SOMMERFELD, Ernst Walter

Ernie Sommerfeld of Strathmore passed away suddenly on January 1, 2018 at Sagewood Manor at the age of 89.  He is survived by his children Elke (Lorne) Ball, Diane (Jerry) Cunningham, Stephina (Joe) Pirrie, Stephen Sommerfeld, Patricia Ross, Richard (Carly) Sommerfeld, Dixie O’Keefe (Randy Dumonceau), and David (Sharon) Sommerfeld; grandchildren Kathryn (Gerry) Gallagher, Jennifer (Tim) Paulin, Jaime Ross (Mackenzie Larkam), Miles O’Keefe (Chelsea Heryford), Courtney O’Keefe, Kaitlin Sommerfeld, Eric Sommerfeld, Cassandra Sommerfeld and Alyse Sommerfeld; and great-grandchildren Grayson, Kayle, Mikayla, Brooke and Hudson. Ernie is predeceased by Katie, his wife of 57 years, and son-in-law Kevin O’Keefe. Ernie was born on June 6, 1928 in Schoenborn, Germany (E Prussia) to Marie and Adolph Sommerfeld. In 1951, at the age of 23, after spending 6 postwar years working on dairy farms in Germany and France, he immigrated to Canada where he worked in logging camps in northern Quebec and as a farmhand in Ontario. After moving to Abbotsford, BC in 1954, Ernie’s carpentry career began while working as a milk hand on dairy farms in the lower mainland and that was also where he began building his own herd of dairy cows. In 1958 Ernie and Katie married and in 1960 they moved to White Elk Farm in Teepee Creek, Alberta; bringing with them their first five children and his small herd of milk cows. Ernie loved farming and gardening and could grow anything from sunflowers to canola. He loved experimenting and was always excited to share something new he was testing out. He also had a flair for raising livestock including dairy cows, sheep, and even prize-winning Charolais bulls. Ernie also was an accomplished Journeyman Carpenter and a 40-year member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. He worked on many notable projects such as the Grande Prairie Pulp Mill, Grande Prairie Regional College, the Daishowa Pulp Mill in Peace River and the first McDonalds restaurant in Grande Prairie. In 1997 Ernie and Katie retired to Rockyford, Alberta where they quickly became active in the community. They enjoyed supporting the local hockey and ringette teams and rarely missed attending a game. Ernie scaled down his farming ventures to a garden and several greenhouses.  He always had some new variety of tomato on the go and was always willing to share gardening tips and tomato plants. Ernie loved playing games; his favorites included cribbage, Sequence and UNO (especially marathon UNO matches). Ernie was well loved by his children and cherished by both his grand and great-grandchildren. Visiting Opa was always a wonderful adventure; spending treasured moments with him as he tended to his garden and tinkered in his workshop. Heartfelt gratitude from Ernie’s family to the wonderful staff of Sagewood and Wheatland Lodge for their compassionate care. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the Strathmore Alliance Church (325– 1st Avenue, Strathmore, Alberta) at 11:00 am. Ernie will be interred at Emmaus Lutheran Church Cemetery in North Kleskun (Sexsmith, Alberta) at a later date. To send condolences, please click the link below or email directly to condolences@wheatlandfuneralhome.ca

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