Obituaries detail

Floyd William Sowers

Floyd William Sowers, educator, coach, contrarian, and prolific Facebook satirist, died June 19, 2020, with his family by his side.  He was 72.    

 

Floyd was a true promoter, always willing to lead the charge for causes important to him and looking for ways to honor the achievements of others.  He had a gift for seeing the good in people and believing in their potential.  And he firmly believed that showing up imperfectly was far better than not showing up at all.  So it is no surprise that when a massive stroke turned Floyd’s life upside down in 2018, people from every corner of his life rallied around him, bringing full-circle the lessons of perseverance, second chances, and constant learning that he had imparted to them. 

 

Floyd was born on December 14, 1947, in Elkhart, Indiana.  He was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, Wakarusa High, where he was a star basketball player and also got straight As in music—a real life Troy Bolton.

 

Perhaps a sign of things to come, Floyd met his wife, Bonnie, in 1968 at a state-run mental hospital in Westville, Indiana.  They eventually settled in Kansas, where Floyd spent his career as a special education teacher and a coach.  Although he coached everything from volleyball to golf, his real love was basketball.  He coached women’s basketball at Bethel College from 1989 to 1999, where he was the first coach in program history to eclipse 100 career wins.

 

Floyd was also a feminist—a “girl dad” long before Kobe made it cool.  He encouraged his daughters to do anything they wanted to do and be anything they wanted to be.  He would die all over again if we had your attention like this and didn’t mention that Stephanie is a partner at a major law firm in Kansas City, Liz is the head coach for women’s flag football at Ottawa University, and Katie is an offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers.

 

If you knew Floyd, you undoubtedly knew these things.  He probably told you about them every time he saw you.  Every.  Single.  Time.  

 

Floyd excelled at giving unsolicited advice, planning trips, beating 4-year-olds at Candy Land, rearranging furniture, FaceTiming with his grandkids, and home-improvement projects that were almost up to code.  He also thought Mamma Mia 2 was better than the original.

 

He despised overcooked steak, hypocrites, formality, relinquishing control of the television remote, and Bill O’Reilly.  In reverse order.

 

An avid golfer, Floyd could often be found at the Hesston Golf Course yukking it up with his friends or online planning his next big golf vacation.  He sunk eight lifetime holes-in-one and had a single-digit handicap.

 

After winning a golf tournament over Memorial Day weekend in 2018, Floyd suffered a major stroke, which left him aphasic and partially paralyzed.  Although he could no longer enjoy many of the things that defined his life until that point, he still took extreme pride in his family and spent invaluable time with his grandchildren, learning and interacting together.  The family would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to all the medical professionals who treated Floyd over the past two years.

 

While Floyd’s family grieves the loss of their loving, tell-it-like-it-is “Silly Grampy,” they find comfort that he is no longer shackled by the disabilities from his stroke.  Floyd had an opinion about everything, and not being able to share those opinions may actually have hastened his death.  Undoubtedly, one of his greatest regrets was being unable to post on Facebook when Trump was impeached or when Roger Goodell finally admitted that the NFL was wrong in its handling of the protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

 

Floyd is survived by his wife of 52 years, Bonnie Kauffman Sowers; daughters Stephanie (Dion) Sankar, Liz Sowers, and Katie Sowers; grandchildren Clara, Sam, and Quinn Sankar; siblings Linda Waddell, Sharon Sowers, Richard Sowers, and Randall Sowers; and a host of beloved in-laws, nieces and nephews, and close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Esther Sowers.  

 

Due to a complete lack of leadership from the White House in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration of Floyd’s life has been delayed until 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, 2021, at Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, Kansas.  

 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Floyd’s name to the Milo and Clara Kauffman Student Aid Fund at Hesston College or to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

 

Finally, the family asks that—in honor of Floyd—you wash your hands, check your privilege, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, and vote Democrat this November. 

