Nikki Sommers, 33, peacefully passed away on August 4, 2017 after a long battle with head/neck cancer.
Nikki first found cancer on her tongue in 2010, which was successfully removed. Nikki, family, and friends were devastated when cancer reappeared on her gums in the spring of 2015. Nikki was determined to beat it. She bravely fought and tried every treatment, including several surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy. Sadly, despite these measures, the cancer metastasized to her lungs and continued to progress.
Nikki was born on November 7, 1983 in Winona, MN to Dale and Susan (Mueller) Sommers. Nikki attended Lewiston public schools where she competed on the Cross Country and Track & Field teams. She continued running throughout her life, which was a big inspiration to her family members.
After high school, Nikki graduated from U of MN-Twin Cities with a Psychology degree (2006) and Hamline University School of Law (2010). While working as a student attorney at Legal Aid, Nikki found that her passion was to help people, specifically with immigration matters.
Nikki worked tirelessly to construct a good life for herself and took pride in helping others. In 2007, she biked 1,100 miles and also ran a marathon in Finland to raise money for a local non-profit Bolder Options. Even with her full-time job with CPA Global (and later KPMG), Nikki volunteered her time welcoming immigrant families to MN (this included greeting at airport, helping settle into apartments, and integrating into society), serving on a board at a new startup high school in Minneapolis, and tutoring children in an afterschool program. Nikki was passionate about working with children with the Somali American Parent Association where she made a tight bond with two of her students named Ikram and Intisar. Nikki loved creating curriculum and finding creative ways to engage students with reading/writing/math. She also loved learning about the Somali culture and language. She continued tutoring until late 2016 when the cancer affected her ability to speak.
Nikki continued to strive to help others even while battling the side effects of chemo. Admirably, Nikki took classes and became a certified foster parent in 2016. Her dream was to bring children into her home and eventually create a family through adoption. Her focus was to help children today, and perhaps get married someday.
The cancer stripped Nikki from everything she loved - learning languages (Spanish, Somali, Arabic), eating great food with friends & family, exercising, tutoring children, renovating her new home, trying new recipes... Nikki had so many commitments and passions that we cannot include it all here. She had so much left to do, and so much left to give. She will be missed dearly.
Nikki is survived by her parents, Dale and Susan of Lewiston; brother, Corde of La Crosse, WI; sister Angie of Minneapolis; maternal grandparents, Clarence and Mary (Kryzer) Mueller of Fremont, MN; and many close friends, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her three rescue dogs will be adopted by her immediate family. She was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Donald and Catherine (Bernhardt) and her beloved pug, Ali.
All are welcome to attend and celebrate Nikki's life at one or both of the following events. Visitation from 5-8 p.m., Saturday, August 12, 2017 with a Memorial Service at 6 p.m., at Hoff Funeral Home, 519 St. Martin Ave., St. Charles, MN 55972. Visitation 5-8 p.m., Friday, August 18, 2017 at the Cremation Society of MN, 4343 Nicollet Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55409.
A portion of the memorial will be used to establish an annual grant that will be given to immigrant families with children in the Minneapolis area. We want to continue the work that Nikki loved. You may also contribute on Nikki's fundraising site: www.youcaring.com/NewGoalForNikki. Please share a memory of Nikki and sign her online guestbook at www.hofffuneral.com. Hoff Funeral and Cremation Service, St. Charles, is assisting the family.
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We remember Nikki well running with are kids sorry for your lost Dale Jeanne Dick
My deepest condolences and prayers to my old workmate and friend Sue and family
How sad---the loss of someone so beautiful, talented and compassionate. My sympathy.
We are so very sorry for your loss. Our deepest sympathy to all of her family.
Jeff and Denise Griffin
Nikki was an amazing person who gave so much to her community. I got to know her at CPA Global where I sat next to her for several months, eyeing on the same projects. We talked about some similar professional and personal interests we had. I was amazed at her commitment to her students and the immigrant community. And I admired her motivation and confidence in all the things she did - meeting new people to learn new languages, trying new restaurants and foods, all the work she put into her house. She was very determined and I was so sure that if anyone could beat cancer, it was Nikki. I am a better person for having met Nikki. I send my deepest condolences to her family and friends.
So very sorry to hear about Nikki. We're sure this loss has to hurt so deeply. You can be very proud of all the things Nikki accomplished in her short life as well as all the love she gave to so many. I'm sure she would be proud to know that you plan to help others in her name. Hugs and prayers to your family
We are so very saddened by your loss of Nikki. She was a beautiful person, inside and out and will be missed by many. Tuck all your memories of her deep with your hearts and she will always be with you. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
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