Jesuit Father Harold J. Sommer died on Feb. 14, 2015, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 88 years old.
He was born on Dec. 19, 1926, in Portsmouth, Ohio. He entered the Society of Jesus on Aug. 8, 1957, at Milford Novitiate in Milford, Ohio. He was ordained on June 17, 1965 in Montreal, Canada. He took final vows on Aug. 15, 1970, at the Provincial Residence in Oak Park, Illinois.
Fr. Sommer was in the US Army from 1945-1947. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Detroit (1952) and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ann Arbor (1955). He was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Dayton (1955-1957) before entering the Society in 1957.
While in the Society, Fr. Sommer obtained a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (1963) and Masters’ Degrees in Philosophy (1964) and Theology (1968) from the Collège de L’ Immaculée Conception in Montreal, Canada. He obtained a M.S.E.H.E. from the University of Notre Dame (1975) and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the School of Applied Theology at Berkeley, California (1986).
Fr. Sommer spent his time as a Jesuit teaching, consulting and doing pastoral ministry. He was a physics teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School (1967-1969) and an instructor in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana (1969-1971). He was a graduate student in physics and a part-time instructor and teaching assistant at Notre Dame (1971-1981).
Fr. Sommer was a consulting engineer in Indiana (1977-1983) and in Cincinnati (1981-1985). After completing graduate studies at the School of Applied Theology at Berkeley, he was a retreat director at the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford (1986-1991), did pastoral ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Milford (1991-1994), and in the Cincinnati area (1994-2011). Fr. Sommer moved to Colombiere Center in 2011, where he prayed for the Church and Society.