Nancy Sommers celebrates centenarian Walter Sommers: To my father on his 100th birthday

Walter Sommers has remained engaged in life throughout his 100 years, and that is a key to his longevity.

He looks back in time not so much for nostalgia’s sake, although he enjoys telling the old stories, but for purpose of relating society’s tragic mistakes to new generations whom he can only hope will learn, and do better with their time on earth.

Here, Walter’s daughter Nancy Sommers offers birthday greetings to her father, who celebrates his centennial on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020.

We also invite you to view Nancy’s engaging interview with Walter Sommers from May 21, 2016.

Happy birthday, dear wonderful Dad!

To my father on his 100th birthday:

Happy birthday, dear wonderful Dad!

You smile when you think about turning 100. We smile, too, because our lives are so enriched by your long life.

You have always understood something so vital about aging — keep learning, find ways to volunteer, contribute and build community around you.

And you do all of this — and do it so well. We admire you, Dad, and we love you so much for always being you.

You are a wise, great person, but your greatness is not just in the number of years lived, but in the abundance and enthusiasm with which you have chosen to live these years.

Walter Sommers visits with great-grandaughter Lailah and daughter Nancy at CANDLES. Founder Eva Kor and a virtual image of Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter look on in the background.

You are always asked about the secret to your longevity, but your real secret is knowing what makes a good life and knowing how to lead it, day by day.

You wake up each morning, put both feet on the floor and know what you’re about to do and why it matters.

Each day holds possibilities for learning, volunteering, doing good work in the world.

You live with gratitude for each day, for the life you have been given and for the simple pleasures of a good cup of coffee and good conversation.

You are a wise, great person, but your greatness is not just in the number of years lived, but in the abundance and enthusiasm with which you have chosen to live these years.

You have embodied an obligation to bear witness to the history you lived and to pass it forward — l’dor va’dor — “from one generation to the next”.

Louise and Walter Sommers share a moment during Walter’s 96th birthday party at Westminster Village.

You have chosen optimism over pessimism, hope over fear.

You have embodied an obligation to bear witness to the history you lived and to pass it forward — l’dor va’dor — “from one generation to the next”, and you believe in the commandment of tikkun olam — to repair the world.

In your abundant good deeds, in your volunteering and in serving your community, you have shown us what is possible within a long, meaningful life.

For all these gifts of goodness, we say, thank you!

With all my love, your daughter, Nancy

Watch: Nancy Sommers interviews her father Walter Sommers

Nancy Sommers interviewed her father, Walter, on May 21, 2016, at Westminster Village in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Walter appears here with his wife, Louise, and recalls their wedding on “a cold, snowy day”, March 30, 1947.

Please watch, share and comment!

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