Robert (Bob) Somers
Robert (Bob) Somers died peacefully at home on Feb. 24, 2015, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 98. His gentleness and wisdom will be deeply missed by everyone. His family is forever grateful for the way he blazed such a fine trail for all of us to follow. Bob was born in Kansas on the farm his grandfather homesteaded, on July 9, 1916. He was the second of seven children to Charles and Anna Somers, who were wheat farmers. Bob attended Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas, then, literally, took to the air. As a young man, he discovered aviation and went on to train pilots and fly clipper ships. Bob was also a glider pilot and taught glider flying during WWII. In 1943, he was hired by Pan American World Airways, his life-long career.
Bob married the love of his life, Jean Templeton, in Palo Alto, and they had four children he was proud of. Before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60, Bob picked the longest trip Pan Am had to offer: “Flight One: Around the World, ” which he flew as captain of the Boeing 747. Jean went, too.
The couple was among the first to move to Ladera, a communitybehind Stanford University. Here, they raised their four children. He was a co-founder of Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club, where he spent many days between flying. Bob was full of stories, from his boyhood adventures on the Kansas farm to journeys in remote corners of the globe.
A year after his retirement from Pan Am, Bobwent to work for the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), a NASA program, and joined General Doolittle’s Quiet Birdmen. He and Jean moved in 1981 to Aptos, California,in a house their son-in-law built, and where they have lived ever since. He retired to play golf and enjoy his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the kids next door, Nima and Nava and their mother Azi. One of the highlights of his life was introducing his grandchildren and great grandchildren to his Pinecrest summer cabin.
Bob is survived by his wife of 68 years, Jean Templeton Somers, his daughter Robin Somers (Schirmer), his son Michael Somers, his daughter Marti Somers Kulikov and his sonRichard Somers; his grandchildren Jennifer Templeton Dunn and Joe Schirmer, his step-granddaughter Olivia Erwin;his sisters Mary Hohenberger and Eleanor Ciskowski both of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and his brother Chuck Somers of San Diego. And his five great-grandchildren, Alex, Colin, Charlie, Calvin (Chaco), and Pearl.
Bob said everyone has to take that final journey into the west. His was a very good last flight. A memorial service will be held in the chapel at the Resurrection Catholic Community Church in Aptos on Friday, March 6 at 10 a.m.