Obituary of Robert Wallace Somerville
Robert W Somerville
Veteran, Broadcaster, Kiwanian and Shriner
NORTH PORT, FLORIDA… Robert W. Somerville, 86, passed away on January 3, 2024. He was the husband of Waltraud “Wally” Wagner Somerville, who predeceased him in 2022 after 48 years of marriage.
Mr. Somerville was born on October 17, 1937 in Waterbury, CT, son of the late Walter Vincent and Madeline Wallace Somerville. He graduated from Sacred Heart grammar school, Sacred Heart high school and Post College.
He met the love of his life, Wally, on a ski trip to Massachusetts. They were married on October 18, 1974 and lived in Waterbury, CT where they raised their son, Andrew Somerville then retired to North Port, FL in 2007.
The Somerville’s took many trips as a family to the Lakes Region and White Mountains of New Hampshire to spend time with family and ski. They also took many trips abroad, with cherished memories of family visits to Europe, throughout Germany, Austria, Italy and more.
Mr. Somerville began his broadcasting career in 1965 with WWCO in Waterbury which had just been purchased by Merv Griffin. In 1974, he with two partners purchased WQQW, the former WBRY in Waterbury. In 1986, he sold WQQW to a group of local businessmen and shortly thereafter entered a partnership which purchased WWCO. In 1997, he sold WWCO to Buckley Broadcasting of CT.
He was a member of the CT Broadcasters Association during his radio career. He was a member of Harmony Lodge 42, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in Waterbury serving briefly on its Board of Directors; Scottish Rite Bodies, Valley of Waterbury; Lafayette Consistory, 32nd Degree, Valley of Bridgeport; Sphinx Shrine, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Newington, CT serving as the Jurisdictional Representative for Waterbury to the Potentates of Sphinx Shrine; was assistant Master of The Ritual Cast of Sphinx Shrine; and was a past president of the Kaabans Shrine Club of Plymouth, CT.
Mr. Somerville was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Waterbury for 42 years serving two terms as President earning the Distinguished Presidents Award each time from Kiwanis International. He also served many years on the Kiwanis Club’s Board of Directors; was for many years Co-Chairman of the Kiwanis Club’s Day Camp for Special Children in Wolcott, CT; Co-Chairman for the Kiwanis Club’s annual Peanut Sale and over his long membership accounted for close to $175,000 in sales to support the Kiwanis Club’s many charitable endeavors. In 1996 the Kiwanis Club honored Mr. Somerville with a Red Jacket for his many years of service. A Red Jacket acknowledges a $1,000 donation by the Kiwanis Club of Waterbury in his name to support the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute in Boston, MA, a major service project of the New England District of Kiwanis International. Before retiring to Florida, Mr. Somerville was a 40-year plus member of the Legion of Honor of Kiwanis International. He was a member of the North Port Kiwanis Club in Florida at the time of his death.
Mr. Somerville proudly served in the US Army. He was the recipient of the Expert Rifleman Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the US Army Commendation Medal and held a Top Secret clearance.
Upon moving to North Port, Florida, Mr. Somerville joined Sahib Temple in Sarasota and the North Port Shrine Club where he served two separate terms as president. He also served as president of the North Port Kiwanis and received a “Distinguished Presidents Award” from Kiwanis International.
A memorial service will be held at the Sarasota Memorial Cemetery with full military honors. Mr. Somerville leaves behind a son, Andrew (Megan) Somerville, a grandson Jackson Somerville and granddaughter Veronica Somerville of Fort Myers, FL a niece, Lynn Vadas of Massachusetts, cousin-in-law Dori Barnickel, nephews Stefan Barnickel and Chris (Crystal) Barnickel, great-nephew Carter Barnickel and great niece Natalie Barnickel. He is predeceased by his wife of 48 years, Waltraud “Wally” Somerville, and a sister, Joan Catherine Duvay.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Mr. Somerville’s name to the North Port Kiwanis Club, PO Box 7222, North Port, FL 34290.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Somerville, please visit Tribute Store