Richard "Tiny" Gordon Sowell

Born: Wed., Dec. 13, 1922
Died: Fri., Jul. 7, 1944


Military Funeral

11:00 AM Fri., Nov. 10, 2017
Location: Woodlawn Cemetery


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SGT Richard Gordon “Tiny” Sowell (USAR) was killed in action at the Battle for Saipan, on July 7, 1944. Tiny was 21 years old at the time of his death. He was born December 13, 1922, in Quincy, Florida, and came to West Palm Beach in 1926, along with his family. One of the city’s most popular young men at the time, Tiny was mascot for the Palm Beach High School football teams for a number of years, later being a member of the All State high school baseball and basketball teams, and a member of the American Legion Junior baseball championship team of 1938. A graduate of Palm Beach High School, Tiny was a sophomore at the University of Florida when he went in the service in April 1943. He was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega, national social fraternity. SGT Sowell had been overseas since November. He had been in seven major engagements and saw service in the battles of Wotje, Kwajalein in Marshall Islands and Saipan. At the time of the battle for Saipan, SGT Sowell was a spotter with the 295th Joint Assault Signal Company, 3rd Battalion, 106th Infantry Division. He was killed in action during the Japanese rush of the Island. His family was told there were no remains. A year later, remains were discovered in a fox hole, and were shipped to a military base in Hawaii, and buried, with full Military Honors in a numbered grave. The grave was re-discovered in 2015, and with DNA provided by his nephew, SGT Sowell was finally identified. He is now being brought home, after 73 years, to be put to rest with his family. At the time of his death, SGT Sowell was predeceased by his father, Charles, in 1923, and was survived by his mother, Jimmie Sowell; his sisters, Mrs. Hazel Gorham, Mrs. Lucille Cochrane, Miss Margaret Sowell; and his three brothers, Charles Lindsey Sowell, Lewis Sowell, and Julian Sowell, all who have gone to join Tiny. Surviving family are his nephew, Lewis Sowell, Jr., of Savannah, Georgia, and a niece, Mary Baldwin, of Lake Park. A Military Funeral, with full honors, will be held at 11:00 AM Friday, November 10, 2017, at Woodlawn Cemetery, located on Dixie Highway just south of Okeechobee Boulevard, in West Palm Beach.

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Condolence Booklet

Harry Isabel
   Posted Sun November 05, 2017
My deepest sympathy and God Bless Tiny.I was an 18 year old combat infantryman wh landed on the island of Saipan in June of 1944.My regiment was the 165th and along with the 106th and 105th formed the 27 the division.We lost many good men in that battle and my prayers are with Tiny and all of the boys we lost in that battle.I am now 92 and so fortunate,with Gods will,to be a survivor.

M Deluga
   Posted Tue November 07, 2017
My family had a similar experience. My mother's brother was killed in a training mission in February 1945 in the mountains of Washington State. His SBD 5 ran out of fuel and crashed near Cle Elum. The crash site was discovered in September 1945 and his remains were buried at the sight. Even though he was not killed in war but killed preparing for war, the US Navy recovered his remains, matched DNA to my brother and we had a full military burial in Arlington in 2009. None of my generation knew him except from stories we heard while growing up. In 2009, the Stuart Air Show had a SBD 5 and the day before the air show started, we saw that plane circling over our house. I like to think it was a sign that my uncle was letting me know he was still with us in spirit. We are grateful.

marijane coffyn
   Posted Thu November 09, 2017
I shall be elated to attend the military funeral with the DAR/SAR. My husband Buddy fought at Saipan that day (as well as Okinawa, Guam and probably others), but that was the only battle he mentioned, as the landing craft going into the beach was rough as he mentioned almost getting ill but his Mom had given him some cheese he had in his pocket which helped him get through. This came out while I was fishing and started to get ill. He was just 17, as his Mother signed him in at 16, so he wouldn't be drafted, so as to go into a Navy Unit. A New Hampshire cousin was there too that day in the Marines. He's still living but Buddy died in 1959 leaving me a widow with three small children. His buddies from Pennsylvania Militia and his Commander came from Massachusetts and helped me though. So I feel that I should be supportive with you. Am honored to attend to be supportive. My heart goes out to you. You did a wonderful job in your fulfillment. Most sincerely Marijane

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