Joseph R. Sowers, 23, automobile mechanic, saved Carl D. Gallup, 8, from drowning, Hastings, Michigan, December 29, 1942. Carl fell from a trestle into the Thornapple River, which was in flood, and drifted in water six feet deep 40 feet from the bank. Sowers, who was winded from running, removed some of his clothing, waded from the bank, and then swam 35 feet toward Carl, who was submerged. Sowers dived and groped but did not find Carl. He swam to the surface, and one of his feet touched Carl. He dipped under and got hold of Carl, who was unconscious. Sowers then swam toward the bank, becoming numb and greatly fatigued and somewhat winded. He repeatedly stated he could not reach the bank. When Sowers had swum 35 feet, a man, who stood in wadable water, got hold of him and pulled him to the bank. Carl was revived. Sowers was nearly exhausted and was greatly affected by the cold. 39807-3324
39807 – 332439807-3324
Joseph Ralph Sowers, 96, of Kingston, Tenn., died on Dec. 8, 2015. He was born on Aug. 11, 1919, in Terre Haute, Ind., to William and Elizabeth (Goerich) Sowers.
Sowers was a Navy veteran who served during World War II. He received several citations and medals, including the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal for his time served in the South Pacific and the World War II Victory Medal.
Before going into the military, Sowers received the Carnegie Medal for his Dec. 29, 1942, rescue of an 8-year-old boy from drowning in a river in Hastings, Mich.
Sowers worked for more than 50 years in construction and construction management. In 1998, he retired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., where he was a technical staff member. Sowers enjoyed the outdoors, spending time with his family, and watching his favorite baseball team, the Seattle Mariners.
(Edited from an obituary published in The Courier-News in Clinton, Tenn.