ForeverMissed
Memorial details have been provided at the end of this section

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Robert Warren Sowden Jr, known was Bob to all. He was 70 years old, born on October 13, 1950 and passed away on November 1, 2020. We will remember him forever.

His granddaughter Kaitlyn expressed what we all feel so deeply: It is so hard to say goodbye to someone you have never known life without. Papa, I know you are holding up a glass of Jameson right now in heaven, so cheers to you, a man who has been there for every single life event, a wonderful, caring and patient father to his two crazy daughters, a proud papa that passed along his love of fishing, boating, baseball, Corvette rides and blueberry pancakes to each of his 6 grandchildren, a loving husband to Karen, a smart ass friend and brother who was never short of a witty response and lastly, a soon to be great-grandfather (credit to Logan and Taylor). We are all so thankful for how you have taken care of us throughout the years and I hope you know how much we all love and appreciate you. I also hope you have Jimmy Buffet on repeat and are wasting away in Margaritaville! You are deeply loved and will forever be missed.

We would really love to hear your memories and stories of Bob. There are places for short tributes, longer stories, and photos, videos and music. Please post them on this site. 

Please join us for a celebration of Bob’s life on December 13 from 4-8pm at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Melbourne – Oceanfront. We will be outside with room for social distancing. To help us with our plans, please RSVP by sending your name and number of guests to BobSowdenRSVP@gmail.com via email or text message (just type the email address into the To box). Please let us know if you are coming by December 1.

Bob’s ashes will be dispersed at sea earlier in the day. If you wish to participate in this ceremony, text John at 321-432-5213 for details. Please include your name and if you are willing to take others in your text.

Bob believed in St. Jude Children's Research Hospital’s mission of finding cures and saving children. He would appreciate if anyone wanted to honor him by donating to St Jude’s so all families have to worry about is helping their child live. The Robert Warren Sowden Jr. Memorial Gift Fund page is located here.

To read Bob's obituary, follow this link. Bob's facebook page is here.

Posted by Polyna Harasz on November 20, 2020
My condolences to each of the family members who have had your hearts broken by Bob's transition. I pray that soon you will be able to look back without sadness at all the beautiful memories made with him. Bob was always nice and kind to me and our family and we will remember him fondly. This beautiful tribute shows a life well lived and a man well loved, full of friends, and accomplishments. And thats a joyful thing to see. Thank you for including us in these memorial pictures.
Our hearts go out to you. Much love from George, Poly, Nick & Luc.
Posted by Katherine Harasz on November 13, 2020
Karen and family, what a beautiful tribute to Bobby! The photos show an abundance of family, friends and fun, a life well lived. My sympathies for your loss.

I am trying to get this printed for my mom ... she struggles with technology.  I am also going to try and get the link to her, I think she would enjoy the photos. 

Peace to you all - I hope you soon have the time and space to look back with joy at Bob’s life well lived, without sadness or a sense of loss. Until then, be well. 
Posted by Ailena Patterson on November 6, 2020
Daddy,
You are the first man I ever loved, the first man I ever trusted, the first man I looked up to, the first man I wanted to make proud... You have always been a man of your word. I can remember you going to work and no matter how tired you were you would always make time for Zebe an I....... I remember playing tennis in the street and trying to keep the ball from going in the gutter, crawling up in your lap in the recliner in your room and watching the game with you, making you egg sandwiches for breakfast, you teaching me how to tie my shoes at the dining room table, trying to build an airplane out of wood and stapling my finger to wood and you pulled it out, going to the Albertsons and trying not to stop and make every green light ( by the way I finally figured out how you always knew when to snap your fingers and make the light turn green)You have worked hard in your life and encouraged me to go to school and told me I could do it even when I didn’t think I could. You have helped me way more then I deserve and have always been there for me when I needed you most. So I just want to say thank you for being my daddy, thank you for all of our family traditions like going to Manny’s for Thanksgiving, San Remo’s for Christmas and going out on the boat for the 4th of July but most of all thank you for loving me unconditionally....

I love you so much daddy, I miss you more then you will ever know...... until we can be together again❤️
Posted by Karen Sowden on November 6, 2020
Baby, I can’t begin to say how grateful I am for who you are, how you loved me and changed my life, and what we did together. You were a loving, devoted, and supportive father and grandfather. You were generous with your affection and time, willing to share whatever you had with others. You were genuine and always told the truth. You were kind and loyal and always there. You were optimistic and forward looking. You bravely faced any challenge. You were intelligent, eager to teach and never making others feel they weren’t. You were patient and determined.

