Theodore Sommer

theodore sommer

June 16, 1924 ~ November 5, 2017

Sommer, Ted age 93, of Fort Lee, NJ on Sunday November 5, 2017. Beloved husband of the late Yole Velona Sommer; devoted father of Terry Sommer, Kathy Sommer and her husband Rick Heckman. Ted was born in the Bronx, NY and was a professional drummer, percussionist, and arranger. He performed and recorded with countless major recording artists including Frank Sinatra, Rita Moreno, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Tito Puente, Dick Hyman, Buddy Rich, Count Basie and many others.

The family will receive their friends and family on Sunday November 12th, 2017 at the Frank A. Patti and Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home: 327 Main Street, opposite the Fort Lee Library. Gathering begins at 1pm, with a humanist service starting at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

Jazz Foundation Of America,,

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,,

The Ascap Foundation,


Humanist Service: November 12, 2017 2:00 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Visitation at Funeral Home: November 12, 2017 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

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Memories Timeline


  1. While i only met your dad twice..I knew OF your a musician, i so admire
    that his whole professional life was devoted to excellence in our craft…how amazing and lucky
    that he was able to live his dream to the fullest….all of this devotion, yet equally devoted to
    his family.

    and all i need to know of your dad is that he and your mom raised two special daughters,
    one of them, kathy, my dear special friend.

    May his memory be but a blessing…

  2. Knowing both Yole and Ted since childhood was a truly special gift that I am grateful for.

    Ted will always have a big place in my heart, he had a way of lighting up the room and always made me feel super special. Wonderful, kind, happy, talented man who will be deeply missed.

    All My Love,

  3. To Terry, Kathy & Rick,

    Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father. I can't imagine losing your dad so soon after the passing of your mom. I guess he didn't want to be without his Yole. I regret not having the opportunity of hearing / seeing your dad play, but thoroughly enjoyed the stories (dare I say escapades) he and Terry shared with me.

    Sending thoughts and prayers to all of you and hope that knowing your parents are together again may ease, even just a little bit, the sadness you feel now.

    In sympathy,


  4. Dear Kathy, Rick and Terri,
    My sympathy on the passing of your father. He was loved.- and to be loved is the best that life has to offer.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I have so many fun memories of your dad and your mom, we always had a bond because we came from musician parents.
    I miss my mom and dad everyday, but we have something special. Their spirit thru their music is in the world and nothing can change that.
    I remember your dad’s great sense of humor and he had so much energy.
    My heart goes out to you both, as I understand the grief and loss you feel. However, you were so blessed having such wonderful loving talented parents.

  6. Kathy & Rick, With sympathy and support on the loss of such an amazing individual as your father. Words can seem like such paltry inadequate things I the face of such loss but I can only hope the expressions of love and support from those around you, and the love your dad had for you, can help to cushion the blow.

    With love and affection,

    Matt Brennan

  7. That you should be in such a season as this, to say goodbye to both mother and father and in so closely together. For this I am profoundly grieve

    That I could know you dad, enjoy his stories, laugh at his humor, be refreshed by his company, talk on the phone… what a gift.

    I’m thinking of the parable Of the farmer who couldn’t get the harvest in by the end of the day wit the workers he had so he hired others at the end of the day to finish it up – he paid them the same as those who had worked all day. The early workers were angry – they didn’t understand. The parable is a lesson in grace – and grace is what I experienced – to be a latecomer in Ted’s life as a result of the ”Rita “ connection and to be treated as kindly and warmly as a lifelong friend. But that was Ted, your dad, my friend.

    The grace and peace of Shalom be with your family.

    John Ferguson

  8. Just a quick note to say Teddy was absolutely the best. We so looked forward to his Las Vegas visits. We'll always have great memories of those days Joe & Claudia Lano

  9. Dear Yolie and Family
    Back In the studio days I worked with Teddy many times…he was always in a good, happy and swinging frame of mind and always spoke about you! So sorry that he is gone…my thoughts are with you.
    Most sincerely,
    Marlene VerPlanck

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