James "Jimbo" W. Sommers

September 26, 1943 ~ August 27, 2018 (age 74)

James W. “Jimbo” Sommers, Retired MSgt. USAF, of Pardeeville, WI, passed away peacefully on August 27, 2018 at Agrace Hospice Center following a courageous battle with cancer.

He was born Sept. 26, 1943 in Beaver Dam, WI, the son of Forrest M. and Marguerite Irene (Funk) Sommers. He was raised in Portage, developed an interest in auto mechanics at a very young age, and helped his father build and operate Sommers Standard station.  He attended St. Mary’s elementary school, Portage High School (1961 graduate) and Madison Business College.  Jim joined the USAF in 1964 and married Rosemary Bethel of Madison in 1968. Following his AF career as a missile and aircraft mechanic, they remained in Florida where he worked for Florida Industrial Machines and Foxwood Golf Club. Jim and Rosemary returned to Wisconsin in 2007.

Jim enjoyed spending time with his family (especially his grandchildren), coaching youth baseball and soccer, and golfing.  His passion for auto racing began very early in life. Beginning in 1968, Jimbo raced stock cars, a red #96 Vintage car in Florida, and his little red #96 Legends car in Wisconsin. He enjoyed his time at the racetrack with his many friends and volunteered as an official at the kart races at Beaver Dam Raceway. He especially loved working with the younger racers. 

He is survived by his loving wife (and “crew chief”) of 50 years, and their children Stephanie (Jeff) Kent of San Antonio TX, Susan (Scott) Van De Hey of Appleton WI and Brian (Crystal) Sommers of Choctaw OK. He is also survived by grandchildren Katherine (Matt) Cox, Travis (Mikaela), Jessica (fiancée Tristin), and Kristen Lee, Daniel (fiancée Ashley), Jason, David and Abby Kent, and Christina and Brianna Sommers, and great-granddaughter Harley Cox, and sisters Jean (Marv) Mueller of Baraboo, Julie (Jim) Schumann of Portage, Gina (Victor) Baca of Westminster CO, nieces and nephews and numerous other relatives and friends.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents, step-mother Virginia, and nieces Jodie Mueller and Bretta Schumann Mootz.

A Mass of Christian Burial with Fr. Gary Krahenbuhl presiding will take place at 11:30 AM on Saturday, September 1, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church 309 West Cook Street in Portage. Visitation will be from 10:00 until the time of service. Mass will be followed by burial at St. Mary’s cemetery in Portage,

The family would like to thank the staff of SSM St. Mary’s Hospital and Agrace Hospice Center for their care and compassion for Jim and the family.

Memorials may be made to Agrace Hospice, St. Mary’s Catholic School Portage, or the charity of your choice.


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