Richard William Sowers
September 2, 1950 – May 21, 2020
Mr. Richard William Sowers, 69, of McDonough, Ga., passed away on Thursday, May 21, 2020, at Sacred Journey Hospice in McDonough.
Richard was born on September 2, 1950, in Cabarrus County, N.C., to Frank and Janet (Vaughan) Sowers. He was baptized into the Lutheran Church as an infant and would continue to serve the church for the rest of his life. He was a member of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta, Ga.
As a youth, Richard was active in the Boy Scouts of America, receiving the distinctive honors of Eagle Scout and Pro Deo Et Patria. He had a lifelong love of sports, and during his years attending A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, N.C., he played football, basketball, and was the star catcher for the Wonders' baseball team.
In 1972, Richard earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a place where he forged some of his deepest friendships and a place he would continue to hold in his heart for the rest of his life.
Upon graduation, Richard enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After he was honorably discharged as a commissioned officer, he embarked on a career in journalism, working for a number of newspapers during the 1970's: The Roanoke Times and The Martinsville Bulletin in Virginia, the Gastonia Gazette in North Carolina, where he was Sports Editor, and the Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky.
In 1983, Richard went to work as News Editor for The Sporting News Publishing Company in St. Louis, Mo. In 1992, he transitioned from working as a reporter and editor to serving the media as Executive Director of Public Relations for Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.
While working in the stock-car racing industry, Richard began writing a book about the sport and enjoyed the process of researching and writing so much that he devoted the rest of his career to writing and editing statistical histories and reference books about sports, primarily stock-car and thoroughbred racing.
Richard loved God, his wife and family and his friends, many of whom he had the privilege of mentoring during his career.
Richard's life was immeasurably enriched by the many cats he rescued throughout his life. They became his children.
He loved the UNC Tar Heels and the United States Navy. He loved playing golf, Sinatra, Gershwin, Beethoven, The Great Gatsby, beach music, anything written by Dan Jenkins, The Rockford Files, Motown and The Beatles. He loved life itself.
Richard was the most faithful and loving husband of 31 years to Valerie Crain Sowers.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother: Janet Vaughan Sowers; sisters: Tricia Huntington, and Amy (Frank) Collins; sisters-in-law: Connie (Tom) Riley, and Susan (Tom) Wylie; brother-in-law Bob (Brent Reese) Crain; beloved nieces and nephews: Evan Russell, Blair Russell, Amanda Collins, Ellie Collins, Jennifer (Ryan) Gaul, John (Cindy) Riley, Joshua (Alacia) Riley, Cal Wylie, and Sydney Wylie; and five great nieces and nephews. Richard was predeceased by his father: Frank Clyde Sowers; and his father and mother-in-law: Robert and Helen Crain.
Richard's family hopes to have a funeral and celebration of Richard's life later in the year, as permitted. If you would like to receive details of this celebration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of Richard's favorite charitable organizations: St. Jude's Research Hospital, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Ga.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Richard William Sowers
May 31, 2020
I lost my husband Neal in 2017. He and Richard were a few months apart in age and became good friends while attending UNC. They both graduated with degrees in Business Administration. Richard was an usher in our wedding in 1976. Both avid Carolina fans, they had many lively discussions about Carolina sports over the years and about the ACC. They also shared a deep admiration for Dean Smith, who was the basketball coach while they were there and many subsequent years afterwards. While we visited with Richard many times in our younger days, it was more difficult as our daughter was growing up, we both came busy in our careers, and I suddenly became disabled in 2000. We lived in Raleigh. They talked on the phone many a time, though. After Neal died, Richard sent me a sympathy card with a lovely note in it. We talked on the phone several times. I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Val and the rest of Richard’s family. I am so sorry I could not attend the service. I know he will be deeply missed by his family, friends and community.
May 28, 2020
From the 1968 Graduating Class of A. L. Brown High School, Kannapolis NC we are all saddened to hear about Richard. We were so glad he could be at our 50th reunion. Richard was the joy of our class and we all have fond memories of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time. Go WONDERS !!!
May 28, 2020
Richard was definitely one of a kind. He took me in as an intern and He was a pleasure to work under. I even went to a North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech football game with him ( We were both cheering for North Carolina - I was especially since I am an avid UGA fan )... That was a great memory as well. He even gave us mercy when We goofed off and messed with the race program.... He had to chide us... But then he took off his glasses and told us "unofficially" that it was a pretty good prank. I wish I would of had a chance to see him one more time. He was loved by many family and friends... But especially by his loving wife Val.
God Bless 🙏
May 26, 2020
I was saddened to learn of Richard's passing. Richard was very gracious to me when I worked at the radio stations in Jackson and McDonough and welcomed me with open arms to cover races and other events at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I know he was widely popular throughout NASCAR and he will be missed. My condolences and prayers go out to his family and close friends.
May 24, 2020
I have known Richard for a long time. We both attended Lord of Life Lutheran in Stockbridge, Ga. , and served on boards and committees for years. He always was ready to help with anything as needed. Everyone knew about the Tarheels. He loved them.!
Our taste in movies were the same....NOTHING was ever any better than "Casablanca". I will always have great memories of Richard and his Carolina Blue. Rest in peace wrapped in the arms of Jesus, You made it safely home. " We'll always have Paris"
May 23, 2020
My Uncle Richie was such a kind man who never had anything bad to say about anyone. I wish we had gotten to see him one more time, but am so grateful he was being so well taken care of by the love of his life. He will be missed dearly. 💔 😢