James "J.N." Nathaniel Sowell Jr.

February 18, 1926October 31, 2018

James Nathaniel (“J.N.”) Sowell, Jr. was born on February 18, 1926 in Leakesville, Mississippi. He was one of eleven children born to James Nathaniel and Bertha Mahala Byrd Sowell. He graduated from Leakesville High School. As an 18 year-old, he was drafted into World War II, where he served his country in the Army’s Infantry Division and was discharged as a Corporal. He was wounded in action in January, 1945, when a hand grenade exploded near him during heavy fighting in Germany. J.N. earned a Purple Heart for his service and became a proud veteran.

Upon returning home from the war, he began his career at Grady Buick in Mobile, Alabama, where he ultimately became an automotive frame specialist. After 27 years at Grady Buick, he left to start his own business, Sowell’s Frame and Body Shop, in Wilmer, Alabama.

J.N. married Louise LeBourhis in 1950, with whom he had four children: Ronald, Larry, Debbie, and Regina. They enjoyed 68 years of marriage, and J.N. maintained his affection and care for Louise until the end of his life.

He was active in Wilmer Baptist Church for many years as a Deacon and was very involved in the early days of the church’s bus ministry. J.N. continued to give to his community by serving on the first Fairview Water Board, which created a public water system that brought dependable water service to the rural areas. He will be remembered as a man of great integrity and selflessness, someone who loved his family and friends, had a sharp sense of humor, and a kindness that was second to none. J.N. epitomized “The Greatest Generation” with his character and work ethic. He worked in his own business until age 80, and had the wonderful ability to take whatever comes and find joy in all circumstances. In lieu of flowers memorials in Mr. Sowell's memory may be made to the Bus Fund at Wilmer Baptist Church. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

J.N. went home to his Lord on October 31, 2018, and is survived by his wife, Louise Sowell; his children, Ronald Sowell, Larry (Denise) Sowell, Debbie (Darrell) Bennett, and Regina (Hugh) Mathews; and his sister, Albertha Buras. He is also survived by his four grandchildren, Michael (Kym) Sowell, Casey (R.J.) Voorhees, Kelly (Jake) Curtis, and Tyler (Ashford) Mathews; as well as eight great-grandchildren, all of whom adored their “Pop.” A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Wilmer Baptist Church at 1:00pm with the family receiving friends at the church on Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 11:00am until 1:00pm. He will be laid to rest at Wilmer Community Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be offered to the Bus Fund at Wilmer Baptist Church. Condolences may be offered at


  • Louise Sowell, Wife
  • Ronald Sowell, Son
  • Larry Sowell (Denise), Son
  • Debbie Bennett (Darrell), Daughter
  • Regina Mathews (Hugh), Daughter
  • Albertha Buras, Sister
  • Michael Sowell (Kym), Grandson
  • Casey Voorhees (R. J.), Granddaughter
  • Kelly Curtis (Jake), Granddaughter
  • Tyler Mathews (Ashford), Grandson
  • He is also survived by his as well as eight great-grandchildren, all of whom adored their “Pop.”


  • Visitation Saturday, November 3, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, November 3, 2018

James "J.N." Nathaniel Sowell Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Linda Grimes

November 4, 2018

I am so glad that I grew up in a neighborhood with wonderful people like the Sowells.Such a loving family-know you will miss Mr.JN.Thanks for the sweet memories--Linda Covington Grimes.

Mark Marshall

November 3, 2018

I have a lot of memories of my teen age years that included about all of this family. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Mr Sowell. He was a very good man, in his heart and in his actions of daily life. I well know the empty feeling that this leaves. My thoughts and prayers will be with you as you go through this difficult time. I do wish I was able to attend the services and show my respects. Much love to all the family.

Mark Marshall

C Phillips

November 2, 2018

My sympathy to the family. J.N. touch many lives, he will be remembered by many. -Acts 24:15.