Bill Sowell

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, June 27, 2017

 MURFREESBORO, NC – Mr. William “Bill” Berry Sowell, age 87, passed away on June 24, 2017 at his residence.

Mr. Sowell was born on February 22, 1930 to the late William Richard and Marybelle McManus Sowell in Pageland, SC. He graduated from Pageland High School in 1948 and joined the United States Coast Guard, serving his country for four and one-half years.

Bill enrolled in the Roy Parker School of Printing at Chowan College and graduated with the first Graphic Arts diploma to be issued by the institution in 1955. He immediately began his forty-year career of teaching printing, as well as producing all of Chowan’s printing needs. Bill continued his studies at Chowan to earn an A.A. degree. Then enrolled in East Carolina University and earned his B.S. degree, while teaching full time at Chowan.

In 1986, his colleagues on the faculty awarded him the Excellence in Teaching Award. The students dedicated the 1967 yearbook to him. Bill received the Order of Lux et Veritas Award in 1987. In 2001, Bill was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

In addition to his teaching career, Bill was the golf coach at Chowan for fifteen years. He was “Coach of the Year” twice, in 1984-85 and 1985-86. He had several NJCAA All-Americans, All-Conference and All-Region performers.

Bill was a member of the Murfreesboro United Methodist Church where he has served on the Board of Directors, Lay Speaker and taught Sunday School for numerous years. He twice served as president of the Exchange Club. He belongs to American George Masonic Lodge No. 17 in Murfreesboro, NC, and is a member of the Roanoke-Chowan Shrine Club. Bill was a member of the Murfreesboro Rescue Squad for ten years and was a lifetime honorary member. He was a scoutmaster for twelve years and coached Little League baseball for many years.

Bill was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and brother that will be deeply missed by all those that knew him.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of sixty-one years, June; his daughter, Wanda Sowell Rawlin of Virginia Beach, VA; two sons, Berry Sowell and wife, Terri of Dothan, AL, and Richard Joseph Sowell of Alexandria, VA; three grandsons, William Colby Sowell and David Seth Rawlin, both of Nashville, TN, and William Thomas Sowell of Alexandria, VA; two granddaughters, Casey Sowell Wolfe and husband Riley, of Huntsville, AL, and Katherine Anne Sowell of Alexandra, VA; one great-grandson, William Fitzpatrick Wolfe; and one sister, Donna Jean Waters of Charlotte, NC.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, from 1:00 pm until 1:45 pm at the Murfreesboro United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall with a celebration of life service to follow at 2:00 pm at the Murfreesboro United Methodist Church. Reverend Monica Beacham and Reverend Jason Villegas will be officiating and burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Murfreesboro, NC.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Murfreesboro United Methodist Church or to Chowan University, William “Bill” Sowell Scholarship Fund, directly or online by visiting, type Bill Sowell.

Garrett-Sykes Memorial Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Sowell family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting