William Eugene Sowder

June 4, 1935 ~ April 13, 2021 (age 85)

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On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, William (“Bill”) Eugene Sowder, loving father of two and grandfather of eight, passed away at the age of 85.

Bill was born on June 4, 1935, in Lexington, Kentucky.  He grew up in Covington, Kentucky surrounded by the love of an extended family including his grandmother and his Aunt Vera and Aunt Matilda.  He graduated from Holmes High School before joining the United States Marine Corps.  He served three years, received the Good Conduct Medal, and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant.   After serving in the Marines, Bill’s natural talent for art and illustrations, nurtured and encouraged throughout his life by teachers and family, led him to graduate from Central Academy for Commercial Art in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Bill was a creative director in prominent advertising agencies in Chicago and Atlanta, creating and developing advertising campaigns for numerous entities including Campbell’s Soup, McDonalds, Betty Crocker, and Save the Children.  He relished opportunities to cartoon and enjoyed producing commercial art that injected life into Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese, Cookie Jarvis, Waffelo Bill, and Cookie Crook.

He married Annette Maria Sowder in 1961 and they raised two children, Hans and Claudine (“Cloey”) in Evanston, Illinois and then later in Atlanta, Georgia.  Bill and Annette divorced in 1980 but remained friends throughout the years with a common interest in their children and grandchildren. 

Bill tried to find humor in everyday life and loved cartooning the most. He left behind numerous illustrations, doodles, and homemade greeting cards, punctuated with his fun sense of humor.  In earlier times he engaged in carpentry and building projects and even dabbled as an inventor, designing and building several devices that provided solutions but for which he simply did not seek a patent.   In more recent years, he most enjoyed spending time with family, and found pleasure in reading, camping, and working outdoors in his yard.

Bill was interested in anyone he met and had an uncanny ability to engage people from all walks of life in warm conversation.  When asked recently what he enjoyed doing the most, his response was not a surprise given his history of generosity - his greatest joy was simply “giving”.  While he is at peace now in heaven after surrendering to Christ just a month before passing, his family is left with a hole that will never be filled.

Bill was preceded in death by many friends and family whom he sincerely esteemed and loved.   His greatest sadness was preceding his daughter, Cloey Lisa Sowder, whom he loved and cherished deeply.  Cloey departed in 2007 and he is only now, 15 years later, reunited with her in God’s kingdom.  Bill is survived by his son, Hans Gerhart Sowder (Susan); son-in-law, John Paul Herring (Cloey); grandchildren Maggie (24), Emma (23), Johnny (22), Mia (21), Emily (21), Nate (20), Samuel (16), and Daniel (14); and numerous extended family members and close friends in Kentucky, Georgia, and other areas of the country.

In lieu of a service, a memorial celebration of life will occur this summer as dad/Grandpa/Papaw/Bill’s remains will be put to rest with family in Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate, Kentucky on July 12, 2021 at 10 am.  All who loved and cared for Bill are welcome. Donations in Bill’s memory will be appreciated in his name at Breast Cancer Research Foundation (

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