The Passing of Mayor Pat Somerville

Pat Somerville, former Mayor of Rochester Hills, dies at age 80

Pat Somerville raised show dogs and ran a dog grooming business before getting into politics. She and her late husband Ken moved from Detroit to Rochester Hills in the late 1960s. Local neighborhood issues led Somerville to attend city council meetings, become a council member and eventually became the Mayor of Rochester Hills. She “cared about the people and the city” said her daughter, Autumn VanHollebeke, on Monday from the Florida airport where she waited for her flight to transport Pat back to Rochester. Pat died in her sleep on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

VanHollenbeke says her mother was a “grassroots mayor” and the “residents’ representative.” It was “not about the position or the glamour” of being mayor. Sunday, March 1, would have been her parent’s 65thwedding anniversary and Autumn believes Pat waited for that day to come. VanHollenbeke says she is “very sad.”

“Just Pat” is how friend Suzanne White describes Somerville. White first met Pat when she was an at large council member and responded to a letter Suzanne had written by showing up at her door to discuss the issue of a cell tower going up close to white’s home. Sue and Pat walked the area for two hours. White said Somerville was a “wonderful human being” and “if you didn’t know Pat, you truly missed out.”

Somerville’s Campaign Manager, Linda Davis-Kirksey, worked with Pat to win two successful bids for Mayor of Rochester Hills. Davis-Kirksey said Pat was one of the “greatest influences in my life” and “She would be a good definition to what today’s politicians should be.” Linda went on to say Somerville “never forgot her beginnings and never forget the residents. She changed my life in so many ways. I will miss her very much.”

Pat Somerville recruited Suzanne White and Linda Davis-Kirksey in 1999 to help her become mayor. Key to her victories were door-to-door efforts and listening to residents. By all accounts, that was just how Pat did things. Somerville stepped down as mayor in her second term due to health issues. Council member, Bryan Barnett, was appointed to finish her term and was elected Mayor in 2007. Barnett, now in his second term, remembers Somerville as a “tireless advocate” and “always did her best to represent the resident.”

Patricia Anne Somerville served as Mayor of Rochester Hills from 1999 to 2006. She is survived by four children: David, Deborah, Clifford and Autumn; and six grandchildren: April, Heather, Patrick, Kim, Holly and Philip. Her grandson, Patrick Somerville is currently serving in the Michigan House of Representatives for District 23 in Wayne County.

Photos are courtesy of The Oakland Press.

Birth date: April 25, 1932
Death date: March 2, 2013

Hospice of Marion County
3231 SW 34th Ave.
Ocala, FL 34474

Veteran’s Memorial Pointe
P.O. Box 80431
Rochester, MI 48308-0431

2:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Friday, March 8, 2013 at Potere-Modetz Funeral Home 339 Walnut Boulevard Rochester MI 48307
11:00 am on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church – Rochester 620 Romeo Road Rochester MI 48307
Instate at 10:00 am

Van Hoosen Jones Cemetery 570 E. Tienken (at Sheldon Road) Rochester Hills MI 48307

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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