Monday, April 19, 2004

Jerry Sowers was a retiree volunteer


Repaired Easter Seals wheelchairs

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Throughout J.C. "Jerry" Sowers' life, he showed compassion for others through caring for his family and in his efforts as a volunteer.

He was orphaned at the age of 10, and spent his teenage years in the Children's Home in Madisonville.

As a father, he vowed to his children to be an available parent.

"I recall him saying he always wanted to be certain that his children had a family and were loved and that they had more than he did when he was a kid. And we did," said his daughter, Maggie Devereaux of West Chester.

Mr. Sowers died April 13 at Hospice of Cincinnati in Blue Ash of complications from a stroke. The longtime Madeira resident was 84.

Mr. Sowers spent his career in the industrial coated abrasives industry. When he retired, he made a career out of helping people - from working part-time in security and as an usher for the Cincinnati Art Museum, to volunteering for the Easter Seals campaign.

"His integrity, concern for others, and sense of humor made him a wonderful role model for all of us," said Devereaux.

After graduating from Withrow High School in 1937, he attended the University of Cincinnati for two years and then entered the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was stationed in Texas.

After being honorably discharged in 1945, he returned to Cincinnati and eventually moved to Indiana and Detroit to work in the abrasives industry, working for about 20 years for the now-defunct Michigan Abrasives Co.

He and his family returned to Madeira in 1975, and Mr. Sowers began working as a volunteer for Easter Seals, helping to repair wheelchairs. It was during this time that he also worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Formerly active in Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Silverton, he later served on the church council, and was a member of the 55 Plus Club and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Kenwood.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife, Madge Emery Sowers of Madeira; two other daughters, Karen Lignell of Bloomington, Minn., and Ellen Skaggs of Covington, La.; a son, Steve, of Howell, Mich.; and eight granddaughters.

Services have been held.

Burial was in Evergreen Cemetery, Miamiville.

Memorials can be made to the World War II Memorial, Voice of America Park, P.O. Box 815, Middletown, 45042-0815.

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E-mail nhamilton@enquirer.com




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