Marian J. Sowell

February 11, 1930January 10, 2013
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Marian “Joyce” Sowell went to be with the Lord on January 10, 2013 at the age of 82. Funeral services will be on January 15, 10:00 AM at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home on Highland Colony Drive in Madison with visitation one hour prior. Graveside services will be held the same day in the Kosciusko City Cemetery at 2:30 PM.

Joyce was born in Kosciusko, MS. She received her education at Holmes Junior College and her Master’s Degree in Library Science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.

Ms. Sowell had a short tenure working for the library in the City of Corinth, MS before moving on to Mobile, AL. Joyce was a long term resident of Mobile before moving to the Jackson area three years ago. She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Mobile, Alabama where she was active in both Sunday School and Woman’s Missionary Union. Joyce loved her church and the many friends she had there. She worked for the Mobile Public Library System for 30 plus years at various branches. Joyce also enjoyed traveling in Europe and across the United States researching family genealogy. Ms. Sowell was very involved in the Mobile Public Library System and helped to endow a branch there in 2000. She had the privilege of being photographed with former first lady, Laura Bush, for her work in the field of library science. Her love of reading and learning was something she passed on to her nieces, nephews and their children. She will always be loved for this and for herself.

She was preceded in death by her parents, George O. and Mildred Sowell and by her sister, Martha Ellen Utley. She is survived by her brother, George A. Sowell (Katherine) of Madison, MS; nephews, Michael and Jonathan Sowell of Madison and Robert(Tammy) and Merrill(Kathy) Utley of Thibodaux, LA; Nieces, Holland Utley of Yonkers, NY and Judith Sowell of Madison; Great nieces Elise(Kenneth)Mejia, and their son Elijah, Alyssa Utley, Miranda(Matthew) Neil all of Thibodaux, LA.; Great niece, Elizabeth(Jon) Henneke and sons, Nathan and Liam all of Daphne, AL.

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  • Funeral Service Tuesday, January 15, 2013
  • Visitation Tuesday, January 15, 2013
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Marian J. Sowell

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Judy Burnham

January 18, 2013

I worked with Ms. Sowell at Mobile Public and admired her dedication to her job and to the individuals who came into the library. My sympathy to her family.

Mickey and Sheila Parish

January 14, 2013

Joyce was a wonderful lady! We have missed her at First Baptist Church of Mobile for several years. She was a devoted church member and Women on Missions leader and member. Joyce was also the "chauffeur" for a group of ladies who lived in the same apartment complex as she in Mobile. She will be greatly missed by many people.

Ronald Clark

January 14, 2013

My prayers go out to Ms. Sowells' family. She taught me what I needed to know to be a productive employee. She was my great friend as well as mentor. She will be truly missed!

January 14, 2013

I was blessed to be chosen to meet Joyce at the bus station when she arrived for her job at Mobile Public Library. We spent the next two days together finding a furnished apartment near a bus line as she did not have a car. We were all so thankful when she finally got her first car and we didn't have to worry about her standing at a bus stop when she worked the late shift at the library. She was a classy lady and we all loved working with her. Phyllis Allen, Retired MPL Staff member.

Bush Bernard

January 14, 2013

My condolences to the Sowell and Utley families. I always enjoyed listening to her stories about her adventures and travels. She had a great sense of humor as well.

January 14, 2013

Although I never met Ms Sowell, I read Her obit in the Press Register and recalled living near Mr. George Sowell's store in Kosciusko. One of my earliest memories is standing at our screen door with my brother watching the train go by. Although I was about three years old, I remember going to Sowell's store. This was 1944 or 45 while my Dad was away in the Pacific Theater. My husband remembers buying his first bubble gum in Mr. Sowell's store when it became available after the war. JF Townsend, Grand Bay, AL

Holly Utley

January 14, 2013

I always admired her sense of independence and her love of travel, how she made it a priority to see the world. On one of her trips, to Europe, she stopped in New York City and we "kicked up our heels" at the Rainbow Room, a memory I will treasure forever. Joyce love of books was instrumental in helping my mom conceive our hometown library. She will be missed. I like to think of her & her sister (my mom) walking hand in hand in heaven, maybe down a row of tomato plants on a sunny day, to pick for a sandwich with the homemade mayonnaise my mom use to make.-- Holly, her niece

Roy Tucker

January 13, 2013

I met Miss Sowell in the 1960's when she was my supervisor in the Reference Department of the Mobile Public Library. Her love and dedication to learning and the library was evident then and throughout her life. She was an inspiration and a pleasure to know.

January 13, 2013

Joyce was my first "boss" after I finished library school and began work at the Moorer Library in Mobile. She was a wonderful person and I have remebered her fondly through the years. Please accept my deepest sympathy on her passing.

Cora Fay
Beaufort, SC

The Staff of Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home-Parkway Memorial Cemetery

January 12, 2013

Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.