Cover photo for Deborah Sommerfeldt's Obituary
Deborah Sommerfeldt Profile Photo
1954 Deborah 2023

Deborah Sommerfeldt

December 13, 1954 — July 9, 2023



Deborah Sommerfeldt, beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, teacher, dog lover and friend, passed away unexpectedly at her home on July 9, 2023 at the age of 68 years old. 

Deb was born on December 13, 1954, to the late Arnold & Phyllis Vocke (Ames) in Dubuque, Iowa. Growing up Deb loved to play the piano, sing in the church choir, and participate in church activities. She attended Rhinelander High School and it was there that she met the love of her life, Joel Sommerfeldt. At 15 years old, they became high school sweethearts and best friends. Joel was her rock and Deb was the light of his life. She graduated from high school in 1973.

She joined Joel at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where she studied elementary education and music. Joel and Deb were married and started their family in 1975. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Luther and later earned her Masters in Education from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Deb and Joel lived in Brookings, South Dakota; Huxley, Iowa; and Murray, Kentucky, before settling in their lifelong home just north of Wausau, Wisconsin in 1987. Deb and Joel were married for more than 45 years and together for over 50 until he passed in 2021.

Deb worked as a teacher and educator for over 40 years. She found her final classroom home at G.D. Jones school in Wausau teaching Kindergarten. She was nurturing, a mentor, and always striving to help others in any way she could.  

Deb’s love for dogs started as a child and they were her passion. Deb raised, bred, and trained flat-coated retrievers and miniature poodles for the past 35 years. She created a legacy, with her Maplecreek Kennel name, selectively breeding her dogs that birthed many breed champions with obedience and agility titles. In 2006, Deb opened the Maplecreek Dog Training Center. Deb gave back to the community with her classes and individual training sessions, as well as local 4-H clubs. She was well known and well loved by both the dogs and their people. 

Deb was kind, generous, patient, mindful, and faithful. Her faith and love for her family were unwavering. She appreciated God’s creations and the beauty of nature around her. Deb had a green thumb and loved to stay busy and active; her internal motor never stopped. She was a collector and loved shopping, finding a unique memory in every treasure she found. 

Deb is survived by her children, Benjamin (Julia) Sommerfeldt and Joelle (Adam) Steiner; grandchildren, Isabella, Joseph, and Breanna; Her sister Celeste (Greg) Steiner and brothers John (Julie) Vocke and Gernert P. Ames. Deb is further survived by several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her stepfather, Gernert F. Ames, and son-in-law, Adam.

She will be missed dearly, but we know her spirit is at peace surrounded by her beloved animals and soulmate. 

Deb’s Celebration of Life will take place Saturday, July 15th from Noon until 3pm at Maplecreek Dog Training Center (14788 Black Bear Way, Merrill, WI 54452).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Deborah Sommerfeldt, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 15, 2023

12:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Maplecreek Dog Training Center

14788 Black Bear Way, Merrill, WI 54452

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