Jean Tem­ple­ton Somers

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFETRIBUTES -

April 2, 1923 - Septem­ber 6, 2018

Jean Tem­ple­ton Somers passed away at mid­night on Septem­ber 6, 2018. She was 95. An el­e­gant, po­lit­i­cally savvy, spunky woman who cut a swath wher­ever she walked, Jean em­bod­ied the best of her time. She was wife, mother, sis­ter and home­maker to the hilt; more­over, she pos­sessed a mind of her own. Jean—our mom—was a per­son you wanted on your side.

Born into fame in Palo Alto, CA, Jean was the first child of Cather­ine and Robert “Dink” Tem­ple­ton, an Olympic gold medal­ist (1920) and revered Stan­ford Track Coach and sports colum­nist. She re­mained a proud Palo Alto High School alumna all of her life.

Jean met her hus­bandto-be, Kansan Bob Somers, over a bridge game. She wore an en­gage­ment ring that night, (not from Bob), as the story goes. By their sec­ond bridge date, the ring was gone, and a month later she mar­ried Bob and be­came the wife of this hand­some Pan Amer­i­can World Air­lines pi­lot, whose ca­reer be­gan fly­ing Clip­per Ships out of SF Bay and ended as Cap­tain of the first 747s. Although she had an ironic fear of fly­ing, the cou­ple trav­eled the world to­gether. These were her fa­vorite years. When Bob flew his last Flight 1 trip around the world, she joined him. They were greeted with gifts in ev­ery city they touched down upon. When the jour­ney ended, Jean wrote the story, ti­tled “The Last Trip,” pub­lished in Pi­lot, the PAA Air­lines magazine. The ar­ti­cle won the Bronze Award from the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness Com­mu­ni­ca­tors. Jean was a writer. An ar­dent let­ter writer. And when cer­tain in­jus­tices pro­voked her, she—true to form—wrote let­ters to the editor.

Jean had four chil­dren in three years: a girl, a boy, then twins. The cou­ple be­came one of the first fam­i­lies of Ladera when it was a brand new sub­di­vi­sion in the hin­ter­lands of Menlo Park. Here, they raised their kids. Bob was among the founders of Ladera Oaks Swim and Ten­nis Club. When he was gone on long trips to far reaches of the globe, the house re­mained wide open to neigh­bor­hood kids, who played in the yard and sat around her kitchen ta­ble. She was a “sec­ond mother” to many, in­clud­ing next door neigh­bor for twenty years Azi Owfee.

In the mid-1950s, the cou­ple bought a cabin on Pinecrest Lake. Jean loved trout fish­ing in the tin mo­tor­boat with Bob. She rel­ished sit­ting on that deck over­look­ing the lake, drink­ing her first cup of black cof­fee, lunch­ing on a sand­wich and iced Coke, and in the evening watch­ing the sun­set while solv­ing the world’s prob­lems with a cock­tail in hand and a friend or two at her side (Jackie Law­son, Mona Kel­ley, Mary Daly, Fran Hil­lier, Penny Lawrence). She loved peo­ple, she loved politics, the SF 49ers; she de­voured the SF Chron­i­cle and was an avid fan of Herb Caen. She was a pas­sion­ate Big Band afi­cionado. And then there was Frank Si­na­tra.

In the 70s, the cou­ple moved to Rio Del Mar, in the house they built and lived in un­til they died. They bought a va­ca­tion condo in Maui, per­haps her fa­vorite place, an­other deck with a world class view, this one of Molokai and Lanai, be­tween which the sun set ev­ery evening.

And now her life has set. Jean Somers had spunk and hu­mor to the end. She loved us to the end. Her care­giver Amalia “Molly” Pesquiera be­came her de­voted friend, along with Maria Ros­ales— and an as­sort­ment of chil­dren and an­i­mals. Both women were at her side when she passed, and we’re grate­ful.

Bob Somers pre­ceded Jean in death by three and one half years. She leaves four chil­dren: Robin Somers (Den­nis Schirmer), Robert Michael Somers (Emily), Marti Somers (Artem Ku­likov), and Richard Somers (Carla); three grand­chil­dren: Jen­nifer Tem­ple­ton Dunn (Ian), Joe Schirmer (Mi­randa), and Olivia Er­win; five great-grand­chil­dren: Alex and Colin Dunn, and Char­lie, Calvin and Pearl Schirmer. She ex­pe­ri­enced the gift of two foster great­grand­chil­dren: Or­lando and baby Jesse. She also leaves her best friend Diane McDon­ald, sec­ond cousin Ann Proc­tor, and her de­voted sis­ter Robin “Bin­nie” Quist Gates of Wood­side and Bin­nie’s ex­tended fam­ily.

Jean will be in­terred, with Bob’s ashes, at Madro­nia Ceme­tery in Saratoga.

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