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Farrell "Sonny" Lawrence Nowlin Jr.

1928 - 2019

Farrell "Sonny" Lawrence Nowlin Jr. passed away peacefully Feb. 23, 2019. He was 90 years old. Sonny will be missed by his large family and many friends.

Sonny was born in 1928 in Louisiana. His family moved to Fort Bragg, Calif., when he was just a young boy. Sonny was the oldest of four children; two girls and two boys.

Sonny was drafted in 1951 into the U.S. Army where he served with the 24th Infantry Division 19th Infantry Regiment, performing two tours of duty in Korea. Sonny was given a field promotion to sergeant of his heavy mortar company when most of his squad was killed during an attack. Sonny was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star along with a numerous other awards and citations.

When Sonny concluded his military service he returned to Fort Bragg. Sonny was now able to pursue his true passion, rodeo. Sonny participate in rodeos throughout the Pacific Northwest often placing high in the all-around; (scoring points in many events). Sonny would like to be remembered first and foremost as a bull rider as that was the event that mattered most to him.

In 1963 Sonny met Patricia Dye and the two were soon married. Sonny had two boys, Boyd and Brad, from a previous marriage. Patricia had a daughter, Robin, also from a previous marriage. Later they would have a son together, Dwayne. Although Sonny and Patricia would divorce in 1982 they stayed close friends. Patricia was instrumental in Sonny’s care as his health declined.

Sonny worked many years in the woods for the Georgia-Pacific Corporation (GP) as a bulldozer operator (cat-skinner). While working for GP in California he was transferred to the Coos County area in Oregon. Sonny, his wife Patricia and their four kids settled in Bandon.

Health issues forced his retirement from the woods, so he began buying and selling horses working a small ranch in Bandon.

Sonny became involved with weekly horse shows in the area. Sonny’s favorite was Coos County Fair and Rodeo in Myrtle Point, where he once competed and in later years judged the competition. Almost every weekend you could find Sonny and his daughter, Robin, at a horse show. Because of his honesty and knowledge of horses he was almost always called on to judge or time an event.

For many years Sonny was a fixture at Bandon High School sporting events. Even though the last of his children graduated in 1984, Sonny continued to attend sporting events and school functions both home and away until his health finally stopped him.

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Sonny was preceded in death by son, Bradley Nowlin of Ukiah, Calif.; and sisters, Peggy Jean and Bertrice.

He is survived by his oldest son, Boyd Nowlin and his wife, Connie of Ukiah, Calif.; daughter, Robin Siewell and her husband, Tom of Florence; youngest son, Dwayne Nowlin and his wife, Michelle of Keizer; brother, Richard Nowlin of Fort Bragg, Calif.; along with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Sonny will be remembered as a loving father, father In-law, brother, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Sonny is one of the last who could say he lived life his way on his terms. Although hurting much of his life from combat wounds in his legs, that would not heal and a back injury from logging you would never hear him complain. He loved his family, his friends and his country. I once asked Sonny, when his health began to fail, if there was anything he wanted to see or do while he still could. Sonny told me “No, I’ve seen and done all I want to." In his own words: “So everything is settled” (Sonny Nowlin).

A celebration of life will be planned in the spring.

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