Claude P. “Sonny” Stowers, Jr., 81, of Glen Allen, VA passed away Sunday, July 23, 2023, in Bon Secours Community Hospice House. A native of Gadsden, AL, he lived in Glen Allen for over 39 years.
At the young age of 17, he enlisted and served in the US Navy as a Quartermaster on the destroyer USS Bordelon during the Vietnam War era. Upon completing his service and returning home to Gadsden he played semi-professional football as a center for the Alabama Vikings. He also worked at Republic Steel until laid off in 1964. At age 23 he then moved to Charlotte, NC to co-own a bar, Sonny’s, with his father. The bar was sold several years later, and he worked in sales for Campbells Soup, Hormel, and Kimberly-Clark. He subsequently moved to Richmond, VA, where he obtained his teaching degree from VCU, graduating magna cum laude. He met and married his wife Page during this time. Sonny later earned his master’s degree in education at VCU and taught American History at Benjamin Graves Middle School in Richmond. He became a vice principal of Hamilton Homes Elementary School in King William County, where he spent much of his time working with children from the nearby Pamunkey Indian Reservation.
Sonny was a multi-faceted man with varied interests. When he left education in 1985 to pursue other opportunities, he used his accumulated sales experience to work for Horace Mann Insurance for several years. He settled into insurance sales, later establishing his own company, Stowers and Associates. Continuing his love of sports, he was the coach of the Bamboo Café Softball Team for several years. He led the team to championship victories in the Fan District Softball League 1976-1978. After he joined the Dominion Club as a founding member in 1998, he became an avid golfer, participating as part of his Wexford neighborhood golf team, which achieved several neighborhood championships in 2004, 2005, and 2006. He was a hunter, serving in Ducks Unlimited for many years to help raise funds for waterfowl conservation, and was the national chairman of the USS Bordelon Reunion Group for 7 years. He had a great interest in researching his ancestral roots and traced one particular branch of his family from their start in Virginia to their connections in his hometown Gadsden. He loved his home state of Alabama and was an ultimate lifelong fan of University of Alabama football, having a room in his house dedicated to his beloved team. He was known for his ability to meet strangers everywhere, retaining an amazing recall of a person’s appearance, family, and career aspirations. He turned many of those encounters into lifelong fun and interesting friendships.
He was preceded in death by his father, Claude Stowers Sr., and his mother, Audra Stowers Odom.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Page Brooks Stowers; daughter Ashley Stowers Morris and son-in-law Billy Morris; son Jacob Lee Stowers and daughter-in-law Tori Canella Stowers; grandchildren, Mackenzie Morris, Hunter Morris, Maisy Stowers, and Brooke Stowers; and stepbrothers Dan Odom (Lisa) and Michael Stowers (Bonita). In addition, his adopted and beloved cats, Nicky and Julie will greatly miss their special friend. After previously living with Labrador retrievers for 15 years, it took a while for Sonny to develop a friendship with those cats.
The family will receive friends from 9:30 to 10 am on Friday, July 28 at Mount Vernon Memorial Park Mausoleum Chapel in Glen Allen, VA, located at 11220 Nuckols Road. A memorial service with military honors will follow at 10 a.m. in the Mausoleum Chapel. Private interment will follow in the Veterans Memorial Garden.
Sonny’s family thanks Suncrest Hospice for their timely and supportive assistance during Sonny’s last days. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial gifts be made to Bon Secours Community Hospice House via the Donation link on their website or by clicking here. We deeply appreciate the invaluable kindness and guidance they provided to assist Sonny and support his family on his new journey.