Suzanne Somers was given one final present from her husband, Alan Hamel, before her funeral.
The Three’s Company actress died on 15 October, one day before her 77th birthday after living with breast cancer for 23 years. Hamel decided to bury his late wife in Timberland boots for the funeral.
“Suzanne never really had boots designed for hiking on the rocks, so I ordered the Timberland boots,” the 87-year-old recalled in an interview with People. “[I] made my gift personal by drawing on them in a few words that represented our life to some degree and made them very personal to Suzanne,” he added.
The television hosted explained that Somers had “every Manolo Blahnik ever made” and he could have laid her to rest in those, but it would “have been predictable but not very personal" to have Suzanne "wearing [Manolo Blahniks] for her final trip”.
He said the Timberlands held sentimental value for the two of them as they would go on hikes in the mornings, as they lived by the mountains in both Malibu and Palm Springs, that called for hiking shoes.
Their routine “always included hiking to the top of one of the mountains, where there was a creek and a large flat rock in the middle of the creek”.
“By the time we got there, which was about a two-hour hike, the rock had been warmed by the morning sun,” Hamel said. “We would have our lunch on the rock and then take a one-hour nap on the rock and then hike back down and go to work.”
“Every time she put on the Timberlands, she said: ‘I am wearing you, and my boots will keep me safe,’” he added.
Because the late actress had family in town to celebrate her birthday at the time of her death, they decided to spend her birthday celebrating her life. “We actually toasted last night,” Hamel recalled in an interview with People.
“We had, I think, 12 of us here, and all toasted Suzanne. I’m positive we’ll do something today. I don’t know what it will be, but it will involve a lot of cake, because Suzanne was crazy for cake,” he added.
On the night of her actual birthday, Somers’ family, including Hamel and Somers’ son with her first husband, Bruce Somers Jr, took to her Instagram account to post a reel of them singing Happy Birthday with a decorated birthday cake.
“Thank you for the outpouring of love and affection for Suzanne. So many of you have asked what you can do to support our family. The most comforting gesture for us is to hear how Suzanne affected all of your lives,” the caption read. “We have set up a Tribute Book at SuzanneSomers.com and we would greatly appreciate it if you would add your comments. It helps for us to hear how her legacy of love lives on in all of you.”
Somers’s long-time publicist, R Couri Hay, announced the news of her death in a statement, which read: “Suzanne Somers passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of October 15th.
“She survived an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years. Suzanne was surrounded by her loving husband Alan, her son Bruce, and her immediate family.
“Her family was gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on October 16th. Instead, they will celebrate her extraordinary life, and want to thank her millions of fans and followers who loved her dearly.”