Jim Somerset

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jim Somerset, 79, passed away at his home in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida on Thursday, March 3, 2011. His final days were spent surrounded by close family and friends. Jim was born on May 12, 1931 in Troy, Alabama to Mary Crowe and James Alfred Somerset.

Jim’s life was filled with pursuits that challenged his insatiable intellectual curiosity, satisfied his love for his close family, and offered him endless ways to find humor in life’s daily events.

He was the valedictorian of the Troy High School Class of 1949, and then he served with the Army in Korea, where his short-wave radio skills were put to good use in the Artillery Signal Corps. Returning home, he and his brother enrolled in Auburn University. Together they built a two-seater airplane from parts, finished it in a barn in Troy, and then flew it back and forth to classes at Auburn. A favorite family story recounts the time he parachuted a new pair of high-heeled shoes from the plane into the waiting arms of his new bride, Sandy.

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Jim earned his Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn University in 1956. After moving to Fort Walton Beach, he achieved a long and successful career in the high-tech military contracting industry, working on projects ranging from the Eglin Climatic Laboratory testing fighter jets, to designing underwater submarine detection systems for the Navy. He rose to the position of Chief Engineer and Vice President of Metric Systems, Inc., then went on with others to form DataCom Corporation as Vice President. Jim retired in 1995.

Jim inspired in those close to him a love of family and country, a rock-solid work ethic, an appreciation of the outdoors, and a zest for life. His post-retirement days were spent traveling with Sandy, cheering the Auburn Tigers to victory, and laughing with his children and grandchildren at every opportunity. He will be missed more than any words can express.

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Sandra Carter Somerset; his son, Carter Bruce Somerset (Glenda); his three daughters, Stephanie Ruth Somerset (William Gavin), Patricia Somerset Dalton (Samuel), Nancy Somerset Norris (Tim); his six granddaughters, Samantha Somerset Dalton, Carly Renee Somerset, Alexandra Diane Dalton, Calli Marina Norris, Hannah Noel Norris, and Piper Leigh Norris; and by his brother, Robert Donald Somerset; and his sister, Mary Jo Nelson.

A service will be held at 2:00pm on March 12, 2011 at the Pleasant Hill Primitive Baptist Church in Troy, Alabama. There will be a Celebration of Life gathering immediately afterward at the Troy Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jim’s name to the Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

To share memories, express condolences and sign the guestbook please visit www.daviswatkins.com.