My father, Dr. Leonard Samuel Sommer, was born in Springfield, MA, in 1924, to Orthodox Jewish immigrants of Eastern European descent, Nathan and Jennie, who owned a grocery store. His younger brother, Alan, worked as a high school history teacher and later as a shoe salesman.
My father graduated from Yale College, in New Haven, CT, where he majored in mathematics. He then pursued a medical degree at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.
My father trained in cardiology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, MA, and later went to work for the United States Public Health Service in Washington, DC.
For most of his professional life, my father practiced and taught cardiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Following his retirement from the practice and teaching of medicine, at the age of 77, Dr. Sommer was named Professor Emeritus of Cardiology.
For many years my father maintained a private practice on the side, where he treated poor people for free or for what they could afford. He was a true humanitarian. He also served on the admissions committee of the Miller School of Medicine, and worked as a forensic medical expert for the Miami Dade County court system.
My father loved learning and teaching. After he retired from the practice of medicine, at the age of seventy-seven, both he and his second wife, Anita, regularly attended JLI classes and holiday events at the Chabad of Key Biscayne, run by Rabbi Joel Caroline.
Among his many interests were playing bridge, attending concerts given by the Miami Symphony Orchestra, and traveling.
Dr. Sommer leaves behind two daughters, Babette and Annie (husband David) from his first marriage, a step-daughter, Wendy, and step-son, Wayne, from his second marriage. He was pre-deceased by both of his wives, and lived until the ripe old age of ninety-five.
My father was a gentle, refined, cultured, warm, generous, and lovely person, and an excellent medical doctor and teacher. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
Babette Sommer, JD
May 21, 2020