It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dustin Keith Somers on July 9th, 2022. In 2007 Dustin was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fifteen years later, after many years of chemo, two rounds of radiation, and three brain surgeries, he had a stroke while in the hospital and did not recover. He passed away in the same hospital he was born in 51 years earlier on December 3, 1970. Dustin was a native of Covington and a resident of Slidell since 2015.
Dustin, son of Linda Marie Mathews and the late John David Somers, Jr., is survived by his sister Jennifer Lynn Somers, nephews Austin Michael Siravo, Sean Bradly Siravo (wife Julia), great-niece Jane Florence Siravo, maternal grandmother Marion Usey Mathews, aunts Kathleen Mathews Gaudet (Burke), Kellie Mathews Robertson (Allen), Darcia Somers Compton (Steve), cousins Francine Mathews Oynes, Ramsey Mathews Street, Krystle Mathews Rolfe, Cassidy Gaudet Dickinson, Lexi Gaudet Davison, Amy Gaudet, Jamie Percle Owens, Katie Compton Smith, Steven Compton, and many loved first cousins-once removed.
He is preceded in death by his father, John David Somers, Jr., paternal grandfather, John David Somers, Sr., paternal grandmother Julia Atkisson Somers, maternal grandfather, Harry Samuel Mathews, Jr., cousins, Chancellor Paul Gaudet and Kurt Joseph Chiasson, his aunt Julie Beth (DeeDee) Somers Runyon, and his uncle, Ronald Emile Mathews.
As a child, Dustin read encyclopedias for fun, and remembered virtually everything he read. His quest for reading and knowledge was lifelong. He was a walking, talking encyclopedia of sorts. He could quote something about nearly everything. He used to joke about it and say he knew a useless bunch of garbage, but he could converse with anyone on just about any topic.
When Dustin was six years old, we brought him to the King Tut exhibit at NOMA. It made a huge impression on him, and he had a lifelong love of and curiosity about Egypt, ancient history, ancient knowledge, and current theories. He read many books about these things and YouTube was always tuned in to a video on one of these subjects.
In his teen years most of his friends played instruments or sang in their own bands, and music was a passion and a way of life for him. Although not a fan of mainstream pop, rap and country, Dustin appreciated many genres of music, with an affinity for heavy metal, rock and jazz. He had an eclectic library of music, from one of his very first favorites, Judas Priest, to more recent favorites, The White Stripes and Wolfmother, as well as some 70’s music like Pink Floyd and The Doors, and as any true native to New Orleans, traditional New Orleans Jazz called to his heart and soul.
Dustin was a professional painter in Thibodaux, Houma, and New Orleans, Louisiana, and in San Antonio, Texas. He painted many historic homes and buildings including Sacred Heart Academy in New Orleans. He worked many nights pressure-washing parking lots, and the buildings in Lakeside Shopping Center. He also worked for McDermott in the shipyard in Morgan City. Dustin’s pride and joy favorite job though, was working for Air It Up as an HVAC technician. Dustin was Air It Up’s first employee and he and the owner became close friends. Unfortunately, to the dismay of Dustin and the owner, after having a seizure on the job, he was diagnosed with his brain tumor and could no longer work for the company. That would be his last full-time job. His final job was part-time work at with Rainbow Luxury Motors in Covington, photographing vehicles for online sales and advertisements.
Dustin always loved art and had the very distinct privilege of being taught by Larry Casso. He loved being a part of that atmosphere with other amazing artists, some of whom had been meeting in class for forty or more years. Dustin had great admiration for Larry, who was a fantastic artist and teacher. Larry passed away a couple of years ago. I like to think they are both in heaven, along with other artists in the family, Dustin’s father, grandmother, and great-grandmother, painting the skies, birds, flowers, insects, and all the amazingly beautiful things we see in this world every day, if we choose to look closely enough.
Dustin loved children and children loved him. One of my fondest memories is of us sitting on a swing in his cousin’s backyard talking to her, while her daughters decorated him with flowers. He just sat there patiently, loving every minute of it.
Since October he resided at Forest Manor nursing home and spent much of his time in the hospital. He touched many lives with his quick wit and sweet personality and was loved by everyone who took care of him. It was said he was a source of entertainment at the nursing home, and he loved to joke around with the nurses and assistants at both the hospital and the nursing home.
Dustin was braver than anyone I’ve ever known, and in the 15 years of his hard-fought battle against brain cancer, and all the trials and tribulations that came with his diagnosis, he never once complained. He was an inspiration to so many people. Many noticed his resilience. He would fight back from one life-threatening challenge and courageously move on to the next. In the year and a half since his last surgery, the challenges came closer together and harder to bounce back from, but Dustin, by nature, rolled with the punches. His final challenge came in the form of a stroke while in the hospital. This proved to be too much to bounce back from. We are proud of his strength and resiliency. We are proud of his fight to the end and his ability to adapt and find the silver lining. We are so proud of Dustin, and we will miss him dearly, but we are also happy to know that he is finally at peace.
God rest you, Dustin. Your spirit will be kept alive in our hearts and minds to the end of time.