Richard S. Sommerville, 1918-2008
It is with great sadness that the Michigan Association of Broadcasters announces the passing of 1985 MAB Past President Richard Sommerville.
Richard S. Sommerville, 90 of Port Huron, passed away Saturday, November 8, 2008 in Port Huron Hospital. He was born on October 20, 1918 in Evart, MI, the 3rd youngest of twelve children, to Harry and Minnie Sommerville. Dick grew up in Flushing and graduated from Flushing High School in 1936. On May 23, 1942, he married Letty Pilon. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served through the end of World War II.
Dick graduated from the Pasadena, CA Institute of Broadcasting in 1948, moved back to the Flint area, and then joined WTTH Radio in Port Huron, becoming station manager within five years. In October of 1967 he purchased WSMA, and in March of 1973 with sons, David and John, bought WTHM in Lapeer. The family then purchased three newspapers in southern St. Clair County. In 1984, Dick and son, Jeff, bought WADM and WQTZ in Decatur, IN, and in 1986 with son, Jim, purchased WCEN in Mt. Pleasant.
In 2000, Dick and Letty returned to the Port Huron area. When SC4 became a community college, Dick served as the first chairman of the Board of Trustees. He was a long-time supporter of the St. Clair County March of Dimes, serving as board member and chairman. He was instrumental in beginning the Jail and Bail project. He was a board member of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters where he was presented their Lifetime Achievement Award this past July. He was a former member and past president of the Port Huron Rotary Club. Dick was a past chairman of the St. Clair County Republican Party, was a past member of the State Republican Party Central Committee, and was a two-time delegate to the National Republican Convention. In 1968 and 1970 he was a candidate for the Michigan State Senate.
Dick is survived by his wife of 67 years, Letty J. Sommerville; five sons, David (Nancy) Sommerville of Lapeer, John (Debbie) Sommerville of North Street, Tom Sommerville of Jacksonville, FL, Jeff (Pam) Sommerville of Ruby, and Jim (Debbie) Sommerville of Fort Gratiot; eight grandchildren, Robert Sommerville, Lorie (George) Karnegis, Chris (Holly) Ochodnicky, Todd (Stacy) Sommerville, Amy (Trip) Limehouse, Alex Sommerville, and Racheal & Janelle Sommerville; eleven great grandchildren, one brother, David (Mary Lou) Sommerville of Alma; and several nieces & nephews. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Florence, Marion, Jean, and Suzie, and his brothers, Harry, Don, Todd, Robert, George, and Alvin.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Smith Family Funeral Home-North.. The funeral service will be on Wednesday in the funeral home at 11:00 a.m. preceded by one hour of visitation. Rev. Max Amstutz will officiate. The St. Clair County Allied Veterans Council will provide military honors. Contributions may be made in Dick's memory to the March of Dimes.
To send condolences, please visit smithfamilyfuneralhome.com.
Smith Family Funeral Home - North:
1525 Hancock St.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Tel: (810) 985-4351