Daniel Sommer Called Beyond Early Sunday.
Union County Pioneer Succumbs to the Call of the Death Angel Services at Elgin Today.
Daniel Sommer, one of the most esteemed and prominent pioneers of Easter Oregon, whose residence has been at Elgin for the past few years, where he has served as mayor of that city and in other important capacities, passed away at his home Sunday Morning at one o’clock at the close of a short illness. He had been in poor health for some time prior to his demise.
The death of Mr. Sommer, totally unexpected by his wide circle of friends and admirers, removed from the ranks of the living, a man that stood out from the citizenry of this section of the state due to his remarkable ability as a leader of men, his tireless industry that made his name important in building this country, his kindly nature that brought him friends from every quarter of the northwest in goodly numbers, and his many other attributes that will be remembered by those who were fortunate to know him, until the “last leaf fades.” Today the entire city of Elgin and Union and Wallowa counties are united in a sincere and heartfelt sorrow at the passing of Mr. Sommer.
The funeral arrangements, in charge of the W. H. Bohnenkamp company of La Grande, were completed this morning and funeral services were held at the city hall in Elgin this afternoon at 1:30 o’clock. The body was then brought to La Grande, and will be forwarded to Portland for final interment.
Perhaps the “History of Union and Wallowa Counties,” a volume prepared by pioneers of this district, may be quoted for the most complete and authentic biographical sketch of Daniel Sommer.
His history, one filled with deeds of worth, according to the above mentioned history, reads:
The name that initiates this paragraph is well know throughout Eastern Oregon, and especially in Union county where our subject has wrought with an energy and display of skill and wisdom that places him in the front ranks of our capable business men, having gained a brilliant success by his industry and wise management, but at the present time being retried from the greater activities of life and managing his property while he enjoys the rewards of faithful toil.
In Alsace, Germany, on January 1, 1850 Mr. Sommer was born, his father Joshua Sommer being a merchant at that place and there remaining until his death in 1884, while the mother passed away in 1882. Our subject came to the United States in 1868 and in November of the same year to Oregon, entering the employ of Bosowitz & Sommer as salesman in La Grande and Union for three years. The the brother formed a partnership known as Sommer & Baer and for this house he worked as bookkeeper for one and one-half years. In 1873 our subject opened a general merchandise store for himself in La Grande, and following year was burned out; then went to Summerville in the same business with A. Sommer and L. Baer. About one year later the business was closed out and Daniel opened for himself in Summerville, later taking in his brother, also starting an establishment in La Grande. In 1887 the brother took that store and he retained the one in Summerville. He soon bought land where Elgin now stands, there being only a long cabin there then, under a manager. In 1896 he retired from the mercantile business, selling his stock. In 1898 his oldest son, Julius, with two cousins, the Levy, opened a store in the father’s old stand know as the Sommer and Levy Mercantile Company. When Joe, a younger son, arrived of age, the father bought the nephews out and installed this son as partner and the firm is know as Sommer brothers.
For a length of time he handled real estate and made loans, besides looking after his property interests consisting of a large tract of land immediately west of La Grande know as Sommers addition and numerous buildings in the city, while he had an elegant dwelling. He was also director and stockholder in the Elgin bank and in the Farmers & Traders Bank of La Grande. He always took an active part in educational affairs, laboring for their advancement as well as for general progress.
Mr. Sommer married Miss Rachel, daughter of Joseph and Diana Wertheimer natives of Germany. She came to America in 1874 with A. Sommer and sister, the former having gone to Europe on a trip. To this happy union were born three children, Julius, Joe A., and Henry S. Mr. Sommer was a member of the Masons, Elgin Lodge, No. 98, also of the Scottish rite and the Shrine in Portland, of the I. O. O. F. Elgin Lodge No. 142, of the K. of P. Orion Lodge, No. 73 and of the Blue Mountain Chapter No. 52 O. E. S.
La Grande Evening Observer, August 13, 1923
Contributedby: Diane Levy Salmon