Dr. Harold “Hal” Gene Sowman went to be with his loving wife Timmie “Gladys” on November 29, 2012 at the New Richmond hospital from natural causes. Hal was born on July 21, 1923 to Harold Thomas Sowman and Thelma (Crombar) Sowman. He had two brothers Tom and Jim and one sister Doris. Hal grew up in southern Illinois in the mid 1920’s and 1930’s and as did most in those depression years, experienced hard times. In 1941, he entered the University of Illinois and began working his way through engineering college. While a student, he wrestled for the Fighting Illini and was very successful. He enlisted in the armed forces and proudly served in the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant during WWII. It would be during this time where he met his future wife Gladys “Timmie” Wright. They were married on December 8th 1945 in Baltimore City, Maryland. Following this, he returned to the University and obtained his doctorate in 1951. Hal worked for GE after college and was involved in the material development for nuclear submarines. In 1957, he began a long and rewarding career for 3M in St. Paul, MN and was a key researcher in atomic energy projects. An outgrowth of that work led to major new materials technology that is the basis of a large number of 3M products to this day. For his achievements, he was elected to the prestigious 3M Carlton Society, its highest technical award. Over the years, he was granted more than 30 patents and became internationally known for his research on sol-gel ceramics. In 1984, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the nations most prestigious engineering award. Hal and Timmie lived in Maplewood and Stillwater while they raised their family. Following retirement, they made Naples, Florida their home. Timmie would sadly precede him in death in 2007. He remained in Naples until recently moving to New Richmond to be closer to his family. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved the fresh waters of Canadian fishing or the fairways at Stone Bridge Country Club. He also enjoyed dancing, playing bridge, and his favorite nightcap; scotch on the rocks. Harold was a distinguished, proud man who was generous and always there to help family and friends. He will be dearly missed by his daughter Letty (Sheridan) Sowman of Woodville and her family Angie (Jay Larson) Sheridan of Baldwin, Chad (Kari) Sheridan of Hugo, MN, Emily (Ryan) Ellingboe of Glenwood City, Kim (Justin Anderson) Sheridan of Woodville; his son Dan (Sharon) Sowman of California and his sons Daniel Sowman of California, Garrett (Michelle) Sowman of White Bear Lake, MN, Zachary (Cheri) Sowman of California; his great grandchildren Matthew, Lyle, Nolan, Adrie, Max, Roman, Maddi, Addi, Keegan, Ashlyn and Akaylia; his sister Doris Reiman, and his brother James (Jeanette) Sowman, his special friend Natalie Rych, friends Jim (Jini) Johnson, Jack (Donna) Linn and their daughter and Hal’s care taker for the last year Connie Craighead. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife Gladys “Timmie”, brother Thomas Sowman, brother-in-law Ralph Reiman, and brother-in-law Charles Scribner.
Celebration of Life for Harold Sowman will be Thursday, December 6 from 4 until 7PM at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in HUDSON. Interment will be private. Memorials are preferred. Funeral services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Homes and Countryside Crematory.