Lawrence Sommers

4 entries
  • "Larry was a dear soul and unforgettable . . ."
    - Darien Chrysafis
  • "Chrystal and Micah, you have both been in my thoughts and..."
    - Sandra Borbridge
  • "I am so sorry for your loss. As the family and friends..."
  • "To the Sommers family please accept my condlences. May God..."
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Lawrence "Larry" Sommers, a long-time resident of Juneau, died peacefully at age 68 on December 8, 2014, at his home on Lena Beach in Juneau, Alaska. Larry was raised in Orinda, in the San Francisco area. Important to him was helping friends establish the Empty Gate Zen Center in Berkeley in the 1960's which he continued visiting over the years. While working as a commercial diver in Seattle in the 1960's, Larry consulted at Virginia Mason to help develop its hyperbaric chamber for divers recovering from decompression sickness; on a recent trip he was invited into the hyperbaric medicine unit at Virginia Mason where further consulting work was being discussed.
In 1971, Larry met Chrystal as he was returning hitchhiking solo from a prospecting trip in the Yukon Territory and she was completing her undergraduate studies in Seattle. They subsequently married, had their son Micah and remained together until the end of his life 43 years later. Larry was a commercial diver, working on oil rigs in the North Sea and off Louisiana, and working underwater on several dams in Eastern Washington. The couple moved to Juneau from Walla Walla, in 1976. Larry worked underwater and above water on ferry docks/docks in Seattle, Juneau, Ketchikan, Tenakee Springs and Haines. Larry was proficient with metal working. He created a number of metal sculptures in Juneau including the big birds on the downtown Juneau Public Library/Parking Garage building with his friend Ray Peck, the outside bronze clan pieces and inside sculptures at the PFD (Goldbelt) Building with Ray Peck, and the large bronze world Tlingit/Haida piece outside the Juneau Empire Building with Nathan Jackson.
During retirement, Larry drove a school bus to help children with special needs, established his business Adaptive Needs where he constructed adaptive devices for everyday living for children and adults with special needs, and volunteered for SAIL. He could often be seen walking (or being walked) by their golden retriever/yellow lab, Jenny, and later their golden retriever, Abby, on numerous trails around Juneau, their favorite being Eagle Beach, on occasion joining other dog walkers Saturdays at Sandy Beach.
Larry is survived by his wife, Chrystal Sommers Brand, son Micah Sommers and girlfriend Sara Bornstein of Juneau, niece Damianne Brand-Eubanks and Brock Eubanks of Yakima, niece Jesseca Porad-Brand, Adam Porad, and their children Audrey and Lewis Porad-Brand of Seattle, brother-in-law, F. Doug Brand of Seattle, sister-in-law Rebecca Mitchell of Eugene, mother Thelma Sommers (age 96) of Nice, CA, and numerous family and friends. Larry was predeceased by his father Lawrence C. Sommers, Sr., brother Dale Sommers and stepbrother Robert Schubert.
Larry loved life and lived every day to the fullest. He has left a lasting mark on this world through his commitment to his family and friends, and to those who may not have known him through his art.
Larry died following prolonged illnesses. Our special thanks to Dr. Siddique and her nurse Alena Turner at Virginia Mason, the palliative medical team at Harborview, Juneau CCFR, Juneau Cancer Connection especially Tish Satre, Juneau Hospice especially hospice nurse Lisa Brendle, and especially Dr. Urata and his wonderful nurse Emily.
A gathering for a celebration of Larry's life will be held in the summertime. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you continue Larry's impact on the community through a donation in his name to Juneau Hospice & Home Health Care or the Juneau Cancer Connection. His family will privately spread his ashes in the waters at Eagle Beach.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Dec. 22, 2014