Uncle Vernon passed away at about 11:00am today (Friday, January 6, 2023) at De Paul Hospital in St. Louis. Mary Jane and Ron were at his side.
He went to the hospital Sunday with what turned out to be a combination of pneumonia, Covid and kidney failure, and went on hospice care on Wednesday.
Visitation, Funeral, and Burial Arrangements
Vernon’s funeral and visitation will be on Tuesday, January 10, at Grace Lutheran Chapel (10015 Lance Drive, Bellefontaine Neighbors Missouri 63137). Visitation will be from 9am to 11am.
The funeral will begin at 11:00 with Pastor Nathan Ruback officiating. Following the service, there will be a luncheon at the church.
You are invited to attend the burial at Laurel Hill Memorial Gardens (2000 Pennsylvania Ave, St. Louis, Missouri 62133). We will travel in a funeral procession from the church to the cemetery following the luncheon.
Uncle Vernon’s Obituary
Vernon Paul Ernest Sommerer, 96, of Bissell Hills, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, passed away peacefully on Friday, January 6, 2023 at DePaul Hospital in Bridgeton, MO. Vernon was predeceased in 2007 by his wife of 55 years, Florence Josephine Wakefield Sommerer. His family included their only child, Mary Jane Piazza and her husband Ronald Piazza of Richmond, Massachusetts, grandsons Ian and Jordan Piazza both of Boston, MA and granddaughter Olivia Piazza of San Francisco. He is predeceased by his parents Adolph Mathias Sommerer and Theresa A. M. Erhardt Sommerrer, and 9 of his 11 siblings and their spouses: Elizabeth (and Justin) Williams, Lillian (and Theodore) Kuegele, Erhardt “Bud” (and Alma) Sommerer, Felix (and Carol) Sommerer, Marjorie (and Edgar) Beck, Beatrice (and Fred) Putnam, Mahlon Sommerer, Cleopha Howard, Naomi (and Louis) Vetter, and brother in law Ralph Sommerer. He is survived by two siblings: Loyola “Lolly” Sommerer and Lloyd (and Jane) Sommerer, sisters-in-law Marylynn Sommerer and Dorothy Stubinger, 32 nieces and nephews and countless other relatives, church and neighborhood friends.
Vernon led a remarkable life, He was born at home in Jefferson City Mo, the 6th of 12 children, in October 1926, where he grew up doing every aspect of farming and supporting his family through the Great Depression and WWII. At 19 years old, he left the farm and was proud to serve in the US Army in Tokyo, Japan from 1946-7 as a military police in the Japanese War Crimes Trials after the conclusion of WWII. He returned to Missouri where he was fortunate to work at the General Motors’ Chevrolet assembly plant in North St. Louis for 39 years till his retirement in 1988. As a member of “The Greatest Generation,” he inspired all with his stories of hard work, dedication to family, church, and country, which he recalled with tremendous clarity. He was a polite, humble man, who’s actions spoke louder than his words.
Vernon and Florence were lifetime, sustaining members of Berea Lutheran Church then Grace Lutheran Church in North St. Louis County Missouri, carrying out his Missouri Synod Lutheran heritage and faith. He played no sports except cards. He was self-educated through books and his natural curiosity for all people and things. His interests centered around his family, friends, church, neighborhood, and tending his home and vegetable gardens, while always being of service to others. His goal was to visit all 50 United States, and after retirement enjoyed driving trips to his family in New England, as well as Alaska, the Caribbean, Panama, Greece, Scandinavia, Russia and a Grand Tour of Europe.
In 2008, Vernon was blessed to meet the acquaintance of Mrs. Wanda McCabe, a widow with whom he kept company, traveled, enjoyed Sunday games of Kings’ Corners, and helped one another in their advancing years.
Visitation and funeral services will be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at Grace Lutheran Chapel starting at 9 a.m., with visitation in the church narthex between 9 and 11 a.m. His funeral, officiated by Pastor Nathan Ruback, will begin at 11 a.m., followed immediately by a luncheon by the Ladies of the church. Following the luncheon, all are invited to Vernon’s commitment and military burial at Laurel Hill Memorial Gardens, 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue at St. Charles Rock Road, St. Louis, MO.
Memorials may be made to the encouragement and continuance of Christian education for young lives through Grace Chapel Lutheran School, 10015 Lance Drive, Bellefontaine Neighbors, MO 63137.
What a splendid album! Thank you so much to everyone who worked to put it together. When our Maker molded this fine gentleman he sent us a fine model to live by. Scott in Baltimore.
Mary Jane, you are in our prayers. Vernon was a wonderful man, and he will be missed! ❤️
I’m so sorry that we didn’t make the service for Vern, we just found out about it. We have known Vernon for years since our time at Berea. What a wonderful example of a Christian life well lived. He always had a story to tell. I remember that he told me that when he was young he didn’t wear shoes and he was always afraid of stepping on a snake. Dan and Jane Newsham