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Norman S. Sommers

Norman S. Sommers, 95, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, died on 18 October 2015.

The Funeral was held at IRA KAUFMAN CHAPEL on Wednesday, 21 October 2015 at 10:00 AM .

Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny and Cantor Daniel Gross officiated.

Click to watch a video of the recorded service.

Interment at Clover Hill Park Cemetery.

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The family of Norman S. Sommers will be gathering through the evening of Thursday, October 22 at the residence, 1196 Stuyvessant, Bloomfield Hills MI 48301. Religious services will be held at 7 PM Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

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He was born in Detroit and remained a life-long Michigan resident. Norman graduated Cum Laude from Detroit College of Law in 1942, and after discharge from the U.S. Army Air Force, he clerked for Justice Bushnell of the Michigan Supreme Court. Approximately 60 years ago, he was a founder of the law firm now named Sommers Schwartz, PC. He retired from the practice of law in 1988, but continued as senior counsel to Sommers Schwartz until his death. During his law career he represented numerous prominent companies and people, and performed the legal work for many well known real estate projects, residential and commercial, in Michigan and other states, as well as handling numerous acquisitions and sales of corporations, corporate mergers, and industrial bond issues. He was a charter member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

He personally participated in many cases before appellate courts, i.e., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. He prevailed in all of them. Mr. Sommers was an early proponent of a ban on smoking in indoor public places and work environments. He championed his cause on radio, television and before a Michigan legislative committee. With support of substantial medical data and statistics, he argued that smoking was addictive and the cause of numerous preventable deaths and diseases to both smokers and non-smokers who inhaled secondhand smoke from smokers. Many years later his position was also asserted by several courts, two U.S. Surgeon Generals, and is now accepted by the vast majority of the U.S. public, and resulted in statutes banning smoking in many areas, and the tobacco companies were required to pay huge damages. He was Chairman of the Legal Committee of Temple Israel at the time it acquired land on Walnut Lake Road in West Bloomfield and constructed its current synagogue, after successful litigation with West Bloomfield Township. Norman enjoyed reading as well as traveling throughout the USA and abroad with Judy, his loving and devoted wife of 69 years. Together they also attended lectures on politics and current events, theatre and maintained an active social life with dear friends. Norman was an avid golfer (he had 3 holes in one!) and was a member of Tam-O-Shanter Country Club in Michigan and Longboat Key Club in Florida for many years.

Norman was very devoted to his family, and their welfare was always his top priority. He said that he felt he was captain of the family ship and that it was his responsibility to steer a safe course, avoid all shoals, and never endanger the family ship. He fulfilled his self imposed responsibility. Norman had a very close and loving relationship with his entire family. They could always depend on Norman to be helpful, supportive and do the right thing. He is survived by his wife Judy and his three daughters and sons-in-law Madelene and Ronald Kepes, Lisa and Steven Gretchko, and Lori and Bruce Abel, all residents of Michigan. He is also survived by six grandchildren and two grand sons-in-law: Jenny Spadafora and her husband Nick Spadafora, Beth Wanamaker and her husband Dr. Brett Wanamaker, David and Benjamin Gretchko, and Amy and Brian Abel. Also surviving Mr. Sommers are his great-grandson Kaiden Spadafora, and his sister-in-law Malverne Reinhart of Ann Arbor, and her daughter Janet Hall and Janet's children Elliot and Melissa, and Malverne's son and daughter-in-law, Rob Reinhart and Susan Barnes and their children, Adlai and Julian.

Mr. Sommers was the son of the late Molly and Fred Sommers and the son-in-law of the late Hinda and Nathan Gleiber. He was the brother-in-law of the late Dr. Melvin Reinhart of Ann Arbor.

It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of Norman S. Sommers may do so by making a contribution to:

Temple Israel
5725 Walnut Lake Road
West Bloomfield, MI 48323
Click to Visit Charity Website

Jewish Federation of Detroit
6735 Telegraph Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
Click to Visit Charity Website

Yad Ezra
2850 W. 11 Mile Rd.
Berkley, MI 48072
Click to Visit Charity Website