Anita Sommerness, age 96, of Hutchinson, passed away Sunday, May 13, 2018, at Harmony River Living Center in Hutchinson.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 11:00 A.M., at St. Anastasia Catholic Church in Hutchinson with interment at a later date.
Gathering of family and friends will be held Wednesday, May 23, 2018, from 9:00 – 11:00 A.M. ALL AT CHURCH.
One does not reach the age of 96 without having enough stories to fill many pages. She would not want us to be too “public” with what she would consider as “private, family matters.” But, some things need to be said in remembrance of this marvelous lady we knew as “Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma, and Great Great Grandma.”
We remember first her strong faith. The Church was her rock in life. It is not an overstatement to say that her biggest disappointment the past few months was her inability to go to Mass each Sunday morning. When it became a realistic concern about whether she could safely get into the church and back in the car afterwards, she was not pleased with her children putting an end to what she felt to be her duty, which gave her great comfort. Going to church by watching the Mass on television was only a glimmer of what she really wanted. Thanks to those who came to her home to give her communion and spiritual medication, bringing peace to her soul.
She knew love. She loved her husband with a fervor and life-long commitment that was an example of honoring marriage vows even in the darkest of days. She yielded nothing to anyone or anything in her bond with her husband. It was a life lesson for her children and grandchildren that has not been equaled in its intensity or level of dedication. She was adamant about being buried with him at Fort Snelling. Some day soon, her wish will be honored, and she will join the love of her life in their common resting place.
She loved visits from her family. The cookie jar was always full, her cut-out Christmas cookies legendary, and she enjoyed telling stories about the good times with her parents and sisters. In their retirement years, the trips with her sisters on their girls-only trips to Grand Marais were great fun and brought great laughter as the stories were told for years after.
She had a splendid sense of humor and a day without a giggle was rare, even when she might have focused on a painful card life had dealt her or a member of her family. The ability to be happy, notwithstanding hard times, is a lesson to be remembered.
Last, we need to shout of her first love, Ireland. When she was eight years old, her father took his wife and young family to Ireland for the summer of 1929 so her mother could visit the family she left at age 16 to come to the promised land. It was not Mom’s last visit, but it did give her the first opportunity at that impressionable age to see the pace of a different lifestyle, the power of laughter, and the joy her family in Ireland had in their lives. That trip was the grounding she never forgot. Her parents provided a mirror of what she saw in Ireland: the home she grew up in had a constant stream of friends and family always welcomed with good food, laughs throughout the hours, a good card game or two, and, yes, perhaps a glass of homemade wine or Baileys.
We are now without this amazing lady, and hope those things she prayed for are her reward for her strong faith. We have no doubt that the framed message on the wall in her parents’ house came to pass: “May you be in heaven three days before the devil knows you’re dead.”
When asked what she liked about the homily by the priest on a Sunday some years ago, she said, “It was short!” Sorry, Mom, that this is longer than you would have approved, but you deserve it and more. Rest in peace.
Anita D. Sommerness was born on December 8, 1921, in Faribault, Minnesota. She was the daughter of Ralph and Mary Margaret “Molly” (Treacy) Merrill. Anita was baptized as an infant and was later confirmed in her faith as a youth both at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Faribault. She received her education at Bethlehem Academy, and was a graduate of the Bethlehem Academy High School Class of 1939.
On July 27, 1941, Anita was united in marriage to David Joseph Sommerness at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Faribault. This marriage was blessed with five children, Thomas, James, William, Judith and John “Jack”.
Anita was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother with a very big heart and spent her life making certain her family’s needs were met before her own. She was a faithful member of St. Anastasia Catholic Church in Hutchinson.
Anita enjoyed knitting, sewing, traveling, and she was an avid sports fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Twins, Vikings, and Lynx. She especially cherished her time that she spent time with her family, grandchildren and friends.
Anita passed away peacefully on May 13, 2018, at Harmony River Living Center, at the age of 96 years. Blessed be her memory.
Anita is survived by her:
Children, William D. Sommerness and his wife, Jackie of Duluth, MN,
Judith K. Reid of Hutchinson, MN,
John “Jack” R. Sommerness and his wife, “Pink” of Hutchinson, MN;
Sister, Elaine McDonald;
Nieces, nephews and many other relatives and friends.
Anita is preceded in death by her: Parents, Ralph and Molly Merrill; Husband, David J. Sommerness; Sons, Thomas Sommerness and James Sommerness; Grandsons, Timothy Reid and Joseph Sommerness; Sisters, Kay Wieben and Patricia Glynn; and Son In-Law, David Reid.