Kelly Sowards

Kelly Sowards

Monday, July 7th, 1924 - Saturday, September 19th, 2020
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Lifetime Manassa resident Kelly Sowards, 96, died September 19, 2020 at his home in Manassa, surrounded by his family.

Kelly was born in Manassa, Colorado to Troy Sowards and Vida Jackson Sowards on July 7, 1924. Kelly served in the United States Navy during World War II in the South Pacific. He then attended college at the University of Colorado where he earned a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering. While attending college he met and married the love of his life and eternal companion, Avaline Colleen May. They were married on September 20, 1947 and their marriage was sealed for all time and eternity in the Mesa, Arizona Temple on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1952.

Kelly worked all of his life as a Cattle Rancher. He served as President and Board Member of the Conejos Water Conservancy District for 43 years from 1957 – 2000. He was a Water Warrior and was the head of the San Antonio-Los Pinos-Conejos Acequia Preservation Association that fought for equal water rights for all.

He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held many callings including Bishop, Young Men’s President, and others. He and his wife Avaline served a couples mission in San Francisco in 1990. Travels in their later years took them to South America, New Zealand, Australia, Alaska and to Hawaii 28 times to visit their daughter and family. Kelly enjoyed fishing and especially loved teaching his grandchildren how to fish. He was one of the last true cowboys.

He is survived by his children Melody (Michael) Holland of Kailua, Hawaii, Shaun (Cyndy) Sowards of St. Louis, Missouri and Troy (Camille) Sowards of Manassa, CO; his sister-in-law Coral Sowards of Manassa, CO; as well as 19 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.

A public visitation will be held at the Rogers Family Mortuary in Manassa from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 23rd. A private funeral service will be held on Thursday, September 24th. Interment will follow services in the Sowards Family Cemetery in Manassa.

Rogers Family Mortuary is in care of the arrangements. To leave online condolences, remarks and words of comfort for the family, please visit
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Rogers Family Mortuary, Manassa
    205 N. 3rd Street
    Manassa, Colorado 81141
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Thursday, September 24th, 2020 |
    Thursday, September 24th, 2020
    Manassa Second Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    311 Main Street
    Manassa, Colorado 81141
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Bishop Nathan Shawcroft
  • Interment

    Thursday, September 24th, 2020 |
    Thursday, September 24th, 2020
    Sowards Family Cemetery
    Address Not Available
    Manassa, Colorado 81141
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Kathy Jackson

Posted at 06:52pm
I’m so sorry I’m just acknowledging Kelly’s passing. I was in Utah when he passed away and just now saw his obituary. I want the family to know I thought a great deal of him. He was always so very kind to me. I first met him when I was a young girl in Manassa’s saddle club and he always made me feel welcome. He was a special person and I’m glad I knew him as a friend. I’m sure he is missed.

Diane Woodard

Posted at 06:04pm
I met Kelly Sowards not long ago. Although I do not know him well, one quickly knew that he was exceptionally sharp, very good at seeking truth and sharing it with others. And he had a lighthearted touch at the same time. I am so glad that I was able to meet him. My condolences to his family. Sincerely Diane Woodard

Beth Holmes

Posted at 02:44pm
The last of the four good friends from high school, don't you know, Vaughn sowards, Alfred Jackson and Eddie holmes were there to greet him, all good friends to the end. Rest In Peace Dear Kelly. Beth holmes

Justa commenter Posted at 05:16pm

Kelly was a distant relative and when his mother in law died almost 40 years ago, he was very mean and cruel to my mother while the estate was being distributed. Probably because that side did not belong to the cult of LDS. He breathed air for far too long. Good riddance.

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