You loved me unconditionally. You’d rather be together than apart. You let me be me. You encouraged me, respected me, and supported me. You gave me a family, a gift I cherish and couldn’t live without. You loved my family happily joining with us. You introduced me to sailing sparking a love for boating and the water that will never leave me. You shared your friends making them mine too. You made me laugh and smile and cry.

I have so many memories of our time together. My first race on Trump, thank you Kerry, and all the craziness that followed. Sailboat races too numerous to count. Cruising Florida and the Abacos, how I miss the pretty water right now. Vintage car races in Sebring. Fourth of July with the kids. Caring for you. The list is long but not as long as I wanted.

This is not goodbye. You are a part of me and everyone who loves you. You truly live on in your family. Now you touch us through our hearts and memories.

Love you Baby
Posted by Paul Alfano on November 5, 2020
I fondly remember both Zebe and Marc’s and Kaitlyn and Corey’s weddings when we led a long conga line to the Macho Man tune! Great times. Always enjoyed our golf games in St Augustine with Marc and Tristan. You are a great dad and grandfather that will leave great memories with everyone. I will think of you often. RIP.
Posted by Dolores Judd on November 5, 2020
To a wonderful ex-son in law who was a wonderful father to my two granddaughters. May you rest in peace. Dee
Posted by Nanci Schreier Donhoff on November 5, 2020
Brother Bob, my Idol, I have loved you all of our lives! You have always been a kind and generous man! You’ve lived your dreams, have 2 wonderful daughters, and a wonderful, loving wife! You’ve always opened your heart to family and friends! I can’t think of a more loving person! Your sense of humor is above reproach! Lol I will miss you more than you can ever
Imagine. You are a rock among men! Love you! , Nanci
Posted by Zebe Sowden Alfano on November 4, 2020
I miss you so much Daddy Lou!! You left sooner then I was ready for, and my heart is completely broken. There would never have been enough time with you, and I am grateful for the time we had. You will be forever missed and I will keep your memory alive with stories about you, your dad jokes, blueberry pancakes, boat rides, baseball games, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Eagles, and all the oldies I used to sit and listen to with you that gave me an appreciation for great music. I will love you forever and I miss you more then I even thought was possible. Love your,Zebe Lou
Posted by Karen Sowden on November 4, 2020
Love you Baby

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Polyna Harasz on November 20, 2020
My condolences to each of the family members who have had your hearts broken by Bob's transition. I pray that soon you will be able to look back without sadness at all the beautiful memories made with him. Bob was always nice and kind to me and our family and we will remember him fondly. This beautiful tribute shows a life well lived and a man well loved, full of friends, and accomplishments. And thats a joyful thing to see. Thank you for including us in these memorial pictures.
Our hearts go out to you. Much love from George, Poly, Nick & Luc.
Posted by Katherine Harasz on November 13, 2020
Karen and family, what a beautiful tribute to Bobby! The photos show an abundance of family, friends and fun, a life well lived. My sympathies for your loss.

I am trying to get this printed for my mom ... she struggles with technology.  I am also going to try and get the link to her, I think she would enjoy the photos. 

Peace to you all - I hope you soon have the time and space to look back with joy at Bob’s life well lived, without sadness or a sense of loss. Until then, be well. 
Posted by Ailena Patterson on November 6, 2020
Daddy,
You are the first man I ever loved, the first man I ever trusted, the first man I looked up to, the first man I wanted to make proud... You have always been a man of your word. I can remember you going to work and no matter how tired you were you would always make time for Zebe an I....... I remember playing tennis in the street and trying to keep the ball from going in the gutter, crawling up in your lap in the recliner in your room and watching the game with you, making you egg sandwiches for breakfast, you teaching me how to tie my shoes at the dining room table, trying to build an airplane out of wood and stapling my finger to wood and you pulled it out, going to the Albertsons and trying not to stop and make every green light ( by the way I finally figured out how you always knew when to snap your fingers and make the light turn green)You have worked hard in your life and encouraged me to go to school and told me I could do it even when I didn’t think I could. You have helped me way more then I deserve and have always been there for me when I needed you most. So I just want to say thank you for being my daddy, thank you for all of our family traditions like going to Manny’s for Thanksgiving, San Remo’s for Christmas and going out on the boat for the 4th of July but most of all thank you for loving me unconditionally....