 

Condolences

Grace & David Sankar Jul 05 ,2020

Close family friend ,Yonkers ,New York

Our deepest condolences to the Sowers family. Floyd Entered our lives and was part of our extended family when he became our son’s father-in-law. He gained our love and respect and he will be missed. We love you Floyd Rest In Peace

Michelle Kobayashi Jul 05 ,2020

Niece ,Colorado Springs ,Colorado

What an appropriate tribute to an amazing man! I feel so fortunate to be one of the many people to experience Floyd’s love, kindness, humor and grace. Uncle Floyd taught me to play golf (I was not good), the love of watching live basketball games, and how to argue in a good natured manner. I will forever picture him arguing with Grandma at the dining table, chuckling all the while. Uncle Floyd also taught me how to accept and empathize with people from all walks of life. During college, a number of my friends were kids who had Floyd as a teacher. They told me numerous stories of how Floyd empowered them and what an anchor he had been during hard times in their life. Floyd had faith in people, often encouraging them to transcend expectations. Above all, what I will remember most about Uncle Floyd is how well he demonstrated his love, pride and devotion to his family. He was always talking about something Bonnie did at the college, an activity of Steph at school or some feat Liz and Kate achieved on the field with a grin and admiration. I remember him often challenging his girls, while always showing his unwavering belief in your power. In this later years, Floyd’s absolute adoration for his grandchildren was obvious. (I remember laughing with Steph late one night while discussing his facebook posts about Clara.) I will miss my Uncle Floyd and will think of him every time I watch women’s basketball, glimpse a beautiful golf course, hear a song from Les Mis or feel pride for the successes of his talented daughters. He was a beautiful man with a huge heart. Love to you Bonnie, Steph, Liz, Kate, Dion and the sweet babies. You are in our hearts. May Floyd’s legacy continue through his precious daughters and grandchildren. I look forward to hugging you all in person soon!

Mike kamerer Jul 06 ,2020

Coach of Liz ,Parkville ,Missouri

Thank you for raising amazing and beautiful daughters. Your a true hero and a gift from god.

Melanie Zuercher Jul 07 ,2020

Bethel College ,North Newton ,Kansas

I did not work at Bethel College while Coach Sowers was there, but I have heard a lot about him and wish I would have known him, especially after reading this tribute. From what I've heard, he would be more than pleased with this public remembrance, not least because even in his obituary, you made many of his opinions perfectly clear. I know you will never stop missing him, but be assured his spirit and humor live on in you. All good wishes to every one of you, as you grieve and as you laugh.

Amy M Schmidt Jul 08 ,2020

Basketball player (89-93) at Bethel College ,Newton ,Kansas

Just love what you have written about Floyd - a great tribute! I personally am very grateful for the time and energy he gave to women's basketball at Bethel. It wasn't easy taking over when he did and starting from scratch. I appreciated the care and fatherly love he gave to all of us players. And he didn't dwell on a loss, but moved on and enjoyed the bus ride home with us. I will always remember our fantastic trip to Europe to play ball there one summer - what a wonderful, learning experience. I appreciate the effort he undertook to make this happen for our team. I also am so grateful that Floyd made his family a part of basketball too - Bonnie, you were such an enthusiastic support to our team, and the girls were always fun to have around! Floyd will be remembered with love and smiles! Sending my love and prayers to the family.

Don Cameron Jul 08 ,2020

Friend ,Lenexa ,Kansas

I have always treasured our time coaching together. Floyd Sowers, A great man !

Marie Jul 08 ,2020

Old friend ,Wichita’ ,Kansas

Bonnie and Floyd’s girls What a beautiful tribute to Floyd. I am so glad you could be with him as he passed on. He truly was a great man. I hope you are taking care. Voting Democratic Marie

Loretta Sears Jul 11 ,2020

sister-in-law ,Tiskilwa ,Illinois

When Floyd joined the Kauffman family 52 years ago, we were all blessed with his humor, honesty & political wisdom! Treasuring so many fun times spent with him & his family! Floyd challenged us to be our true self as he loved diversity & truthful expressions from others...he was my favorite Facebook poster & I truly miss his input the past two years! Bonnie, Steph, Liz & Katie have been such an inspiration for the compassionate care they have given 24-7 to maintain his comfort & calm spirit! Looking forward to Nov. 3 just for Precious Floyd!

Toni Faulkner Aug 05 ,2020

Greg Kauffman’s (Diana’s Aunt) ,Lee’s Summit ,Missouri

I was sorry to hear about your loss but Floyd sounded like a wonderful man. I wish I could have met him at a family event because we would have gotten long wonderfully. Floyd has my same values and I know we would have been friends. What a amazing man he was. God Bless Him and May he Rest In Peace.