Gail Sandra Sowle Somerville, 82, of Portage, Mich., died August 11, 2021, at Alamo Nursing Home in Kalamazoo after a battle with Alzheimer’s.
Gail was born in 1939 in Ithaca, Mich., to Leland and Leola Sowle. She spent her early years on the family farm and had fond memories of that time. An outstanding student, Gail graduated as valedictorian of the Ithaca High School class of 1957.
After graduating, she married William Somerville and accompanied him to Michigan State Police posts around the state as she raised five children. They divorced in 1981. She married Jim Arbuthnot in 2006; he died in 2016.
Along with raising her five children, Gail worked hard at various jobs. She had office management positions with mobile home and RV manufacturers. In the 1980s she was hired at First of America Bank (later National City and now PNC) and achieved the position of Corporate Travel Manager.
Gail was a community theater actress for many years in towns including Cadillac, Flint, Paw Paw and Three Rivers. After moving to the Kalamazoo area, she loved acting at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, especially her roles as Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! and a Pick-a-Little Lady in The Music Man. For several years she helped raise money as a loaned executive with the Greater Kalamazoo United Way’s annual fundraising campaign.
After retiring, Gail spent time volunteering in the office and as an usher at the Kalamazoo Civic. She was also known for providing home-baked goods to friends and neighbors. Her fellow residents at Crossroads Village Apartments in Portage were grateful for her contributions to the bake sales and were always glad to taste-test her new recipes.
Gail loved both local and national news and the television show Jeopardy; she was also a lifelong fan of the Detroit Tigers. She enjoyed cooking and loved the color red in clothes, flowers and cars. She had a smile for everyone throughout her life.
Gail is survived by her children Lee Ann (Michael) Simpson of Omaha, Neb., Terry (Laura) Somerville of New Braunfels, Texas, Chris (Tricia) Somerville of Lawton, Mich., and Anne-Marie Somerville of Lexington, N.C. Also surviving are her sister, Karen Cook of Traverse City, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son Donald.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.
While visiting Gail's tribute page please take a moment to light a candle or share a memory with the family. The Somerville family is being assisted by Avink Funeral Home and Cremation Society, 5975 Lovers Ln., Portage, MI 49002. (269)344-5600.