Dr. Lee H. Somers passed away on New Year’s Day 2015 in Flagstaff, Arizona. Somers was the driving force of many of Michigan Sea Grant’s early water safety education efforts. His expertise was in SCUBA diving, and he served as a Michigan Sea Grant specialist in diver education, diving technology and aquatic accident management. He was also University of Michigan faculty for 30 years, teaching oceanography, scuba diving and diving technology, while serving as the university’s Diving Safety Officer.
Somers was prominent and well respected in the field. Among other accomplishments, he was Sea Grant’s lead researcher for Lake Lab (1970 in Grand Traverse Bay), authored the Research Diver’s Manual that has been used worldwide, wrote a popular Diver Education Series in the 1980s, made advances in multi-level dive tables after bringing a hyperbaric chamber to U-M, and helped found and served as the first president of the American Academy of Underwater Scientists. He also worked with Dr. Martin Nemiroff (University of Michigan pulmonary specialist and diving medicine expert) on the famous cold water near-drowning research and outreach Michigan Sea Grant spearheaded during the late 1970s.
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