Joseph V. Somers, 87, of Villanova, cofounder of Somers Construction Co., died of heart failure May 22 at his home.

Mr. Somers graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic High School and attended Drexel University. During World War II, he was an officer in the Army Signal Corps in the South Pacific.

After his discharge, he worked for area construction companies before establishing his own company in Bala Cynwyd with his brother Paul in 1951. The firm completed major projects for U.S. Steel, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Philadelphia International Airport, and built the Visitor Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park and Centennial Hall at the Haverford School. Mr. Somers retired in 1987, four years after his brother's death.

For 18 years, he served on the board of NRM Investment Co. His passion was golf, said his daughter, Leslie Rahling, and he maintained memberships at Aronimink Golf Club, Philadelphia Country Club, and the Merion Cricket Club. He also belonged to the Surf Club in Bal Harbour, Fla., and was past president of Indian Creek Country Club in Bal Harbour, where he wintered for 30 years.

At age 50, Mr. Somers fulfilled a lifelong desire to fly and earned a pilot's license. He kept a plane at Wings Field in Blue Bell and later at Philadelphia International, and loved flying over the homes of relatives and friends, his daughter said. He flew into his 80s, she said.

Since 1956, he had been married to Elizabeth Ridenour Somers. They had met at the Tavern restaurant next to his office in Bala Cynwyd.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Somers is survived by a son, Joseph Jr., and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave.

Memorial donations may be made to Camphill Special School, 1784 Fairview Rd., Glenmoore, Pa. 19343.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.