A memorial service for Jim Somppi will be held this Saturday, March 19th, at 2:00 at Zion Lutheran Church to remember and rejoice in the gift of everlasting life that God has given him through the love and victory of Jesus Christ.
James Robert Allen Somppi, 94, died at his home in El Paso, TX on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Born in Conneaut, OH on June 23, 1921 to Finnish immigrants, Lempi Ahlberg and James E. Somppi, Jim moved to West Springfield, PA where he graduated from high school and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. During World War II he served as a top turret gunman on a B-25 in China. On December 20, 1943, he married Betty Jobes, who was also serving in the Army. They did not see each other again for two years. Jim continued to serve in the Air Force, receiving a direct commission during the Korean War. The last fifteen years of his service, he was an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Officer.
Retiring from the Air Force in 1966, Jim and Betty moved to Brownsville, TX. Jim was a skilled woodworker and mechanic, who could make or fix anything. Developing a line of handcrafted wooden articles, Jim and Betty took their wares to craft shows in Texas and New Mexico. They travelled extensively around the United States and world, revisiting many places they had served in the military. In 1994, they moved to Las Cruces, NM to be closer to family, and in 2014 to El Paso, TX. He was a member of Zion Lutheran Church.
Jim is survived by his wife of 72 years, Betty, and his children: Sharon Amastae (Jon Amastae, El Paso, TX), Susan Sparling (Eric Sparling, Atascadero, CA), Stacey Somppi (Jerry Lott, Ellijay, GA), and Nancy Camara (Nantucket, MA). His six grandchildren are Laura Kirkland (Dave Kirkland, Vista, CA), David Amastae (Dallas, TX), Estus Lott (Las Cruces, NM), Lauren Somppi (Patrick Burns, Atascadero, CA), Dylan Sparling (Atascadero, CA) and Alexis Sparling (Atascadero, CA). He had one great grandchild, Pilar Kirkland (Vista, CA). He was predeceased by his sister, Jean Somppi Thomas (Avon Lake, OH).
Jim willed his body to the Texas Tech Medical School. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.