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04/25/18 - NNHS Newsletter - Sonny Cowling

Frank Houston Cowling
(1930 - 23 Apr 2018)

Newport News High School Class of June 1948

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,

  We have still more sad news today. Sonny Cowling, stellar athlete from the Class of June 1948, passed away in Newport News on Monday, April 23, 2018 at the age of 88. 

    He was the brother of Willis Cowling, Bobby Cowling, Betty Cowling Spahr Bowen, and Lou Cowling ('43), all of whom predeceased him.

From the Daily Press - 04/25/18:

    Frank Houston Cowling


    NEWPORT NEWS - Frank Houston Cowling, better known as Sonny to associates, team mates and friends, made his final tackle through the Pearly Gates on Monday, April 23, 2018.

The fifth child and the fourth son of Samuel Willis Cowling, Sr. and Louise Koontz Cowling, Sonny was born in Newport News and spent his entire life on The Peninsula. Boats, water and the outdoors figured prominently in Sonny's childhood and formed the basis of his love of sailing, boating and sports as an adult.

He ran track, played basketball and football for Newport News High School, and later accepted a full football scholarship to The College of William & Mary. He always credited his many supportive professors for helping him graduate. 

Sonny Cowling
  Sonny served in the U.S. Army as a member of the 11th and 82nd Airborne before beginning his 35 year career in insurance with Carpenter Brothers and settling into domestic life with Patricia Anne Hopkins. They raised son, Frank Houston Cowling Jr. - a partner with S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. who lives in Chesapeake with wife Vicki and their two children, Savanna and Cole - and daughter, Judith Ladd Cowling, who is an artist/designer/writer living in Virginia Beach.

Refereeing high school football, being a line judge for professional tennis tournaments, playing a mean game of tennis and golf plus competitive sailing kept Sonny smiling and in the sun.

After his first wife succumbed to breast cancer in 1991, Sonny met and fell in love with Susan Slayton. They married in 1995 and began a life filled with boating, bridge, music, golf and travel.

He was President of the German Club and the Hampton Roads Assembly, an usher at St. John's Church, board member of The Order of The White Jacket at William & Mary and a member of the Poole's Grant Condominium Board of Directors.

Sonny was the last surviving sibling preceded by Willis Cowling, Bobby Cowling, Betty Cowling Spahr Bowen, and Dr. Lawrence Cowling.

A funeral will be held April 27 at 1 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church. The family welcomes friends at a reception immediately following at The Hampton Yacht Club.

If you wish to make a donation in his memory, please consider St. John's Episcopal Church, 100 W. Queens Way, Hampton, VA 23669 - St. Paul's Episcopal, 221 34th St., Newport News 23607, and Altzheimer's Association , PO Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press on April 25
, 2018.
View Guest Book


April 25, 2018 

~ A Loved One

April 25, 2018 

Chip and I were so sad when we found out this morning. We send out love and blessings to you Susan and the whole Cowling family. We will miss him so very much.

With love and sympathy,
Chip and Vicki

~ Vicki Spahr, Newport News, Virginia

April 25, 2018   

To Frank and Judy, I just read the obit for your dad. I am sorry for your loss. Even though it's been a long time, I still remember your dad with fondness. He carried himself as a winner does. I learned some things I didn't know about him in the obituary. Thank you for including all that stuff. My mom and dad have passed away recently, and I think about them each day as I know you will your dad and mom. May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with you both.

April 25, 2018 

We treasure our wonderful memories of Sonny on Hilton Terrace, playing tennis, sailing and the Inland Waterway trip with Buster! Love, Jo and Arthur

~ Jo Wildman, Clayton, North Carolina

April 25, 2018  

Frank, Vicki, Judy and Families. I was so very sad to learn of your Father's passing. I know it is a tough time for you all, but memories of a life well lived will help give you some peace. I am thinking of you all at this time.

April 25, 2018    


April 25, 2018  

Harry and I dearly loved Jimmy, he was the sweetest and kindest man we've ever known. You are all in our prayers. - See more at:

Dear Judy, Frank and family,
I am so sorry to hear of your dear dad's passing. I have so many fond memories of him, and know you will miss him terribly. He was such a kind and caring man. A life well lived.
You are all in my prayers and I wish I could be there to give you both a hug and express my deepest sympathy.


April 26, 2018  

~ Carmen Maddocks, Virginia Beach, Virginia

April 27, 2018    



April 27, 2018   



April 27, 2018  


April 27, 2018  


   Our sincerest sympathies are extended to Sonny's family and friends at this difficult time.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER! We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309

The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Done

Text: Anonymous Latin; translated by Francis Pott (1832-1909)
Music: Giovanni P. da Palestrina; arranged by W.H. Monk (1823-1889)
Tune: VICTORY, Meter: 888 with Alleluias

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The strife is o'er, the battle done,
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions hath dispersed:
let shout of holy joy outburst.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The three sad days are quickly sped,
he rises glorious from the dead:
all glory to our risen Head!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
He closed the yawning gates of hell,
the bars from heaven's high portals fell;
let hymns of praise his triumphs tell!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Lord! by the stripes which wounded thee,
from death's dread sting thy servants free,
that we may live and sing to thee.

"The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Done" midi (extracted with the kind assistance of my son, Nathaniel Harty of IL)
and lyrics courtesy of - 10/26/10
Thanks, Nathaniel!

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of 01/27/05

Animated Army and Navy Flags clip art courtesy of - 06/18/03

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

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