Robert Clinton Sommermeyer, father, grandpa, and great-grandfather, passed away on Nov. 14, 2021. His lungs collapsed as a result of the many years he spent fighting wildfires in California during his 36-year career with the U.S. Forest Service. He began as a hotshot in the Cleveland National Forest, putting fires out with a shovel and pickaxe. He eventually moved into heavy machinery, driving a dozer on the fire line. Robert fixed heavy machinery on the Modoc National Forest. A transfer sent him to the Inyo National Forest in Bishop, California, where he worked on campgrounds and roads. His last forest fire had him operating a dozer on the Sierra Nevada crest to keep the flames from engulfing Rock Creek north of Bishop.
In his retirement, he volunteered at the Elkton Community Education Center (ECEC) in Elkton, Oregon, where he helped construct the center from its start. He created roads and trails all around the center. He was particularly proud of his contribution to the construction of the full-size replica of Fort Umpqua, which honors the Hudson Bay Company's southernmost outpost. He resided and volunteered at ECEC until Sept. 2021, when he was hospitalized with severe lung disease.
He lived a robust and confident life, always certain of himself and his abilities. He encouraged his children and grandchildren to believe in themselves, to speak up for their beliefs, and to be willing to battle for what they value. Robert was good-humored and quick with a joke. He was selfless and generous, and will be missed by all who knew him.
Robert is survived by his children, Michael, Donna, and Carrie, as well as ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Linda and children, Danny Lee and Debra.