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01/28/16 - NNHS Newsletter - Gussie Williams Stewart Sommers

Augusta Williams Stewart Sommers
(15 Nov 1921 - 26 Dec 2015)

Newport News High School Class of June 1938

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,  

The sad if rather belated news continues today.  Gussie Williams Stewart Sommers, Class of June 1938, widow of both Ellis Stewart (February '38) and of Bob Sommers (June '38), and mother of   Sally Meredith Stewart Ericksen (Hampton HS - '63), passed away in Fernandina Beach, Florida on Saturday, December 26, 2015 at the age of 94.

     From Fred Mays ('60) of VA - 01/27/16, 10:58 PM - More Deaths:

... Augusta Williams Stewart Sommers. She died December 26, 2015 and her funeral was held in Smithfield on January 7th, 2016. She was a dear friend of ours and was the Mistress of Ceremonies at our wedding over 50 years ago. She graduated from N.N.H.S. in June of 1938. She was 94 years old and would become 95 on November 15, 2016. Her husband Bob Sommers graduated with her in the same class. They married in 1992. He is deceased and he truly made her happy. This was her second marriage. Her first husband Ellis Stewart, also graduated from our high school in February 1938. He was a good man and they had a really great daughter,   Sally Meredith Stewart Ericksen. Sally graduated from Hampton in 1963, I believe. Augusta “Gussie” was reacquainted with Bob Sommers when they attended their class reunion. She had always known him and his late wife…….all are now deceased…..and really great people. We attended Augusta’s beautiful funeral service...

   Thank you, Fred. I am so very sorry to learn this; I cannot imagine how I missed it. Gussie had been a subscriber of mine for over ten years. I shall miss her.

From the Daily Press - 01/03/16:   

                  Augusta Williams Stewart Sommers


NEWPORT NEWS - Augusta Williams Stewart Sommers passed away on December 26, 2015.

"Gussie" was born to Owen August and Ethel Dobson Williams in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky November 15, 1921. 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, VA.

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, Virginia and they were married 12 ½ 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. 



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, FL 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, FL and at Trinity United Methodist Church in Smithfield, VA. She was a long time 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, VA on Thursday, January 7 at 10 a.m. followed by interment at Peninsula Memorial Park, Newport News, VA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions for Gussie Sommers may be made to any of the following: 1st Presbyterian Church, 9 North 6th Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034; Trinity United Methodist Church, 201 Cedar Street, Smithfield, VA 23430; or Mended Heart Chapter 119, c/o Riverside Regional Medical Center, 500 J. Clyde Morris Blvd. Newport News, VA 23601. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in Daily Press on January 3, 2016.   
View Guest Book


January 03, 2016

"Gussie" was responsible for many lives saved with CPR. I was one of her 'kids' when I started teaching CPR for her, forty years ago. She was always cheerful with a great smile and plenty of support. She always had what you needed. Nothing but fond memories of this fine lady. I'm sorry I never got to tell her what a great influence she was on me and so many people.

January 06, 2016  

I remember Gussie and her husband as being one of the most fun couples I had met. I worked for Peninsula Memorial Park quite a few years ago. They came to me to design their memorial. When choosing plaques for it, they mentioned that they would like to have one for the Mended Hearts Organization. They told me the story of how their met or got reacquainted through that. I told them we would try. They asked Mended Hearts and they gave their okay. One was made and you will see it on their memorial. However, they wanted the design kept so that others could use it but that was not allowed. They thought that was very sad. I enjoyed hearing many of their fun stories like when Gussie was trying to get in the pontoon boat and got stretched out with her feet on one and her head on the other. Her husband was trying to get her to let go. She did not want to because it would get her watch wet. They laughed and laughed about it.

~ Sarah Mullins Carter, Smithfield, Virginia

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   Our deepest sympathies are extended to Gussie's family and their friends at this difficult time.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER! We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309

Servant of God, Well Done!

Words by Charles Wesley (28 Dec 1707 - 29 Mar 1788)

Music by George J. Elvey (27 Mar 1816 - 09 Dec 1893)

(The Methodist Hymnal, 1966, #288)

Wesley wrote this hymn in 1770 on the occasion of the death of clergyman George White.
Elvey's tune, "Diademata", has been set to several other hymns, notably "Crown Him with Many Thorns" and "Soldiers of Christ, Arise".

 Servant of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare’s past;
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last.

With saints enthroned on high,
Thou dost thy Lord proclaim,
And still to God salvation cry,
Salvation to the Lamb!

O happy, happy soul!
In ecstasies of praise,
Long as eternal ages roll,
Thou seest Thy Savior’s face.

Redeemed from earth and pain,
Ah! when shall we ascend,
And all in Jesus’ presence reign
With our translated friend?

"Servant of God, Well Done!" midi courtesy of - 01/13/06

"Servant of God, Well Done!" lyrics courtesy of - 01/13/06

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 01/27/05

Holly Divider Line clip art courtesy of clip art courtesy of - 12/18/04

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