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Robert was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Louis Sommer and Helen Heeger Sommer. He was the third of four boys and was the last surviving son. He graduated from Paseo High School in 1938 where he played football, basketball and was the senior class president. He was offered a college scholarship to play basketball at Kansas State but could not accept it because of the Great Depression and the need to work. In 1939, he moved to Los Angeles to join his mother, grandfather and brothers. There he met his wife, Virginia Lois Prati and they were married in 1944. He worked for Bank of America, was a private painting contractor and then retired from the Auto Club of Southern California in 1984.

His greatest love was his family. He often said how lucky he was to have such a wonderful wife, son and daughter-in-law. He enjoyed the outdoors, sports and travel.

He is survived by his son Richard, daughter-in-law Trudy, (Escondido, CA) two grandsons: Darin and his wife Andrea (Houston, TX), Tyler (Austin, TX) and four great-grandchildren Kyler, Ashten, Taylor, and Gabriela.