Gilbert R. Sommer III, 58, passed away Sept. 18 in his hilltop Wickenburg home surrounded by family and his hunting dog, Jackie Blue.
Working the summer in Canada at their fishing lodge, Austin's Wilderness Lodge and doing what he loved best, "Bert" fell unexpectedly ill and was flown home Aug. 26 to Arizona. His service will be Oct. 3 at the Wickenburg Community Center.
Sommer and his wife, Julie, came to Wickenburg in 1997 with their triplets, Malerie, Meghan and Gilbert IV from Tempe. Promoted to Wickenburg Area Supervisor for Arizona Public Service, highlights of his career included construction of the Tegner Street APS Construction Services Office and Yard. He and his crews were responsible for numerous large construction projects including the new Wickenburg Substation, planning future development for Wickenburg Ranch and numerous residential and commercial projects serving Wickenburg and its surrounding communities. As a boss he would reward his crews for exceeding safety expectations by hosting yard barbecues. After his children graduated high school, Sommer moved to the Prescott Office while retaining control of the Wickenburg area and retired from APS as District Manger in 2008.
A civic leader, Sommer was 2005 Man of the Year, 2003 Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce President and served a three-year term on their board of directors. His sponsorship of local events including the APS Christmas Light Parade, Gold Rush Days, Bluegrass Festival and Wrangler Athletics is well-known.
Born Oct. 29, 1957, in Chicago, Sommer grew up in Illinois and remained a loyal fan of the Cubs and The Bears. A huge Wildcat fan, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The University of Arizona-Tucson in 1979. He married Julie Garwick in Tucson in 1985.
An avid hunter, Sommer and friends from high school and college gather every year in Arizona to hunt quail, dove, deer and elk. His life-long dream was to retire and run a fishing lodge. He was able to fulfill that dream building a fly-in lodge in Alaska and their current operation, Austin's Wilderness Lodge, Pashkokagn Lake in Ontario, Canada.
Sommer is survived by his wife of 31 years, Julie, of Wickenburg; daughters, Malerie, of Tucson and Meghan, of Phoenix, who attended The University of Arizona like their father, and son, Gilbert IV, U.S. Marine Corps, San Diego, and his three grand-children, Gilbert V and twins, Jace and Evelyn, of San Diego.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Eileen Sommer. He is survived by his father, Gilbert Sommer Jr., of Arlington Heights, IL; siblings, Eddie, of Tuscon; Kevin, of Irvine, CA; Patti (David) Dillon, of Littleton, CO; Sharon (Jim) Pendergast, of Frederick, CO; and Shawn, of Hanover Park, IL. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to a memorial scholarship fund set up at Wells Fargo Bank account # 6371476315.
Lunch will be provided for the Memorial Service at Wickenburg Community Center on Monday, Oct. 3, at noon. Guests are welcome to bring side dishes.