By Cindy Kuang
Frank Graham Sommer, professor emeritus of radiology at Stanford’s School of Medicine, died in his home on Stanford campus from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on Oct. 2 at the age of 70. He was an expert in the field of diagnostic radiology, and is remembered not only as a distinguished physician, but also as a genial colleague at the medical school’s department of radiology.
Sommer was born in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1946. After earning a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Victoria and a medical degree from McGill University in Montreal, Sommer did his residency at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center starting in 1977. He joined the faculty at Stanford in 1979.
Sommer’s interests in radiology were diverse, and he humorously characterized himself as a “Renaissance radiologist.” He studied and promoted improved imaging techniques, and is best known for his work on ultrasound and imaging blood flow in the kidneys. He received the Academy of Radiology Research’s Distinguished Investigator Award for his work this year.
Sommer was also an accomplished pianist, and often performed for audiences at Filoli, an estate in Woodside that’s open to the public, and at restaurants and senior centers. In addition to music, Sommer also enjoyed biking, skiing and windsurfing, as well as playing tennis, golf, racquetball and squash.
Sommer is survived by his wife, Denise Leclair, and a sister, Anne Axford of West Vancouver, British Columbia. His memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday Oct. 28 at Alta Mesa Funeral Home in Palo Alto.
Contact Cindy Kuang at ckuang ‘at’ stanford.edu.