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Born: Dec 24, 1921

Date of Passing: Jan 17, 2005

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SOMER OSCAR JAMES On January 17, 2005, Somer was released from his long struggle with Parkinson's disease. He will be missed forever by his wife Jean; daughters, Heather and Wendy; sons, David and Keith; daughter-in-law Losaline; and son-in-law Bernard. He was dearest Pop to his eight grandchildren who were his greatest pride and joy, Saul and Lewis James, Julie Seleger (Dona) and Samuel Benoit, Rachel and Sidney Kosatsky, Hannah and Jillian James. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Beula and Samuel Eckler in Toronto; and his sister Esther Ratinoff in California. Somer was born in Toronto on December 24, 1921. In 1940 he went to Montreal and worked as a stevedore until he could join a Merchant Ship as an Ordinary Seaman. During the next five years he served in many theatres of war on 12 different ships of many Allied countries as well as on Canadian ships. In 1943, in the harbour of Naples, Italy, under enemy fire, Somer was credited with saving the British Ship, Empire Lightning, from very serious damage. For this courageous action he was awarded the British Empire Medal (civilian) as well as Lloyd's Medal for Bravery. It is extremely rare to receive these two medals for the same action. There were only three Canadians decorated with the Lloyd's Medal for Bravery during the Second World War. In August 1945 Somer made one peacetime voyage across the Atlantic on a merchant ship in order to be married to Jean, in London. They had known each other since 1943. Somer's Decorations and six campaign medals with other memorabilia were donated to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa in 2003. They will be displayed in the new building of the museum which is due to be opened in May 2005. Jean and Somer lived in Toronto until August 1946 when they drove to Winnipeg for him to work at the Winnipeg Film Exchange. Soon he became a partner in a theatre poster business until, in 1958, he established Regency Coin and Stamp Company. Somer was known internationally as a knowledgeable and reliable coin dealer and an expert in his field. He wrote several books on Canadian coins, stamps and tokens and a book on British Commonwealth Coins. He was a life member of the Canadian Numismatic Association. Somer gave many hours of his time to volunteering, serving on the board of non-profit organizations in Winnipeg notably the CNIB and the Jewish Child and Family Service, DASCH Inc. and the DASCH Foundation (Direct Action in Support of Community Homes). He was a founding member of the Foundation. He was greatly honoured to be the first recipient of the Annual DASCH Recognition Award and to have been made an Honorary Life Member of DASCH Inc. According to Somer's wishes and belief cremation has taken place. The family will be At Home in the River View Room, 400 Osborne St. for an informal gathering to celebrate Somer's life, on Sunday, January 23 between 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Flowers gratefully declined. HE LIVED WITH HONOUR AND IS REMEMBERED WITH LOVE

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 19, 2005

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