Pastors' Memoirs

Eugene Sowder, 1913 – 2004

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  The Rev. Eugene Sowder died Nov. 26, 2004, at his residence on Roundhill Drive in Christiansburg. He was born Oct. 12, 1913, in Patrick County, Va. Eugene was an alumnus of

Emory & Henry College, a college he deeply loved, and was ordained into the ministry of the Methodist Church on Oct. 12, 1952, in Norfolk, Va. He served the following churches in Virginia throughout his ministry: Bethany, Cloverdale; Cambria; Montgomery Parish; Newport; Gordonsville; Wachapreague; Woodlawn in Roanoke; Hickory; Wright Memorial; Grace in Danville; Union in South Boston; Powhatan; Pembroke, and Floyd Parish. He retired in 1978. In retirement, he served Mt. Elbert-Wesley Memorial and Lawrence Memorial, both in the Roanoke District.

  Over the past decade, Eugene spoke on many occasions and for many different circumstances in the Virginia Conference. He attended St. Paul United Methodist Church in Christiansburg since his retirement, served occasionally as minister of visitation in the middle 1980s and participated in the "Joy Singers" senior citizens choir to nursing homes. He was deeply interested in history, especially as it was integrated into the Christian life and faith. Always an avid student of the Bible and church history, he continued in midweek Bible studies at St. Paul UMC, occasionally serving as the leader.

  His hobbies included gardening and horticulture, where he devoted countless loving hours to two homes in Christiansburg, one with his beloved wife, Helen, and one in which he had previously lived before their marriage in 1987. His interests involved board membership at Warm Hearth, president of AARP (where he taught driving to senior citizens), volunteering under his wife Helen’s leadership in "The Social Club," an extension of the Mental Health Association.

  He is survived by his wife, Helen, and a son, Jim Sowder, of his first marriage to Annie Mae, now deceased. Also surviving are grandsons Brett A. Sowder, Loyd E. Sowder, and James Adam Sowder and one granddaughter, Aimee B.E. Sowder; great-grandchildren, Jarrett Alan Sowder, Anthony James Willard, Jacob Mckinley Willard, and Samantha Elaine Sowder.

  The funeral was at St. Paul UMC in Christiansburg, conducted by the Rev. Chuck McHose and the Rev. David Goodpasture. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, neighbors, and church, but now rests securely in the hands of God.

— edited from Roanoke Times obituary, submitted by Helen Sowder



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