Vernon John Sommerfelt
Born: March 27th, 1946
Passed on: May 24th, 2019
With heavy hearts we announce the passing Vern Sommerfelt of Warman, SK.
Vern was predeceased by his wife Shirley (nee Sumlic) in 2014, his parents Rosella & Otto Sommerfelt, Shirley’s parents, Rose and Joseph Sumlic, his brother Lorne Sommerfelt, his brother-in-law Barry Scaife, and sister-in-law Joan Sumlic.
Vern’s memory will live on through his two daughters, Shannon Hoiness (Jeff) of Allan, SK and Shawna Florness (Warren) of Calgary, AB and his four grandchildren, Dalyn (Bailey Adair) & Cassidy Hoiness and Jake & Kohl Florness. Vern is also survived by five brothers and sisters: Rita Chuey (John), Luella Neurauter (Garry), Doris Scaife, Ken Sommerfelt (Debbie), Mark Sommerfelt, one sister-in-law Norma Sommerfelt and two brothers-in-law, Garry Sumlic and Ken Sumlic.
The third oldest of seven children, Vern was born in Prince Albert in 1946 while his parents were living west of Prince Albert on the river road. Four years later, Otto and Rose packed up the family and moved to Paddockwood where they had a dairy farm and later owned the Paddockwood Café. Vern went to school in Paddockwood but was Alberta bound at the age of 16 years looking for work in the construction business which he found at J.A. Moulson Construction. During his five years working for Moulson, Vern came home often and met the love of his life, Shirley Sumlic, at a dance in Weirdale. They were married in October 1967 and spent the next 47 years as husband and wife until Shirley’s passing in 2014.
Together, Vern and Shirley started out married life in Paddockwood, then once again headed towards Alberta where they lived in many places including Canmore, Calgary, Edmonton, Rocky Mountain House, and Fort McMurray. Vern spent four years at SAIT in Calgary getting his heavy equipment mechanics license and did his apprenticeship with Mannix Construction where he worked for 10 years. During his time with Mannix, Vern worked building highways and projects like the Big Horn Dam. The job also took him to projects in northern Manitoba, Cornwall, Ontario and even Montreal, Quebec while Shirley held down the fort in Calgary.
It was during their time in Alberta that Vern and Shirley expanded their family. Their oldest daughter, Shannon, was born in Calgary in 1970 and their youngest daughter, Shawna, was born in Rocky Mountain House in 1972.
After starting his own company in 1978, Vee Jay’s Mechanical Construction, Vern contracted a job with Klemke Construction at a tar sands project in northern Alberta. A year later, they went back to their roots. Vern and Shirley moved the family back to Weirdale where they bought a home, built a shop for Vee Jay’s Mechanical and where they would spend the next 35 years together.
Vern could chat with anyone about anything – mechanics, cars, farming, politics, sports, music, history – you name, he had an opinion and he wasn’t shy about sharing it. Vern and Shirley were both very active members of their community in Weirdale and were always quick to offer their time as volunteers. Vern sponsored and coached Vee Jays men’s slow-pitch team then later coached the Weirdale ladies fastball ball team, the Dusters. He was the Lions Club President, a town council member, and a member of the Weirdale Seniors Club to name a few. Many hours were spent helping organize ball tournaments, parades, curling bonspiels, fall suppers, skidoo rallies, and dances.
Vern had a special passion for curling and baseball. He was an active ball player and curler for many years, then moved on to enjoy watching curling, the Blue Jays, the Riders, and NFL football. He also loved to watch all his grandchildren play ball, hockey or lacrosse whenever he got the chance.
Above all, Vern will be remembered for his love and devotion to his family, especially “Shirl and the girls”. Shirl was the one. Their love was undeniable, hard and true. They laughed, they danced, they talked, they lived, they loved, they endured, they built a family and they were partners for life. Coming from a big family, Vern loved to attend every family get together, every wedding, every reunion, every celebration. So many pots of coffee, eating in shifts (kids first, adults second), musical chairs, cigarette smoke for days, kaiser, cribbage, laughter and yes, a few friendly arguments here and there.
There are too many “Vern-isms” to count, but these are the things his family will cherish and remember the most: the mischievous twinkle in his eye when he teased you, his big tough, calloused hands and sausage-like fingers, how Shirley used to call him VJ, how his nick-name to some was Kraut or Uncle Weiner, his vivid blue eyes, his little Vern snicker, his unruly caterpillar eyebrows, how he could twirl Shirley around on the dance floor, his steal-toed boots and his new-found love for Sketchers that he called “squishies”, his ability to fix anything, and his ability to consistently mis-pronounce words - guarantee and aluminum were family fav’s. As Shirley used to say, “Vern has a knack for putting the em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LAB-le”.
Vern was a good, honest man. A hardworking man who faced each challenge in his life, including the tragic loss of Shirley and his five year battle with cancer with unbelievable vigor, strength, resolve, and courage and he taught his daughters the same. Vern’s legacy will live on through his most prized accomplishments, his daughters and his grandchildren. He was loved, he was admired, he will be greatly missed but most of all he will be remembered for the wonderful man he was by the family he created. There is comfort in knowing that Shirley welcomed him Home with open arms, they are together again as it was always meant to be.
As requested by Vern, there will be no public funeral, only a private family ceremony and gathering to celebrate his life as our beloved dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend. It is the family’s request that those wishing to offer condolences in the form of donations consider St. Paul’s Close to Home Campaign for Hospice and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. The family would also like to thank Dr. Abbas and nurse Megan from the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic, and the Palliative Care team at St. Paul’s Hospital for their compassion and the gracious care they provided to Vern over the last five years. Arrangements in care of John Schachtel – Mourning Glory Funeral Service (306) 978-5200, www.mourningglory.ca.
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