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Longtime Ohio owner Ken Sommer dies at 97

February 09, 2020
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Longtime racehorse owner Kenneth Sommer, who kept horses with trainers including Virgil Morgan Jr. and Gregg McNair, died on Friday, Jan. 31. He was 97. In 2019 he won the Ohio Sires Stakes championship for 2-year-old colt trotters with his homebred Action Uncle 2, 1:54 ($225,575).
 
Mr. Sommer, of Sheffield Village, Ohio, was born to Evan Albert and Laura (nee Ferguson) Sommer May 29, 1922 in Elyria. He was a 1940 graduate of Ridgeville (now North Ridgeville) High School and attended the U.S. Military Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. After receiving his engineering degree, Mr. Sommer served in the Merchant Marines as First Officer on Liberty ships that carried troops and supplies during World War II.
 
During his life, Mr. Sommer owned and operated numerous businesses, beginning in 1952 with Sommer’s Mobile Home Park, Pikewood Manor, Inc. in 1959, Midway Realty in 1960, and Sommer’s Mobile Leasing, Inc. in 1969; all located in Elyria, Ohio.
 
Mr. Sommer enjoyed playing cards, golf, traveling and was an avid fishing and hunting enthusiast. He had been active in the Standardbred horse industry for 30 years, owning his own horses and was a member of the Ohio Harness Horseman Association and U.S. Trotting Association.He most notably owned and bred the trotter Action-Broadway 4, 1:52.3 ($1,102,073), now the dam of his homebred Action Uncle, plus Action Majesty, an earner of over $400,000.
 
He was also a former trustee and Leadership Circle Member of Lake Ridge Academy as well as a founding family of the school. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Elyria, Elyria Country Club and American Legion Post 12.
 
Mr. Sommer was also a 50-year member of the Elyria Rotary Club, a 50-year 32nd degree Mason and the Lorain County Shrine Club. Other organizations included the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce, Lorain County Regional Transportation Committee, Lorain County Regional Airport Authority and past president, Mobile Home Manufacturing Association and Modular Building Institute where he was inducted into the MBI Hall of Fame.
 
Mr. Sommer is survived by sons, Ronald A. (Marilyn) Sommer of Avon Lake, Todd K. (Molly) Sommer and Kent A. (Gail) Sommer both of Vermilion; daughter, Deborah S. (Rick) Porterfield of Punta Gorda, FL; son-in-law, William Long, Ashland; grandchildren, Scott (Stephanie) Sommer, Christina (Dylan) Myers, Lindsey (Daniel) Braddock, Ryan (Elisha) Porterfield, Eric (Cortny) Sommer, Kari (Tom) Halko, Tyler (Tammie) Sommer, Kyle Long, Kristopher Sommer, Corey (Val) Porterfield, Mindy (Cort) Kisting, Jodi (Dave Reichlin) Long, and Kelsi Long; great-grandchildren, Ty, Max, Aubree, Hallie, Ethan, Brody, Jace, Keeden, Brooke, Quinn, Thomas, Paige, Henry, Lucas, and Baby Boy Sommer.
 
He is preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Joyce E. (nee Berg) in 1997; daughter, Wendy S. Long in 2017; parents; brothers, Charles and Donald; and sisters, Grace Dauphin and Laura Mitchell.
 
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
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