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Published Thursday, January 21, 2016

One Hundred Years Young

By Amy Forman

Monroe Somer, in front of some of the many paintings that he created

It is likely that Monroe Somer will spend some time on his 100th birthday on February 2 at the piano and singing, as he does most days. He also plans to have lunch, fittingly, at the Century House with his companion, Veann Campbell (last year, the couple enjoyed lunch at the 99 Restaurant).

The spry centenarian cherishes his full schedule of activities, and Veann sometimes feels like his agent as they drive around the North Shore for chair exercise at the JCC, for practice and performances with the North Shore Songsters Choir and the Peabody Senior Center’s “Forever Young” Chorus, and for weekly services at Congregation Shirat Hayam.

His advice? “Take care of yourself – don’t smoke, don’t drink. Live a good life.”

Somer’s life well-lived is evidenced throughout his Swampscott apartment, as he proudly shows off family photos, the artwork he painted, and his piano-playing ability. His favorite music is jazz, but he enjoys all kinds of songs. He was an avid photographer and created paintings from his photographs over many years.

Somer, who turns 100 years-old on February 2, plays the piano daily.

Born in 1916 in Newark, N.J., Monroe served state-side in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. He graduated from law school, but did not like practicing law. He went on to run a floor covering store in West Haven, Conn., and later invested in commercial real estate. He was married for 63 years to Helen (Lebau) Somer, and they had two children, Margaret Somer of Swampscott and the late Suzie Somer. He has two grandchildren, Rachel DelaCroce of Peaobdy and Becky Aldeus of Arlington, and two great-grandchildren, 12-year old twins Nicholas and Jacob DelaCroce.

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