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1929 Phyllis 2021

Phyllis Sommer

November 18, 1929 — June 21, 2021

Phyllis Lorene Bartak Sommer, 91 years passed away June 21, 2021, at her home with her family by her side.

Phyllis was born November 18, 1929, to Frank and Ruth (Anderson) Bartak at the family home.  She was raised and lived her entire life in the Cliff Table area. 

Phyllis attended first grade through eighth grade at Sunflower Rural School District, with third and fourth combined in one year.  It was a one room, one teacher schoolhouse, no water, and outside toilets, that was two miles east of their home.  She walked or rode a horse to school.

She attended high school at Merna, where she roomed and boarded with an elderly single lady, Mrs. Paulsen.  She graduated in 1946.  From there, she took her last semester of high school and went to Kearney State Teacher’s College.  She lived in the dorm while there and finished her schooling with some summer school.  She taught three years at Dale Valley’s one room school, teaching all eight grades.  She boarded at Kranz’s and Elwood and Lucille Woods’ homes during the week.  During this time, she dated Keith Sommer for five years.

She married Keith on April 21st, 1949.  They moved into the house they shared for 69 years.  Keith and Phyllis raised five children on Cliff Table, with all of them attending and graduating from Anselmo-Merna Public School. She lived there herself for three years after his death, with help from her daughter, Corinne, and other family members.

Phyllis worked alongside of Keith helping to build their farm.  At one time she could and had ran every piece of machinery on the farm, even the combine (just enough to say she did it).  She raised and canned a huge garden, raised chickens for the freezer and sold the eggs in town, helped with milking, hogs and sheep.  Besides doing that, she was still an amazing wife and mother, cooking for her family for years, even after “the boys” were back farming with Keith.  Her grandkids loved her homemade cream puffs and the entire family always asked for her dilly bread.  Somehow in all of her spare time, she created a beautiful yard with many amazing flowers.  This was one of her greatest joys.  She shared starts with any who asked.  Phyllis provided fresh cut flowers every Sunday for the alter at Cliff Church when they were in season.   She also decorated it with silk arrangements when they weren’t.  Keith and Phyllis enjoyed square dancing for many years and Phyllis was in charge of keeping the bulletin board decorated at the hall. 

After Keith retired, he and Phyllis enjoyed traveling in their camper.  They traveled to Texas and Oregon on a yearly basis and also traveled to California, Mexico, Alaska and Canada.

Phyllis is survived by her children; son Cary (Connie) Sommer of Callaway, Mark Sommer of Kearney, daughter Corinne Sommer of North Platte, son Russ Sommer of Baton Rouge and Lane (Rhonda) Sommer of Anselmo; grandchildren Lance Sommer of Broken Bow, Britt Sommer of Lincoln, Megan Sommer of Omaha, Drew (Alyssa) Sommer of Merna and Cord Sommer of Merna; great-grandchildren Aliyah, August, and Felicia Sommer of Broken Bow.  Phyllis is also survived by two sisters-in-law: Geraldine Wilkin of Murdock and Edythe Bartak of Broken Bow.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, twin brother David, brothers Frank, Clyde and Jack Bartak, sister Kathryn (Bartak) Mannel and her beloved husband Keith.

Funeral service will be held on Friday, June 25, 2021, at 2:00 pm at Govier Brothers Chapel in Broken Bow, NE with Kathy Salts PMA officiating. Burial will be in the Merna Cemetery in Merna, NE. Memorials are suggested to A-M Foundation. A visitation will take place on Thursday, June 24th from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm with family greeting 5:00 to 7:00 pm at Govier Brothers Mortuary. Govier Brothers Mortuary are in charge of arrangements. An online guest book may be signed at


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