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Dr. Robert G. "Bob" Sommer, 76: Portland doctor who loved fishing

Obituaries

Dr. Robert G. "Bob" Sommer, 76: Portland doctor who loved fishing

FALMOUTH — Dr. Robert Georg "Bob" Sommer, 76, died from heart failure on April 1 surrounded by his family.

Born in 1933 in Vienna, Austria, he was the son of Robert Sommer and Mathilde Eberling. 

In 1939 he was evacuated from Vienna to a foster home in England after the Nazis incarcerated his father. After the family was reunited, they emigrated to the United States in 1940, settling in Richmond.

He graduated from Kents Hill School, Tufts University, and the University of Rochester School of Medicine, earning his medical degree in 1959. 

From 1961 to 1964, he served in the U.S. Air Force in Fairbanks, Alaska, until he moved back to the northeast where he completed medical residencies at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

For nearly 30 years he practiced dermatology in Portland, and also served as the director of dermatology at Maine Medical Center for many years. 

In 1981, his wife of 22 years and mother of his four children, Barbara Black Sommer, died. He raised his two teenage sons as a single parent. After a major heart attack in 1983, his children assisted his recovery by helping him improve his swimming technique. He began swimming a mile and a quarter daily.

In 1993, he married Gretchen Markey Payson and enjoyed traveling, hosting large family dinners and visiting with their 13 grandchildren. 

Five years later he and Gretchen began spending their winters in Florida, where they enjoyed meeting new friends and hosting many visitors at their home in Bonita Springs.

Throughout his life, he shared his unique dry wit and passion for fly-fishing with friends and family.  He also enjoyed white-water canoeing, downhill and cross-country skiing and reading.

He is survived by his wife, Gretchen Payson Sommer of Bonita Springs, Fla., and Falmouth; his four children and their spouses, Karen of Arlington, Mass., Rob and Teresa of Evanston, Ill., John and Lorri of Portland, and Jeffrey and Dominique of West Bath; three stepchildren and their spouses, Steve and Catalina of Mifflinburg, Penn., David of Portland, and Keisha and John of Brunswick; and 13 grandchildren.

Memorial services were held earlier this week.

Friends can remember him by taking a loved one fishing or by sending a memorial donation to Kents Hill School Development Office, 1614 Main St., P.O. Box 257, Kents Hill, ME  04349.

Arrangements are by Lindquist Funeral Home, 1 Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth.