Dora Sipowicz Sowell, age 102, was born August 14, 1918, in Córdoba, Argentina to Juan Sipowicz and Dora Auchterlonie de Sipowicz. At age three months Dora contracted and survived the 1918 worldwide pandemic, Spanish Influenza. At age 101 she also contracted and survived Covid-19. Her story of survival was featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June, 2020. She died on March 30, 2021.
Dora graduated as a Registered Nurse from the British Hospital in Buenos Aires in 1940 and married Maurice Judson Sowell later that year in Buenos Aires. She and Maurice emigrated to the United States in 1951, and she became a naturalized US citizen in 1955. They settled in the Chattanooga area where Maurice was employed by DuPont. They later built a home on Lake Chickamauga in Soddy Daisy.
Dora began her nursing career in Chattanooga at Newell Hospital where she served as 3rd floor supervisor for many years. In the late 1960s after returning to nursing school to update her credentials, she continued her nursing career at Moccasin Bend State Mental Hospital until her retirement. After retirement she opened Dora’s Needle Nook in Soddy Daisy to pursue her interest in needle crafts.
Throughout her long life Dora enjoyed numerous activities and pursued many interests. She held season tickets to the Chattanooga Symphony for fifty years and regularly attended opera and theater performances in Chattanooga and Atlanta. She was a member of the Chattanooga Knitting Guild and for many years held weekly knitting gatherings in her home. Cooking, entertaining, and hosting events in her home were her greatest joys, as well as the yearly family camping trips in the Smokies and Myrtle Beach. A gifted storyteller, Dora delighted her friends and family with amusing anecdotes gathered over the years. Dora and Maurice frequently opened their home to many relatives and friends who came to stay for overnight or longer visits. She also loved to travel and made several memorable trips to South America and Europe with friends and family. Dora was always involved in church and community life. In the early 1960s she taught English to Cuban refugees and throughout her retirement, she spoke to many groups about mental health. She was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Soddy Daisy and a former member of Red Bank Baptist and Northside Presbyterian. She also participated in the many neighborhood functions of her beloved Shore Acres community of Possum Creek during her retirement years and was an active member of Daisy Women’s Club.
For the last two and a half years Dora resided in Atlanta to be close to her children. The family wishes to thank Renaissance on Peachtree for the excellent care she received there in assisted living. The family would also like to thank the entire Budd Terrace community who cared for her tirelessly during the long pandemic months of 2020.
Dora was preceded in death by her husband, Maurice Judson Sowell; by her daughter Caroline S. Mathis; her son-in-law, Michael Downing; his son, Ivan Downing; and her six siblings: Daniel Sipowicz, Alexander Sipowicz, Edwin Sipowicz, Haydee Millarc, Henry Sipowicz, and Betty Moore. She is survived by her children: Phyllis Irby-Downing of Atlanta; Lucy S. Kirby (Brian) of Nottinghamshire, UK; Denise S. Johnson (William) of Atlanta; and Maurice Judson Sowell, Jr. (Nina) of Charlotte, NC. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Sidney Irby of Atlanta; Peter Mathis of Richmond, VA; Lida Buckley of Franklin, TN; and Benjamin Sowell of Arlington, VA. Her four step-grandchildren are: Jay Johnson of Atlanta, Christopher Johnson of Atlanta, Martin Kirby of the UK, and Angie Chapman of the UK. Also surviving are three great-grandchildren and nine step great-grandchildren. In addition, Dora has over fifty nieces, nephews, and cousins from the Sipowicz, Sowell, and Bagby families in Argentina, the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, and Brazil.
The family will receive visitors from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6, at Chattanooga Funeral Home North, 5401 Highway 53, Hixson, with a graveside service to follow officiated by Reverend Peter Choi of First Presbyterian Church of Soddy Daisy.
Donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Soddy Daisy, 10612 Dayton Pike, Soddy Daisy, Tn. 37379.
If you aren’t comfortable in attending the service you may join us live for the service at https://www.facebook.com/chattanooganorthchapel/
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Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, Tn. 37343.