Tommy Sommers skated in Northeast Ohio for many years. Some of you met him at the first annual Park 'n Roll at Dix Stadium in Kent, OH back in 2011. You also may have known him if you skated at Moon-Glo in Kent, Rollercade in Akron, Rocky's in Tallmadge, Rollerhutt in Garettsville, North Canton, Brookpark, or.... well, anywhere in Ohio and beyond. We would like to honor his memory and contribution to roller sports by posting information here about his achievements and life. We ask that you help us to share happy memories of Tommy by posting your own comments (at the site below) of funny stories that you remember about Tommy. Thank you so much for your caring! We are gathering all his stories to compile into a book, and will post information about it when it is available. Thank you all for your support and sentiments.
Tommy gets a relay push from wife Shirley

Get Back Up Award:
We honor Tommy every year following his passing in 2011 by awarding the "Get Back Up" award. Please help us to find wonderful nominees every year to give this award to so that we can continue to reward those dedicated skaters who keep getting back up when life knocks them down. Great Roll Models deserve recognition, and if there is someone out there that has inspired you by persisting through adversity in their skating career, we suggest that you nominate them for this award. Nominees come from Park 'n Roll participants who submit the story of a skater who "got back up again" and continued their skating career, inspiring others in the sport and reminding us not to give up. Never never never give up.

Written on the award:
In the spirit of Tommy Sommers, who sustained enough skating injuries to fill a book, but kept skating anyway, we present this award as a reminder that you “may be knocked down, but not out forever”. (Lyrics  from the song "Get Back Up" by Toby Mac)
SUBMIT YOUR NOMINEES HERE: Nominee Submission Form

Past Recipients:
Tommy gives advice to another skater at 2011 festival
2011: First annual Park 'n Roll, no award given. This year honors Tom Sommers for his attendance at the event.
2012 Award: Rachel Adkins - for training and competing through a knee injury and successfully placing at Nationals.
2013 Award: Trisha Kaufman - for falling hard during an outdoor competition but making it across the line with the assistance of Park 'n Roll skater Christine Numerick
2014 Awards: Shawna Strautnieks, for receiving MVP at her first bout after returning to skating from a broken ankle, and Chad Harris, for returning to speed skating after breaking both legs in multiple places the previous year.
2015 Awards: Danny Crimm, for getting back on his skates when everything (even doctors) told him he would never skate again, and spending the following years contributing to the growth of skaters around him.
2016 Awards: no nominees
2017 Awards: no nominees
2018 Awards: Gaby Guentensberger, for being confronted with multiple medical issues and still coming back to practice to assist her fellow skaters, even on the way home from Surgery. And Roger Olsen, for his passion for skating, even through numerous injuries and accidents, fighting through rehabilitation to come back to skating even stronger and out performing expectations while still continuing to support and cheer on his fellow skaters even if it has to be from the sidelines.
2019 Awards: Alicia McBride, for having her wrist broken twice and still coming back to compete at nationals along with her determination for the sport. Nolan Polewchak, for getting injured from a fall at a meet, and coming back to practices to cheer on his twin sister when he could not skate (but healed in time to skate the Park 'n Roll).
2020 Awards: Arya Sullivan, who fell skating outdoors and knocked out 2 teeth and chipped 2 others, and was still up and skating the very next day. Dennis Biddle, for undergoing multiple surgeries, including a new hip, and returning to the rink to rehabilitate.

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on October 2, 2011
Thomas Gene Sommers: Thomas Gene Sommers, 79, of Kent, died Friday, September 30, 2011 at Akron City Hospital Medical Center. He was born November 14, 1931 in Akron to Hans and Loreene (Culver) Sommers. He was a veteran of the Army during the Korean War. He retired from Ametek-Lamb Electric where he was a computer programmer. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. His life's passion was roller speed skating. He was a coach and speed skater competing at the USARS Nationals. He was an avid supporter of his family's skating including his support of his children's competitive skating. He is survived by his wife, Shirley (Ickes), whom he married on July 8, 1955; daughters, Gloria (Brian Banks) Admire of Stow, Jean (Charles) Collins of Republic of the Congo, Africa, and Misty (Bryan Colbetzor) Sommers of Kent; son-in-law, Mike Tackett of Rootstown; grandchildren, Daniel Collins, Kaitlyn Collins, Michael Tackett, Cosette Collins, Alex Collins, and Brandon Colbetzor; brother, Phillip (Mary Lou) Sommers of Stow; and sister, Pam (Charles) Dean of Florida. He was preceded in death by his son, Donald; brother, John Sommers; and sister, Reene Williams. Calling hours will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 4th at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home in Kent and one hour prior to the 11 a.m. funeral services Wednesday, October 5th with Rev. Bruce Chouinard officiating. Burial will be held at Chestnut Hill Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Portage Skates, 1260 Munroe Falls Road, Kent OH 44240.
Online Obituary Guest Book:
November 22, 2011
Dear Shirley, Jeanny and Misty, I am so sorry to hear of Toms passing. You might not remember me, I was a friend of Donny. I was late getting notification, I just happened upon The name "Gene", that was my sons name. I have thought a lot of you and your family. It is hard to put into words. Just know that you are in our thoughts.
Salem, VA
Lloyd Lowder,
Salem, Virginia
October 04, 2011
Dear Shirley & Family
My name is Molly (Sommer) Garabedian. I am a relative of Tom's on his father's side. His Father was my grandfather's brother. I met Tom through my brother Tom's genealogy research and my Aunt, Marie Petersen. Tom came to our home in Stow a few years back and told me wonderful stories of his trip to Germany to research the Sommer family. I have a 2004 Sommers Holiday Newsletter about your trip out West that he gave to me.

It was such a pleasure to meet Tom and talk to him. He told wonderful stories about the Sommers Family. I was saddened to hear of Tom's passing and I'm sorry we hadn't stayed in touch. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
Molly Garabedian,
Stow, Ohio
October 04, 2011
So sorry to hear about Tom. I will always treasure our good times skating . Kay Easterday
October 03, 2011
We will truely miss being able to sit and just listen to the most interesting stories Tom had to tell. I so enjoyed just sitting with him for quite a while on the swing out back 4th of july. He will be missed but NEVER forgotton!!
mary martin,
October 02, 2011
Mikey, I was sorry to hear about the loss of your grandpa. I know how close you and him were. I'm sorry I can't be at the service. My sympathies and love to Mom and Dad. Love you, Aunt Pebble
Pebble Sellers,
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
October 02, 2011
Just had the pleasure of meeting him at the Portage Park 'N Ride. Such a nice man!! Our condolences to his family. You are in our thoughts & prayers.
Robyn Lockner & the Atwater Rollerz of Starlite Roller Rink,
Atwater, Ohio
October 02, 2011
Offering our deepest sympathies during this time.
The Staff of Bissler & Sons Funeral Home,
Kent, Ohio