Beverly Ann Sommer

February 4, 2021
Bev left us peacefully at Langley Hospice on the evening of 4 February 2021 with Warren, her loving husband and life partner of 38 years at her side.
Bev was diagnosed with myeloma in April 2019. She faced her disease with rare grace, courage, and pragmatism, encouraged by an outpouring of love and support from her family and friends. She passed away without fear or regrets, her thoughts focusing on the welfare and happiness of those she left behind.
Bev was predeceased by her parents Bill and Nan MacPherson and her nephew Stuart MacPherson. She is survived by Warren; brothers Fred MacPherson and Douglas MacPherson (Quynh Nguyen); sisters Patricia MacPherson (Don Reid), Gilian MacPherson (Dave Leeson), and Sheila (Mike) McWade; honorary sister Alexis Davidson; brother-in-law Bruce Sommer (Bunny Sanne); sisters-in-law Judi Sommer and Robin Sommer; uncle John (Denise) Koshman and aunt Sandy Thack; nephews Ryan McWade, Robert (Sheena) Gibbs, Marc MacPherson, Michael (Glenys) Bull, Rick Sommer, and Ian (Sue) Sommer; nieces Heather McWade (Kiel Burwell), Sarah (Danny) Cooley, Louise Nguyen, Kathi Bull (Dan Herlihy), Kat (Henry) Derksen, and Karen Sommer; as well as many cousins, including Susan Thack and Bev Grekul; and several great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews.
Bev was born in Vancouver nine months after Warren (in the same hospital) and often wondered if that was coincidence or destiny. Her parents left the West Coast with their children while Bev was still an infant, raising their growing family in Guelph, Ontario.
Bev had many fond memories of her childhood there. After graduating from high school she studied history at the University of Guelph where she was awarded her Bachelor’s degree. She subsequently completed her Master’s degree at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Ever in search of new adventures, Bev moved back to British Columbia where she embarked on a distinguished career in the province’s cultural sector, working as an educator at the Burnaby Village Museum (where Bev and Warren met), the Vancouver Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
In 1987 she accepted the directorship of the Surrey Museum where she secured the support and resources required to bring the facility into the modern age. Bev subsequently oversaw the restoration of the Historic Stewart Farm and the launch of its public services. She had a remarkable ability to bring community members, elected officials, staff and volunteers together in developing shared visions and the will to turn ideas into reality.
As Manager of Heritage Services for the City of Surrey she fostered the formation of the Friends of the Surrey Museum and Archives Society and helped secure the resources required for the development, under her leadership, of new facilities for what are now the Museum of Surrey and the Surrey Archives.
But Bev did not want to be defined by her work. In her spare time and throughout her retirement she was a voracious reader of contemporary literature and an avid cook. She revelled in the company of her loved and loving canine companions, wire fox terriers Bertie, Sprout, and Tucker. She enjoyed gardening and excelled at home improvement.
She had few rivals when it came to planning vacations, carefully researching the best places to stay, eat, or shop (particularly for shoes). She especially relished spending meaningful time with family and friends. Her sisters often benefited from her keen sense of fashion as the fortunate recipients of pass-along items of clothing.
Bev loved travel, ever eager to immerse herself in new experiences, to see new sights, and to encounter new people. The return flight from one destination had scarcely landed when she began to plan for the next excursion overseas.
Bev and Warren’s travels took them on multiple journeys to Central and Atlantic Canada, Southeast Asia, Polynesia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Western Europe. Winter trips to sunny Barbados became an annual tradition.
Bev and Warren delighted in their frequent trips to the British Isles. London could have been their second home. Bev enjoyed the city’s pervasive history as well as its live theatre, restaurants, and myriad museums (especially their gift shops).
When the current pandemic and her illness made travel impossible, Bev found stimulation through keeping up with the daily news and derived considerable pleasure watching the latest dramas, mysteries, and travel programs on television, especially those on PBS and Knowledge Network.
Bev impacted people in so many positive ways, whether as a friend, colleague, or family member. She was an engaging conversationalist. She was smart, savvy, and confident, but always modest about her accomplishments. She was a creative problem solver who embraced her projects with unwavering passion and determination.
Bev possessed a quiet inner strength and a remarkable ability to inspire others. She was a principled leader, compassionate mentor, and dedicated friend. Her counsel was always wise, thoughtful, and insightful. Bev will be remembered for her unbridled generosity, her unique sense of humour and legendary laugh, but above all, for her devotion to her husband and friends and for the love she felt for her family.
The family is grateful to Dr. Paul Galbraith and the nursing staff at the B.C. Cancer Agency in Abbotsford as well as to the staff of Langley Hospice for their sensitive care of Bev during the final days of her illness. In lieu of flowers Bev’s family would appreciate memorial gifts to the Canadian Cancer Society, the B.C. Cancer Foundation, Langley Hospice, or a charity of your choice. You are invited to leave a message of condolence on the family’s online obituary at: www.myalternatives.ca
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