I love you so much daddy, I miss you more then you will ever know...... until we can be together again❤️
his Life

Bob's Story

Bob was born on October 13, 1950 in Wiesbaden, Germany to Polly Ann and Bob Sowden Sr, joining older sister Nanci. His father was in the Air Force and his mother was from Coldwater, Mississippi. They returned to the US and his father was stationed at Otis Air Force Base. They lived in Yarmouth, Mass on the Cape. Bob enjoyed playing hockey on the cranberry bog and watching the herring run. He went boating with his father.

They moved to Orlando, Florida when Bob was 14. He graduated from Bishop Moore High School. Bob entered Florida Technological University. He was drafted into the Army when he had a lapse in enrollment. He served 12 months in Vietnam and completed his service at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While on leave from Vietnam, he married Brenda. They lived in Colorado Springs after his tour of duty.

Bob and Brenda moved to Orlando, Florida after he separated from the Army. Bob returned to Florida Technological University and resumed his pursuit of an engineering degree. His daughter Zabette (Zebe) was born in 1973. That same day he met livelong friends Phil and Brenda Spletter. Bob graduated in 1976 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He accepted a job at Harris Corporation. His second daughter Ailena was born in 1977 just days after starting his new job. Initially Bob commuted back and forth from Orlando to Melbourne but he wanted to live near the water, so he moved his family to Melbourne, Florida. He coached his daughters’ softball teams. He enjoyed watching sports and listening to music with the girls in his chair. They went to games at Dodgertown. Bob enjoyed running. He often raced Zebe – she only won once since he wouldn’t just let her win. Bob helped the girls with their homework, especially tutoring them in math. They enjoyed annual family vacations.

Bob worked at Harris for over 30 years as a Systems Engineer. He was a key contributor to the development and production of unique and exquisite high reliability structures vital to our national interest. He had the privilege of working with his daughter Ailena for 5 years.

Bob continued to pursue boating as an adult. He crewed for his father racing sailboats in the intercostal waterway and offshore. Bob’s first sailboat was a Catalina 22 named Trump. Her rating was his trump card. He joined Melbourne Yacht Club. He taught his daughters how to sail. When there was enough wind, they knee skied behind Trump. His daughters wished for a power boat but Bob was a sailor. He raced Trump locally. He liked to tell the story of one of his first races at MYC when he was so far behind that the Dick Tillman, race committee, told him to take his own time. Bob’s skills improved and the boat lived up to her name including winning the Brevard Challenge in 1990.

When his crew got too big for the Catalina, Bob purchased a Wavelength 24 named Volant which he also raced in the ICW as well as offshore and around the state. Bob and crew Karen Knockel formed a bond that turned into love and later marriage. After Volant came a Melges 24 they named Caliente. Bob, Caliente and crew continued to race locally, competing around Florida and as far as Charleston, South Carolina. Bob participated in all aspect of sailboat racing serving as MYC Fleet Captain, regatta chairman, protest chairman, and race committee. He was an officer of the Florida Sailing Association.

Bob received his first cruising sailboat as a gift from his father. Impulsive was a great training ground for Bob and Karen and they soon adopted the Hunter 30 named La Vie Dansante from their dear friend Donna. Their first trip to the Abacos was with Gerry and Rachele Ross on Sleighride leading the way. After many years, some crazy times and loads of fun, it was time to move on to a larger boat. Bob’s best friend Gerry Moores adopted La Vie and Bob purchased Miss Too, a Hunter 37. The cruising fun around Florida and the Bahamas continued. Bob and a rotating crew sailed Miss Too up to Chesapeake Bay in 2004 while he and Karen were working in DC for Harris. The trip included participating in the Gulfstreamer Regatta from Daytona to Charleston. They spent the season sailing the Bay including 4th of July in Annapolis before Bob and another rotating crew brought Miss Too back to MYC. The return trip turned Bob’s eye to trawlers as he saw their captains in their jammies drinking coffee in the pilot house while he had on everything but Karen’s drawers in Miss Too’s freezing cockpit.

