Roselle Sommer, Leading Activist in Jewish Affairs, Dies of Cancer


Roselle L. Sommer, a leading local activist in Jewish affairs, died Monday at her Long Beach home after a long battle with cancer. She was 70.

Sommer earned distinction as the first woman president of the Long Beach Jewish Community Center, the Greater Long Beach/West Orange County Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation Foundation.

She received the prestigious Humanitarian Award in 1979 from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, of which she was a board member. Sommer also received the President’s Founders Award from the Long Beach Jewish Community Center and the Prime Minister of Israel’s Award for Israel Bonds.

Her service in community affairs brought her appointments to the boards of directors of the United Way of Long Beach and the Los Alamitos Medical Center, Hospital and Cancer Hospice.


Most recently, Sommer served as chairwoman of “New” Jewish Community Campus, which will soon break ground on the current site of the Jewish Community Building in Long Beach.

Jean Blakey, president of the Greater Long Beach/West Orange County Jewish Federation, said Sommer’s death “will be a great loss to the community. Seldom does one find a person of her capabilities who is so generous of her time and means. She always put the needs of the community ahead of her own.”

Born Roselle Lipman in Chicago on Sept. 6, 1921, she moved with her husband, Herbert A. Sommer, to California in 1950. He died last December.

Sommer worked as a real estate broker and developer in Los Alamitos.


She is survived by two daughters, Netta Roberts of Long Beach and Helene Crandall of Auburn, Calif.; her mother, Belle Lipman of Long Beach; her sister Toni Karoll of Chicago; and four grandchildren.

Services will be at Hillside Memorial Park today at 11 a.m. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers,donations be made to “New” Jewish Community Campus, 3801 E. Willow St., Long Beach, 90815.