By KRIS REILLY
APPLE VALLEY -- Lucerne Valley Market and Hardware president Ernie Gommel died Saturday night due to complications from a bladder infection, his daughter said. He was 91.
As recently as August, Gommel was still working long hours in the store he oversaw for 37 years. Gommel first opened the market in 1975 and moved it to its current location in 1983.
Gommel was president and CEO of Hitchin Lucerne, Inc., which owns the Crossroads Center near the corner of Highway 18 and Crystal Creek Road. The center houses the market, a coin-operated laundry, First Mountain Bank and Trimmers Hair Salon. He was a founding member of the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association.
Longtime employee Mary Thomas has been managing the store in Gommel's absence. Gommel's daughter, Linda, said that Hitchin Lucerne's board of directors would select a new president and CEO sometime in the next few weeks.
She said her father developed a bladder infection in late July, and the infection did not respond to antibiotic treatment. He was too weak for surgery and was placed in Apple Valley Christian Care Center, where he died at about 7 p.m. Saturday.
Linda Gommel said there will be no funeral service, per her father’s wishes. In lieu of flowers, she asks that donations be sent to Apple Valley Christian Care Center at 11959 Apple Valley Road, Apple Valley, CA 92308 or the local Visiting Nurse Association at 12421 Hesperia Road, Victorville, CA 92395. Read Wednesday’s print edition of The Leader for further details.