillery 155 MM Battalion.
He then worked at Sommers Song Shop in downtown Prophetstown with his father before embarking on a 46-year career with the U.S. Postal Service, and delivering the Sunday morning Quad-City Times for 21 years.
Dick married Margaret Ruth Schehl on July 19, 1952, in Prophetstown. This year they celebrated 61 years of marriage.
Dick was a member of St. Catherine Catholic Church in Prophetstown.
Growing up, he was a standout three-sport athlete in high school, earning the nickname “Samson.” He was a part of the undefeated football teams of 1941-1942. He also excelled in baseball and fast-pitch softball. He went to the International Softball League World tournament with the Tampico Merchants in 1953; they finished second. He was an accomplished bowler, inducted into the Mississippi Rock River Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1999, and loved to tell people that he won a Hudson from bowling in the early 1950s.
He was a Boy Scout/Cub Scout commander, and active in the Scouts when his sons were young. He was involved with Little League baseball and softball programs and was the American Legion Baseball manager/coach for 25 years.
With the help of his father Walt’s PA system, Dick was the public address announcer for home football games from 1946 to 1976, and he supported the football teams by never missing a home game until 1986.
Dick served on the Prophetstown Board of Education, where he was proud to have been involved with the first addition to the high school and its new gym. He was a member of the Prophetstown Athletic Booster Club and the Prophetstown Lions Club. He helped form the Prophetstown Historical Society and Prophetstown Main Street – he wanted everyone to know the history of his town as to promote the town to everyone. He was a lifelong member of Prophetstown American Legion Post 522, where he served as post commander and held several other offices.
After marrying Marge, he took great joy in being a part of the Fitzgerald reunions that took place every summer in many different states; he truly enjoyed his time with this extended family. In his later years, he was thrilled to be reunited with those he served with in the Marines, attending countless Marine Corps reunions that also took him around the country – his fondest one to Washington, D.C., where he got to see the World War II Memorial.
Dick rarely missed his children’s extracurricular events and especially enjoyed supporting his grandchildren in their endeavors; he was a fixture in the stands for many years, making countless road trips and enjoying the variety of popcorn he got to sample along the way.
He is survived by his wife, Marge; three daughters: Kim (Greg) Schmitt, Kate (Tony) Cody, and Karyn (Trent) Buck, all of Prophetstown; one daughter-in-law: Margie Sommers of Prophetstown; three sons: Kurt (Carolyn) Sommers of San Diego, Kerry (Kathy) Sommers of Coal Valley, and Kraig (Jessie) Sommers of Freeport; 13 grandchildren: Jon (Erin), Kiley, Tessa, Maggie (Adam), Brady (Melissa), Taylor, Allie, Morgan, Marquise, Allisa, Emma, Kory, and Kennedy; three step-grandchildren: Erica (Jeremy), Matt, and Alex; three great-grandchildren, Mykinzie, Dakota, Benjamin and one on the way; one sister: Diane (Robert) Roman of Prophetstown; three sisters-in-law: Shirley McKenna of Prophetstown, Marilyn (Bernard) Null of Erie, and Eileen Detra of Prophetstown; two brothers-in-law: Dennis (Maureen) Schehl of Sykesville, Md., and Bill (Judy) Schehl of Cambridge; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his son, Kris W. Sommers; his granddaughter, Nikole Sommers; and three brothers-in-law, Ron Holtz, Robert McKenna, and Neil Detra.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bosma-Gibson Funeral Home, 320 Lafayette St., Prophetstown. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Prophetstown, with the Rev. Dan Peters of St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church in Sugar Grove officiating. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery in Prophetstown.
Memorials may be made to Prophetstown Historical Society, Prophetstown American Legion Post 522, Prophetstown Main Street Organization, and Prophetstown High School Athletic Scholarship.
Visit www.bosmagibson.com to send condolences.