Monday, March 16, 2015
Svea K. Sommer, a former teacher in the Westport school system, died Feb. 20 at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness. She was 97.
Known for her prodigious intellect, generosity, and zest for life, she was a role model for those with whom she came in contact. They included her many colleagues at Westport’s Staples High School, where she taught students with special needs, to the friends she made in her myriad and varied activities.
During the World War II, she enlisted in the U.S. Women’s Auxilliary Corps, where she achieved the rank of staff sergeant. In New York, shortly after the war, she was introduced to John Sommer by their respective best friends. They began their 66 years of solid gold marriage six weeks later.
She lived life fully, working in many disciplines. During the 1940s, she was an avid labor organizer for autoworkers. When she and John became parents, she happily spent several years as a stay-at-home mother with their daughter, Catherine.
When she was in her 50s, she received a Master’s Degree in education through Goddard College’s distance learning program, having fulfilled most of the coursework online, with periodic intensive weekends on campus.
This led to her illustrious career as a teacher. In 1991, she and John spent a year in Alexandria, Egypt, where they established the first school for developmentally challenged youngsters.
In her last years, she lost her sight, but managed the disability with her usual determination and straight-forwardness.
She spent several weeks at the Veteran’s Administration facilities and learned to use the latest technologies, enhancing her ability to email, and listen to books, the news, poetry and music. She continued to stay alert and current.
If you had to pick a single word to describe Svea Sommer, it would have to be “unique,” her family said. If one adjective could convey the spirit and good nature she embodied throughout her long life, it would have to be “indomitable.” And, to say that she will be sorely missed is an understatement.
She was predeceased by her husband, John, in 2011, and is survived by her daughter Catherine of San Francisco and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held later in the spring.
Posted 03/16/15 at 03:35 PM Permalink