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Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Harold (Hal) J. Sommer, SJ (CDT), who died at 5:00 a.m. (EST) on Saturday, February 14, 2015, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. He was 88 years old. May he rest in peace.
Hal was born on December 19, 1926, in Portsmouth, Ohio. He entered the Society of Jesus on August 8, 1957, at Milford Novitiate in Milford, Ohio. He was ordained on June 17, 1965, in Montreal, Canada, and took final vows on August 15, 1970, at the Provincial Residence in Oak Park, Ill. Hal was in the US Army from 1945-1947. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Detroit (1952) and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Ann Arbor (1955). He was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Dayton (1955-1957) before entering the Society in 1957.
While in the Society, Hal obtained a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (1963) and masters' degrees in philosophy (1964) and theology (1968) from the Collège de L' Immaculée Conception in Montreal, Canada. He obtained a M.S.E.H.E. from the University of Notre Dame (1975) and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the School of Applied Theology at Berkeley, Calif. (1986).
Hal spent his time as a Jesuit teaching, consulting, and doing pastoral ministry. He was a physics teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, Ind. (1967-1969) and an instructor in aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. (1969-1971). He was a graduate student in physics and a part-time instructor and teaching assistant at Notre Dame (1971-1981). Hal was a consulting engineer in Indiana (1977-1983) and in Cincinnati (1981-1985). After completing graduate studies at the School of Applied Theology at Berkeley, he was a retreat director at the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford (1986-1991) and offered pastoral ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Milford (1991-1994) and in the Cincinnati area (1994-2011). Hal moved to Colombiere Center in 2011, where he prayed for the Church and Society until his death.