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DR. PAUL BARTHOLIN SOMMERS

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DR. PAUL BARTHOLIN SOMMERS Obituary
SOMMERS (DMA) Dr. Paul B. Sommers, Doctor of Musical Arts, passed away on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the age of 94. Dr. Sommers served as Chair of the Voice Division in the UMKC Conservatory of Music from 1964 to 1988; upon retirement he was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus. During these years, he also directed the Opera Workshop, taught Foreign Languages for Singers, as well as other courses while teaching voice majors, most of whom were Graduate level. Paul spoke several foreign languages fluently, including Danish, Italian, French, German, and Spanish. He proudly served in the Army Air Corps Active Duty (became U.S. Air Force after WW II ended) beginning 1942, earning Wings in 1944. Later he served in the Air Force Reserves until May of 1972. During that period, he flew as Aircraft Commander on innumerable flights all over the world. Paul was born in Racine, WI, the son of Danish immigrants. They later moved to Kenosha, WI where he graduated high school. In 1948-1951, he had an Italian Government Scholarship as well as a Fulbright Award to study in Rome. After earning two diplomas from the Conservatorio di Musica "S Cecilia" in 1950 and 1951, as well as a grant from Sweden for further brief study in Stockholm, he moved to Paris where he studied languages. Upon completion he then worked in Vienna, Austria, for the US State Department until 1953, after which he returned to the United States, going back to school to earn a Master of Music Degree at Illinois Wesleyan as well as teaching there. Afterwards, he began study and completion of the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign. Paul then began his long teaching career in the UMKC Conservatory of Music, where he also served in many elected capacities such as Faculty Chair of the Conservatory and various University and Conservatory committees. Paul was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed spending his free time at their lake house and fishing up in Canada. He loved tending to his trees, watching hummingbirds at the feeder, and listening to all the birds and sounds of nature. He leaves his wife of almost 48 years, Joan (Pace) Cochran Sommers, their daughter, Catherine E. (Sommers) Tiritoglu (Alp), grandsons Aydin and Aaron Tiritoglu, and three sons by his first marriage, Paul Sommers, Steven E. Sommers (Cindi), and Thomas E. Sommers (Marilyn). He also leaves a cousin, Lis Clausen, and other extended family in Denmark. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the are suggested. "Per request, all services for Dr. Sommers will remain private for his family" (Condolences may be expressed at: www.porterfuneralhome.com Arrangements: Porter Funeral Homes & Crematory, 8535 Monrovia, Lenexa, KS (913) 438- 6444. P
Published in Kansas City Star on Mar. 29, 2017
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