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Call now for immediate attention: 772-999-5547

Robert Warren Sowden, Jr.

October 13, 1950 ~ November 01, 2020

Robert Warren Sowden Jr, Bob to all who knew him, passed away on November 1, 2020 in Vero Beach, Florida at the age of 70.
Bob is survived by his wife, Karen; daughters, Zebe (Marc) Alfano and Ailena (Pat) Patterson; grandchildren Logan, Kaitlyn (Corey), Garrett, Tristan, Alison and Braeden; sister Nanci Schreier Donhoff; the mother of his children Brenda Becker; nieces and nephews Chuck (Carrie), Paiton (Troy), Tiffany (Shawn), Joshua, Charity, and Sarah (Asa); stepsister, Julie and half sister Carole; and his stepmother Elizabeth Sowden and her 8 sons and daughters. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Polly Ann and Bob Sowden.
Bob was born on October 13, 1950 in Wiesbaden, Germany. He graduated from Florida Technological University (now University of Central Florida) in 1976 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After moving to Melbourne, Florida, Bob began working for Harris Corporation as a Systems Engineer retiring after over 30 years. He was blessed with two daughters, Zebe and Ailena. He was a Vietnam Veteran serving in the Army. He married Karen Bargman Knockel in 2007 living in Vero Beach, Florida.
Bob was a devoted father. He coached his daughters’ softball teams forming a special bond with all the girls he coached along the way. With his daughters by his side, he loved watching sports, listening to music and going to games at Dodgertown. Bob was an avid boater and member of the Melbourne Yacht Club. Known as Captain Bob to many, he sailed extensively racing various sailboats locally and regionally. With his wife Karen they cruised Florida and the Bahamas making nearly 20 crossings to enjoy the Abacos. Bob loved spending time with his family and friends, golfing and traveling cross country in his Corvette.
His granddaughter Kaitlyn expressed what we all feel so deeply: It is so hard to say goodbye to someone you have never known life without. Papa, I know you are holding up a glass of Jameson right now in heaven, so cheers to you, a man who has been there for every single life event, a wonderful, caring and patient father to his two crazy daughters, a proud papa that passed along his love of fishing, boating, baseball, Corvette rides and blueberry pancakes to each of his 6 grandchildren, a loving husband to Karen, a smart ass friend and brother who was never short of a witty response and lastly, a soon to be great-grandfather (credit to Logan and Taylor). We are all so thankful for how you have taken care of us throughout the years and I hope you know how much we all love and appreciate you. I also hope you have Jimmy Buffet on repeat and are wasting away in Margaritaville! You are deeply loved and will forever be missed.
The family requests that you leave memories and stories of Bob to share on his memorial site,


Dolores Judd

November 5, 2020, 7:04 pm

To a wonderful ex-son in law who was a wonderful father to my two granddaughters. May you rest in peace. Dee

Taryn Anne Reilly

November 6, 2020, 12:54 pm

Karen, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you find peace and comfort from your friends and family. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Bob, it’s abundantly clear that he was a wonderful man and the love of your life.
Here is a link to the Robert Warren Sowden Jr Fund. The link is:
In Bob’s memory.

MaryAnn Holden

November 7, 2020, 6:55 pm

Memories….Not lost

Here’s to ya Bob it was always a pleasure to meet up with you — your wittiness, positive comments, and smiling face are ever present.
Lots of good times on the water, especially when you repaired an overheated engine using a pineapple juice can while Karen and I drank the pineapple juice and cooled off in the intracoastal waterway. Thanks for being a friend and accepting me into your sailing world. You know you are missed!
Karen, looking forward to meeting up again soon. MaryAnn

Karen Schrimpf

November 9, 2020, 7:38 pm

Dear Karen and extended Bob family,
Getting together with you and Bob was always a special treat. I’ve known you two for 30 years. Throughout those years, Bob was always positive about everything. Never an unkind word. Always included everyone to join him on the boat. Many, many fun nights cruising the Indian River. Including the night we listened to Buffet too long, ran out the battery, and had to paddle back using brooms and pots! We miss him so, as do you. Love to you all and hold onto those wonderful memories.

Laura A Chance

November 9, 2020, 8:40 pm

He was daddy #2 from about 7th grade to my senior year in high school. I have fond memories of “learning” to sail, meaning “don’t fall out of the boat,” going to Regattas, being teased for everything under the sun, and given the “I can’t believe you girls” look. He laughed at our shenanigans and was surprisingly cool and collected when we were not on our best behavior. I especially remember a certain Regatta that Zebe and I were particularly unruly, and he didn’t come unglued. As well as eating all the cookie dough before cooking it….oops!! Although it’s been years since I have seen him, I will forever hold a special place in my heart for him as my second dad. Love to you all!! Laura Jane

Zebe Sowden Alfano

November 10, 2020, 9:38 pm

Hello friends and family of my dad, Please go to his memorial page and leave your condolences, memories, stories, add pictures, videos, tributes and find updated information on upcoming arrangements on how we plan to celebrate his beautiful life. His memorial page is located at: much love, Zebe

Gary Hanbaum

November 11, 2020, 2:59 pm

My sincerest condolences to Karen and Bob’s extended family. Bob was a wonderful friend who I met ten years ago at MYC. We became golfing buddies and often rode together in the cart. I became a mainstay on Banyan with the race committee after Bob told me “you are always welcome”. My favorite times were the 19th hole and back at the dock where I had my first Jameson. Bob was like a brother to a many of us and a very dear friend. He will be greatly missed.

Mark Voris

November 17, 2020, 1:14 am

You had a big heart, a bigger laugh, and will be sorely missed by those of us you befriended.
Thank you for all the fond memories of Friday night cruises out of MYC.
Fair winds and following seas on your final voyage Bob.

Robin Sowden Carter

April 8, 2022, 7:35 pm

Nanci, today I once again turned to Google in attempt to locate family members. I typed Bobby’s name first with an immediate showing. Stunned is an understatement as I saw his obituary. I am so very sorry and deeply saddened to know Bobby is gone.

I cherish all of my vivid and most loved memories of my time spent with both of you. Thank you for loving me so deeply as was growing up.

I will welcome communication from you.

With all of my love.
Robin Sowden Carter


November 20, 2022, 8:09 pm

Bob , I miss you more every day! Till we meet again!! Love you, Nanci


September 5, 2023, 12:12 am

Bob I miss you so very much! I’ve loved and respected you forever! We had a hard life but we both ex celled @ Especially you! I’ve always admired you!! Love you forever hope to see you soon!!

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