Ariz. - William F. Somers, 80, passed away peacefully Wednesday
(Sept. 21, 2005) at his home in Mesa, Ariz., where he and his wife
had resided since 1991. He resided in Hornell and North Hornell from
January 1953, until moving to Scottsdale, Ariz., in November 1977.
Bill was born in the borough of Manhattan on April 20, 1925. His
family moved to Mount Vernon, Tarrytown and Pleasantville, where he
graduated in 1942.
In 1943, he volunteered for service in WWII with the Army Air Corps.
He entered combat Nov. 18, 1944, as a B-17 flight engineer, and flew
30 missions with the 15th Air Force out of Italy.
Bill was discharged in October 1945, and enrolled at Syracuse
University, majoring in English and journalism. He graduated in 1949
with a BA degree.
He was working as an editor of a small weekly newspaper in
Pleasantville, when he was recalled to active duty with the White
Plains Air National Guard. He served as public information officer
at March Air Force Base in Riverside, Calif., during the Korean War,
as editor of "The Beacon," the base newspaper.
In 1956, he joined the staff of The Evening Tribune in Hornell. He
was married that year. He divorced nine years later.
In 1956, he founded the "Hornell/Canisteo Penn-E-Saver" which he
owned for 18 years.
He married Marilyn Wood Harvey in 1968, a legal secretary who was a
source of comfort and strength as they pursued new goals. Bill
served as president of the Hornell Rotary Club in 1961. He was a
charter member of the North Hornell Volunteer Fire Department from
After moving to Scottsdale, Ariz., he worked for the Tempe Daily
News and subsequently The Scottsdale Magazine. Looking for a change
from the printed media, he drove light truck for Scottsdale Toyota
for three years, before retiring in September 1991.
Bill and Marilyn moved from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Mesa, Ariz., in
July 1991. Here, Bill took the helm as editor of a retirement
community's newspaper in June 1995 and served in that capacity for
10 years, retiring in May 2005. In addition to devoting half his
time every month to publishing the paper, he loved to play golf.
Bill wrote a book titled, "Fortress Fighters" in 2000 about his
wartime experiences flying out his base in Italy. Two editions were
published by his son, Michael, who had a printing business in Mesa,
Survivors include Marilyn, his wife of 37 1/2 years; his son,
Michael (Susan) of Springfield, Mo.; grandsons, Peter, Paul and
Adam; stepson, William Harvey; step-grandson, Jeff Harvey; and step
great-grandsons, Mathew and Travis Harvey.
He is also survived by his sisters, Janet (Robert) LaPolla of
Conway, S.C., and Barbara (Richard) Torrisi of Mesa, Ariz.
His brother, Theodore "Ted" Somers, predeceased him.
The family requests donations be made to Trinity Anglican Church,
2402 North Usery Pass Road, Mesa, AZ 85207; or a charity of your