DO YOU KNOW? Lon Ed Sowell


DO YOU KNOW? Lon Ed Sowell

Love at first sight–let’s qualify that by saying TRUE LOVE at first sight–CAN happen. Ask Lon Ed Sowell. When home on leave from his duties during World War II, he met Bobbie Kimmey, who was to become the true love of his life for 73+ years!

How did the two of you meet?

I was back home in Huntsville for a thirty day leave from my overseas duties in the U.S. Army Air Corps. While in downtown Huntsville on the square, catching up on the latest news with my buddies, I kept hearing about the pretty girl who worked at the local dime store, Butler & Grimes. They remarked that she was only 14 and was not allowed to date. As we walked around town and came to the store, I decided that I’d like to take a look at this pretty girl, and so I went in and introduced myself. That was about it on that day.

The following day, Sunday, as I was riding around in my truck, I passed a taxi. A hand stuck out the window and waved at me. It was Bobbie. Not one to let a good opportunity pass me by, I turned around and followed the taxi to her house. As we were talking, her momma came out and scolded her saying, “What are you doing talking to that soldier?! You know better than that! Get in this house!” At that point, I introduced myself to her mother and told her that my grandfather had been sheriff of Madisonville for 21 years. That’s all it took. She knew of our family, so I got invited in for supper. You might say that I got my foot in the door!

That first foot was in the door! What happened next?

After eating supper with her family, her mother said, “I sort of like you. You can go out together tonight to the show, but you better be in by 10:00 or I’ll have the law after you!” Well, we did go to the show, and we were back by 10:00. The next day, I told Bobbie that my leave was over and I had to go back overseas…and that I didn’t know when I would return. We didn’t write letters or communicate while we were apart. But, 2 years and 11 days later, I returned. I walked into the dime store, and she came running. We had the biggest hug! The owner of the store gave her the rest of the day off. That’s when I announced that he’d better give her two days off because I was going to marry her! We went to her house where I asked her mom and dad for permission, and they said “Yes!” We were married the next day and have never been apart until her recent passing on May 14th. She truly was and is the love of my life.

What made your marriage so successful?

We loved and trusted each other. That was the main thing. We also enjoyed doing things together. We took trips and collected mementos which are now displayed all over our house. Bobbie also loved riding horses, going on trail rides, and hunting. Our ranch in the Hill Country was a great place to hunt, and several of her trophies hang on the walls of our home. On Tuesdays, she would go to a church meeting with her friends, and when not at church, she would help me. She was a good cook, and I enjoyed starting each day with a plate of her bacon and eggs. She sure did know how to cook! God sent her to me for some reason, and I’m glad he did!

Please share some facts about your military service.

I was a sergeant major in the Army Air Corps, which later became the United States Air Force, and was stationed in England. We flew everywhere. I was a tail gunner, and we flew in several different types of aircraft. We went to North Africa, Italy, Spain, and a number of other places. I did a rather good job as tail gunner, and the pilots were glad to have me on the mission. I know I saved several lives. When I got back home, there were no jobs. A major finally contacted me and asked, “Do you have a job?” I replied that I didn’t yet. He said, “Yeah, you do.” He told me to come to Lackland Air Base in San Antonio. They provided us with a furnished house and everything we needed. We stayed there for over seven and a half years.

What did you do after?

When I finished my military service at Lackland, we moved to Huntsville, I got involved in the construction industry, and have done that ever since. I own two construction companies, B Bar L Enterprises and S&S Construction. Both of these are headquartered in Huntsville, but we serve the surrounding areas, including Madisonville, Conroe, and Livingston. We have done a lot of work in the Livingston area. We build and remodel homes and apartments and have even built a church in Conroe.

What’s next?

I will continue to work, because staying active is what has kept me healthy. And I will enjoy the many memories that my life has been blessed with, especially those with my beautiful Bobbie.

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