Augusta Williams Stewart Sommers

Published 6:57 pm Sunday, January 3, 2016

Augusta Williams Stewart Sommers passed away on Dec. 26, 2015. “Gussie” was born Nov. 15, 1921 to Owen August and Ethel Dobson Williams in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky.  Soon after her birth, the family moved to western Pennsylvania where they lived for 10 years after World War I.  After returning to Kentucky for a few years, the Williams family moved to Newport News.  

Miss Williams graduated from Newport New High School in 1938 where she met both her future husbands.  She married Ellis M. Stewart in 1939 and they were married 46 years until his death.  They had a one daughter, Sally Meredith Stewart.  

Gussie married Robert (Bob) S. Sommers in 1992.  She moved to Smithfield and they were married 12-and-a-half years until his passing.  They enjoyed traveling in Europe and their membership in the Old Dominion Packard Club where they spent many days traveling the east coast from Maryland to North Carolina.  They also shared a love for volunteering in the “Olden Days” events in Smithfield when they dressed in period costume.  

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Her employment began in 1938 at various business offices.  Her career included 18 years for a doctor/surgeon then as program director at the Virginia Peninsula Division of the American Heart Association.  Her proudest accomplishment was the formation of Chapter 119 of the Mended Hearts Inc. with support of Riverside Regional Medical Center and many volunteers.  During that time she had the honor of meeting heart surgeon pioneers Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Denton Cooley.  Gussie retired in 1984.

Following retirement, Gussie volunteered in various social service agencies in Hampton.  She held membership in the Hampton and Smithfield Woman’s Clubs. Due to declining health, she relocated to Fernandina Beach, Fla. in 2007 to be near her daughter and family.

First and foremost was Gussie’s love for God.  She was a dedicated Christian and held dual membership at 1st Presbyterian Church Fernandina Beach, Fla. and at Trinity United Methodist Church in Smithfield.  She was a longtime member at Orcutt Baptist Church in Newport News where she received her Sunday school training.  Throughout her life she was blessed with teaching God’s message to people of all ages.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Sally and Bill Ericksen; two grand-children Amy (Kevin) Saegert and Todd (Shayna) Ericksen, five great-grandchildren, nephew Mason Dunkley, and brother-in-law Albert Lindler of Newport News, her “Virginia” daughter Georgie (Bruce) Shackelford, many friends and family members including the Powell/Garrett/Timberlake families.

A funeral service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, Smithfield on Thursday, Jan. 7, 10 a.m. followed by burial at Peninsula Memorial Park, Newport News.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions for Gussie Sommers may be made to any of the following:

1st Presbyterian Church, 9 North 6th St., Fernandina Beach, FL  32034; Trinity United Methodist Church, 201 Cedar St., Smithfield, VA  23430; or Mended Heart Chapter 119, c/o Riverside Regional Medical Center, 500 J. Clyde Morris Blvd.

Newport New, VA  23601.