Longtime New Castle pediatrician Dr. James P. Sommerfeld, of Neshannock Township, passed away the afternoon of June 28, 2013, at Jameson Hospital. He was 86.
Born Sept. 25, 1926, in Pittsburgh, he was a son of the late Frank and Helen Piatt Sommerfeld.
He was married to Lucille Pagley Sommerfeld, who preceded him in death on March 3, 1999.
Dr. Sommerfeld was a graduate of Mount Lebanon High School, where he was a member of the basketball and track teams. He went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in pre-med from Penn State University, completing the four-year course in just three years. He graduated from Hahnemann Medical College in 1951, and passed his National Boards of Medicine the same year. He served a one-year medical internship at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh in 1952. Dr. Sommerfeld also graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine, and was in residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia General Hospital and Contagious Disease Hospital.
He established his practice in New Castle in 1956. At age 17, he served a short stint in the Navy during World War II. Later, he served as a medical doctor in the Air Force during the Korean War, from July 1952 through July 1954, with the rank of captain. He was stationed in Japan for two years. He received the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Dr. Sommerfeld was a member of the New Castle Country Club, the Eintracht Singing Society and Challenges. He was a past member of the St. Clair Country Club in Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Athletic Association. He belonged to Northminster Presbyterian Church.
While president of the medical staff of Jameson Hospital, Dr. Sommerfeld was instrumental in obtaining full-time ER doctors in the emergency department. He also started the first well-baby clinic in New Castle in the 1970s and served as physician for a free clinic for the Amish in New Wilmington.
He was a board member of PARC, past president of the medical staff at St. Francis Hospital and an emeritus member of the advisory board of Penn State University’s Shenango campus. Medical director of Jameson Medical Services Inc. for seven years, Dr. Sommerfeld also was a medical doctor for the Youth Development Center in Shenango Township for seven years and a physician for the Union Area School District, where he was the football team physician for many years. He was certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, and later was recertified on a voluntary basis. He was an emeritus member of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as an emeritus fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (F.A.A.P.)
Dr. Sommerfeld is survived by three daughters and two sons-in-law, Lisa and Steve Oyler of Omaha, Neb., Lynn Sommerfeld of Bend, Ore., and Sandy and Michael Gianetti of Bend, Ore; three sons and daughters-in-law, James P. and Linda Sommerfeld Jr. of Sharpsville, Kurt and Maria Sommerfeld of New Castle and Erik and Tracy Sommerfeld of Chuluota, Fla.; one brother, John “Jack” Sommerfeld of West Virginia; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
In addition to his parents and his wife, Lucille, he was preceded in death by a son, Karl Sommerfeld; and two brothers, Frank and Richard Sommerfeld.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Pediatric Department or the Intensive Care Unit of Jameson Hospital, 1211 Wilmington Ave., New Castle, 16105.
Calling hours: 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday (7-2-13) at the R. CUNNINGHAM FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY Inc., 2429 Wilmington Road, New Castle. Condolences may be offered at www.cunninghamfh.com.
Service: 11 a.m. Wednesday (7-3-13) at the funeral home, with the Rev. Andrew Jillson, of Northminster Presbyterian Church officiating.
Burial: Castle View Gardens