Stanley Andrew Sommer was born Sept. 24, 1919, at Merna. He graduated from Merna High School in 1936.
Sept. 8, 1942, he married Sylvia Pomplun. He died at Jennie M. Melham Memorial Hospital in Broken Bow Oct. 30, 2011, at the age of 92.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Sylvia; his parents, Almore and Esther Sommer; infant brother, Hugh; sister, Allie, and brother Warren.
He is survived by his son, Steve Sommer and his wife Ann of Merna; daughter, Sandra McCord and her husband Jim of Richmond, Kent.; grandchildren, Todd Sommer and his wife Aubrey of Kent, Wash., Tracy Sommer of Merna, Kevin Sommer of Merna, Quinten McCord and his wife Stacey of Chicago; great-granddaughter, Rhonda Sommer of Kent, Wash. He is also survived by his sister, Geraldine Wilkin of Murdock, and his brother, Keith Sommer and his wife Phyllis of Merna, along with many nieces and nephews.
Stanley grew up on the family homestead just north of Merna. He and his brother Warren appeared in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" for having tamed two coyote pups as pets and hunting companions.
By the age of nine or 10, he helped out in the Merna Farmer's Co-op grain elevator where his father was manager and drove horse and mule teams in the field for his uncle Perry. From both of his parents he acquired a love of music and reading.
As a young man, Stanley worked on ranches in western Nebraska and broke horses. With relatives and friends he made several trips to Oregon (occasionally hopping a freight train) to visit his sister and work in lumber camps, saw mills, and truck farms. On one such trip he hitched a ride with another Custer County family going west to visit a sister. By the time they reached the Nebraska border, Stanley Sommer and Sylvia Pomplun knew they would spend their lives together.
They settled on a farm between Merna and Anselrno and never left it. They passed along to their children and grandchildren their appreciation for the land and the good food that came from it, the livestock and pets that lived on it, as well as the legacy of music and books.
In the Merna high school orchestra Stanley had learned to play violin on an instrument that was sadly lacking in tone quality. After retirement many years later, he fulfilled a life-long wish to own a better violin. And then another one. And then another. As his collection grew and needed more hands to make use of it, he shared his violins with Opal Buchta's young music students and thoroughly enjoyed attending their concerts.
In Stanley's retirement years, the Evangelical Free Church of Broken Bow and its congregation were an important part of his life. Once asked the principles by which he lived, Stanley answered without hesitation: to keep one's word, to value friendship, to stay loyal, and to maintain a sense of humor. Through his 92 years, he accomplished that.
Funeral services were conducted by Pastor Scott Harvey at the Evangelical Free Church in Broken Bow Nov. 4, 2011. Music was provided by Doug Stewart and by Don Schauda playing a violin from Stanley's collection. Pall bearers were Mike Bates, Matt Hirsch, Butch Johnson, Melvin May, Jeff Porter and John Whitney.
Burial was in the Merna Cemetery. Govier Brothers Mortuary of Broken Bow was in charge of arrangements.