Bob and Karen purchased a Heritage East 36 for Karen’s 50th birthday naming her Banyan. Banyan made several trips to the Abacos, the west coast of Florida and one trip up the St. Johns River in addition to many nights at anchor in the ICW. Bob retired from racing and become the go to race committee (RC) for MYC and East Coast Sailing Association races. Banyan, with Bob at the helm, served as RC platform for Bob, Gerry, Pat Lambert and many other RC chairman. Bob enjoyed sitting with friends on Banyan; watching for manatee, drinking Jameson, telling stories,… There were many Friday happy hours up at the MYC clubhouse followed by a relaxing evening and restful sleep on Banyan.

Bob loved his family tremendously. His daughters gave him 6 wonderful grandchildren; Logan, Kaitlyn, Garrett, Tristan, Alison and Braeden. He loved and insisted on family traditions. The 4th of July was his big holiday with them. The day started with fishing off the docks at MYC to see who got the Most, Biggest, Best fish. In November, the family met at Manny’s Chophouse in Lake Wales. In December it was San Remo in Melbourne. The girls and grandkids would visit Bob and Karen at their condo in Vero Beach. Bob made sure they had fresh shrimp for bait to fish off the docks to continue the fishing contests.

Bob enjoyed golf – both playing and watching the pros, especially Tiger Woods. He had standing tee times with his golf buddies on Tuesdays and Fridays: Gerry Moores, Rick and Bob Crockett, Gary Hanbaum, Lenny Beckett, Pat Lambert, Tom Bradley, Ronnie Tobias, Nick Schmitz, Henry and Dave. The gang would meet at Icabod’s Dockside after golf on Tuesdays where Karen would join them – many good times there.

Bob got a red Corvette for his 60th birthday. He drove the car most everywhere after saying he didn’t want to put too many miles on her. Bob, Karen and their dog Lucy drove US Route 6 in the Corvette. The story of their trip is documented at Lucy’s blog (http://lucytripping.blogspot.com/2016/04/hello.html). They were planning a similar trip on US Route 2 when life got in the way.

Bob went into the hospital in June with serious liver disease. He returned home and against all expectations fought back and regained much of his health. He was optimistic and cheerful. He was working hard to regain his mobility when he suddenly succumbed to sepsis.

He left an impression on all who knew him. For those that loved him, he took at piece of our hearts. That spot feels empty now but with time will be filled with warm loving memories of an adoring father and grandfather, loving husband and brother, and faithful friend.
Recent stories

Gone From my Sight

Shared by Zebe Sowden Alfano on November 6, 2020
Gone From my Sight-written by Henry Van Dyke

“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. 
She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.Then, someone at my side says; "There, she is gone!"
"Gone where?" Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she is gone!" There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout;
"Here she comes!"

Bob’s Corvettes

Shared by Nanci Schreier Donhoff on November 5, 2020
In 1969, Bob wanted to buy a gorgeous 1961 Corvette, red and white , with a removable hard top and rag top! It was really something!! Only problem was , in Florida at the time, you had to be 21 to do so!! Our father refused, so Bob asked me if I would do it!! Are you kidding, of course I thought it was a great idea! We went down to the Corvette place on 17-92 in Orlando and bought it ( with his money) for $1500.00!! Unfortunately, in May 1970 he was drafted into the Army. So, he left his gorgeous corvette at my house until his return home! God. He loved that car!! There is more to this story. Not because I had helped him get his car, but because he is such a great brother and person, he sent me a monthly allotment to help me because I was a young Mother and not much income at the time! I was utterly surprised that he did this for me! It was so appreciated and needed! After returning home from Vietnam and getting married, When he had his first daughter Zebe, he was in college and working and having a bit of a difficult time also! I just happened to get a very good tax return and knew he could use the money so I gave him money for the birth of his daughter ! That’s how we worked and loved each other !! He would do anything for his family and has show. That love to his daughters and Karen over and over again! He’s one of a kind, loving, caring and generous and we will all miss him terribly!!! I have the best brother in the world! He’s also a wonderful husband and father and a true friend to many! God Bless him! God Bless you Captain Bob, a friend to many!! Forgot to say he did get another dream corvette for his 60th birthday Red Convertible Corvette!! His dream come true!! Until we meet again, your loving sister. Nanci