Summer Elyse (Sorum) Schmitz

Published 1:29 pm Friday, September 24, 2021

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Summer Elyse (Sorum) Schmitz 1984 – 2021

Shared memories of my daughter, Summer Elyse (Sorum) Schmitz, with much love for her children; Finley Joy, Griffin Keller, and Zander Crew Schmitz. ~Grandma Barb Sorum

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Dear Finley, Griffin and Zander,

Your mama was a blessing and a true gift from God. Summer Elyse was born on Friday, November 9, 1984 at 2:29 am to Barbara (Roberts) and Douglas Neste at Naeve Hospital, Albert Lea, Minnesota, with bright blonde hair and hazel eyes. She was baptized wearing her mother’s baptismal gown on December 30, 1984, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. Her sponsors included James and Deb Pilgrim of Albert Lea and JoAnn Shannon of Ocala, FL. Summer was confirmed in faith on April 30, 2000 at Round Prairie Lutheran Church in rural Glenville, MN, by Pastor Kent Otterman.

Summer attended Glenville Elementary and graduated from Albert Lea High school in 2003. She was active in softball, volleyball, played saxophone in the high school band, and sang in the choir. She studied the piano with Julie Stoneking from age 6 and used her talents with the Grace Christian Church Praise and Worship team. Summer enjoyed attending youth bible camps at Lake Geneva Christian Center (later becoming a senior teen counselor) and studied Spanish for three years at Concordia Language Villages in Moorhead, MN. She was a member of the Freeman Township 4-H Club where she submitted projects in creative arts, vegetable gardening, photography, and showed Holsteins, chickens, and her rabbit was even awarded Grand Champion one year. Summer had a particular love of all animals (well, maybe not centipedes!), and was especially fond of kittens, horses, and dogs growing up. We tried hamsters and guinea pigs but that never stuck. Your mom was always very creative and liked trying new things. This was mostly demonstrated through church programs/plays/skits, her fashion, interior design, drawings, and her passion for music. She would play the piano and sing for hours when no one else was around. She also enjoyed photography, coaxing her nieces and nephews to let her do photoshoots with them, and considered making photography a career choice.

Summer was very aware of how much of an introvert she was, avoiding crowds and people getting a little too close. She loved helping people, but also needed her space to re-energize by herself, alone in the quiet. She read all the time and could only sleep if the room was completely darkened, covering even the smallest sliver of light. That said, Summer also thrived on helping others and participating in mission trips through the church; twice to Reynosa Mexico performing children’s street ministry with the Albert Lea Assembly of God Church, and offered praise/worship music ministry in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Greece, and UK with the Albert Lea Grace Christian Church. She also provided meal service for the homeless through the San Diego Food Bank, St. Louis Dream Center, and several times in the Minneapolis metro area. Summer proudly acknowledged her faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord with water baptism on May 20, 2001 at Assembly of God Church with Pastor Lee Freshour.

Your mom was tenacious, strong-willed, and proud. She was determined to continue learning and complete a degree in something. She just wasn’t sure what that would be and was happy to forge ahead trying different schools, such as Riverland Community College in Austin/Owatonna, North Central University in Minneapolis, and Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. Summer excelled when she was accepted into the two-year Young Adult Discipleship Program called Auxano Master’s Commission through the Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, graduating in June 2005. This experience challenged her emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, and physically, saying in the end that it was incredibly rewarding. Through the Word of Life Church, she assisted with the nursery, hospital ministry, music ministry and as the chapel pianist.

Summer experienced working a few different jobs (at DQ, as a barista, and jewelry counter assistant), but found her work as a Certified Nursing Assistant most fulfilling at the Albert Lea St. John’s Lutheran Assisted Living Community and the Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, MO where she could help others in need.

I love your mom so very much, and she loved her family deeply. Did I mention she was a bit quirky? She absolutely hated peas and gagged just thinking about them. And I already mentioned her severe aversion to centipedes! Summer joked about possibly having OCD because she liked things neat, clean and orderly, and she wanted others to want them that way too. She also wanted to be self-sufficient and appreciated that her brother Adam shared his carpentry skills, ideas on fixing things, and that he would draw very specific and detailed illustrations for her to follow. There were many things that she loved too, like the Backstreet Boys, P!nk, Bette Midler, and going to concerts. She enjoyed watching The Office way too many times, walking or biking around Fountain Lake, rope courses/zip-lining, watching Riverdance performances, the Starbucks drive-thru, and especially coffee runs with her brother Justin. Summer shared a special fondness for watching Hocus Pocus with her sisters Ashley and Faith, and basically doing any outdoor activity (kayaking, campfires, etc.). Her favorites also included Chinese food, Taco John’s potato olés, chicken over beef, salads, and again lots of ice cream. Summer was also partial to fall colors/earth tones and she liked daisies. We’re all going to miss doing all these things with her, hearing her laugh, making her goofy jokes, singing silly songs, and trying new accents.

