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Amelia Muscato Sommer, pioneering lawyer; April, 13, 1925 -- June 14, 2012

Amelia Muscato Sommer, the first woman to practice law in Niagara County, died Thursday in Eastern Niagara Hospital.

She was born in Providence, R.I., and graduated from Lockport High School in 1942 and attended the Catholic University of America and Columbus School of Law.

She was a sole practitioner before all courts in New York State and the District of Columbia since 1959. She served as assistant Niagara County attorney in 1960, assistant public defender for Niagara County in 1974 and was an acting City Court judge in Lockport from 1988 to 1998. She also was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986.

Her professional memberships included: the State Bar Association, past director of the Niagara County Bar Association and past president of the Lockport Bar Association.

Her community involvement included past secretary of the Niagara County Republican Party, past secretary of the Lockport Republican Committee, past director of the Kenan Center, past president of the Lockport Women's Republican Club, past director of the Lockport Women's College Club, member of the Charter Committee Lockport, Business and Professional Women's Club, and past president of Briarwood Pool and Tennis Club.

She was selected by Coalition UAW-686 and the YWCA International Women's Decade for Outstanding Contribution to Law.

Mrs. Sommer is survived by a daughter, Francesca Sommer, and a son, Christopher M. Ninos. She was the widow of Joseph Sommer.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. John the Baptist Church, 168 Chestnut St., Lockport.

[EVANS]