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Story Last modified at 9:44 a.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2011

Loretta (Lori) Brien Sommer


Loretta (Lori) Brien Sommer

Former Eagle River resident Loretta Brien Sommer, 70, surrounded by family and close friends, died on May 27 at her home in Sun City, Ariz., of cancer.

Her ashes will be inurned on June 27 at Tahoma National Cemetery with full military honors.

She was born Oct. 14, 1940, in Brooklyn, NY, to Anthony and Henrietta (Maylander) Brien.

Lori joined the Air Force in 1961, where she met Noel Elgin Sommer at Scott Air Force Base; they both served in the 1918 Communications Squadron, and they married in June 1962. They were stationed in Turkey, then moved to Texas for a short time and settled in Alaska in 1967. They spent many years in Eagle River Valley raising their family, enduring many typical hardships of the time and enjoying the close-knit neighborhood's effort of helping one another. Lori served in the Air National Guard until 1982. She worked as an IBEW telephone operator and also spent time working in the real estate sector before moving to Washington state in 1986 and working at Centralia Community College for many years. She retired to Sun City in 2007.

"Our mother made friends everywhere she went and was a big animal lover, too. Lori was known to rescue pets from the sidewalk in front of their homes (unknowingly) due to her concern for their safety. Her sharp sense of humor and giving spirit will be missed by many," her family said.

She is survived by children and their spouses, Nola and Mark Burgess of Kingston, Wash., Matt and Susan Sommer of Eagle River and Michele Sommer of Bremerton, Wash.; step-children and their spouses Kelly and Jan Sommer of Kearney, Neb., and Kendra Sommer of Kearney, Neb.; and grandchildren Derek Burgess, Jesse Troit and Jacob Troit.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Noel Sommer, and her half-brother, Jerry Brien.

In lieu of flowers the family has asked that a donation be made to your local hospice organization or to cancer research. The family was cared for by Valley Funeral Home and Crematory Wasilla.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Thursday, June 23, 2011.