In the spring of 2014, Summer met the love of her life when she connected with your dad, Jeffrey Schmitz, online. She developed a new glow and excitement about her. I was sad to see her move to Willmar but she was so excited to start this life-changing adventure and Jeff made her feel extremely happy and safe. He matched her strong will, quirky sense of humor, and excitement for our Lord. Through his love and support, your mom’s confidence and faith grew ever stronger. For the first time in her life, Summer was able to lower her protective walls and love who she truly was, and let her light shine! And it shined on everyone she met. After exploring a few different career choices, Summer worked as a health service technician in community services helping others in need.

Your mom and dad got married in a beautiful lakeside ceremony on Friday, September 1, 2017 at Stonewall Farms north of Willmar with Pastor Steve Zwart officiating. They loved sharing the start of their new life with so many of their family and friends. Summer had so much fun traveling and exploring with your dad to Hawaii, San Francisco, and San Diego, but their favorite get-away spot was always camping on Lake Superior’s north shore where they were a bit isolated and enjoyed being completely surrounded by nature. On Friday, June 21, 2019 they welcomed you Finley Joy, and an entirely new adventure started. Soon to follow they happily welcomed you both, Griffin Keller and Zander Crew, born Sunday, August 15, 2021. Summer loved being a mom and you all brought her incredible joy and pride.

Summer was able to fulfill her life-long dream of completing her education with a degree in social work, graduating from St. Cloud State University on Friday, May 7, 2021. She was always open and honest and shared her own struggles with depression, self-esteem, confidence, and personal growth. She was able to overcome so much adversity in her life and ultimately brought so much joy and light to others. Since September 2nd, people have continued to share how much they admired her; her bravery, honesty, quirkiness, humor, and unwavering faith. Her smile was contagious. People were drawn to her kindness and incredibly bright spirit. Summer was fun. She could justify every purchase (big or small) and talk you into just about anything. She was always eager to learn. Summer’s love was strong, and she shared that love with everyone. She was so, so proud to be your mom and loved you all with everything she had. I love her with my entire heart and soul and I’m incredibly grateful and blessed to have known her, to have shared in her life, and to have been loved so unconditionally by her. I will miss her with every breath.

I love you with all my heart and soul, and look forward to sharing so much more with you about your mama. Grandma Barb ———————————————–

On Thursday, September 2, 2021, Summer Elyse Sorum Schmitz died at St. Cloud Hospital from complications of a massive hemorrhagic stroke after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) on August 15, 2021. She leaves behind her loving husband, Jeffrey Schmitz; beautiful children, 2-year-old Finley Joy, infant twins Griffin Keller & Zander Crew; mother, Barb Sorum of Albert Lea; bonus dad, Russell Sorum of Albert Lea; Siblings, Justin Sorum of Royal Oak, MI, Adam Sorum of Albert Lea, Ashley (Jade) Riskedahl of Hartland, MN, Faith Sorum of Albert Lea, and half-brother Mason Neste of Albert Lea; nieces and nephews, Ian, Dylan, Avary, & Grace Riskedahl, Alexis & Decker Sorum; grandfather, Paul Sorum of Glenville. Jeff’s parents, Ron and Bette Schmitz; brother- & sister-in-law, Mark & Richelle Schmitz of Bloomington; aunts/uncles, LeAnn Fynbo of Owatonna, Lynette Westre of Spicer, Suzy Webster of Waldorf, Judy Kelling of Mankato, Mark & Lynda Neste of Waseca, Bill & Polly Apold of Austin, Luke Neste of Waseca, Gus & Elaine Wabbel of Pahrump, NV and Terry & Ellen Lewis of Glenville; Summer’s dearest friend, Anna (Derek) Auth and their son August of Willmar, as well as so many loving family and friends; including the family dog, Barkley.

Summer is preceded in death by her father Doug Neste; grandparents, Ardus Roberts of Albert Lea, Walter Roberts of Squaw Lake, MN, Palmer & Leota Neste of Waseca, Nancy Sorum of Glenville; uncles David Roberts of Glenville, Lane Westre of Willmar, and James Webster of Waldorf.