Lovell Sovereen, lifelong Midland resident, often joked with his family that he wanted to live long enough to recoup his contributions to Social Security. On Nov. 6, 2012, he passed away at the venerable age of 87, having achieved that ambition.
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Born to parents Clayton and Cora (Sirrine) Sovereen on Oct. 7, 1925, at their Midland home, he arrived as one of a pair. His identical twin brother, Lewis, appeared minutes later, and the two were close their entire lives.
During challenging times, including the Great Depression, this family of five brothers and a sister worked from a young age. For his first paying job, Lovell delivered the Midland Republic, a weekly paper which later became the Midland Daily News. While attending high school, he set pins at the Circle Bowling Alley until graduating from Midland High School in 1944. Uncle Sam assigned him his next job: World War II machine gunner, Fifth Marine Division. Destination: Iwo Jima. He survived the worst battle in Marine Corps history with a shrapnel wound and later was part of the occupied forces in Nagasaki, Japan, just weeks after the atomic bomb explosions.
In August 1946, he returned home to Midland, attended Northeastern School of Commerce in Bay City to fine tune his accounting skills, and met Barbara Jean Prince, a vivacious 17-year-old. They married in 1947, had four children, and remained a devoted couple for 65 years. When asked the secret of their lasting attachment, they both replied laughing, "a good sense of humor."
In his free time, Lovell enjoyed sports--both to play and to watch. He bowled in a league with his brothers, and in a feat that was reported nationally, he and his twin bowled identical pinfall on their team one year. When his son, Scott, served as the placekicker for both Midland High School and later Purdue University, Lovell proudly cheered from the stands. In good weather, he spent many happy hours golfing, and every autumn, he watched Detroit Lions football on Sunday afternoons with his family. He always picked the winner because he switched favorites as the score changed.
For 30 years until his retirement in 1981, Lovell worked at The Dow Chemical Co. as a shipping coordinator and supplemented his income by founding Sovereen Tax Service. He started as a tax preparer in 1947 with 19 returns. By the time he retired in his 80s, he had hundreds of clients, some of whom had been with him for 60 years. Lovell inspired a loyal following, and his son Mark carries on the business and the tradition.
In his later years, he favored long afternoon naps, a good Manhattan, continuous TV coverage of the stock market on CNBC, and his daily installment of Judge Judy (much to his wife's chagrin). His mind remained sharp despite his advancing years, though his legs failed him due to complications from peripheral artery disease.
Lovell often told his wife and children he was well satisfied with his life and if he had it to do over again, he "wouldn't change a thing."
He leaves behind a whole host of people who thought the world of this quiet, unassuming man, including his wife, Barbara; their four children, Deb Boots, Deanne (Heinz Grassl) Sovereen, Mark (Joanne) Sovereen and Scott (Jay) Sovereen; their grandchildren, David (Marcelo Flores) Sovereen, Lisa Sovereen, Matthew (Londa) Boots, Tim (Erica) Boots, Jessica and Stephanie Sovereen; their great-grandchildren, Destiny, Derrick, and Dylan Boots; and his last surviving brother, Melvin. He was preceded in death by his twin, Lewis; brothers, Rollin and Earl; and his sister, Veva Plumer.
Memorial services for Lovell will take place at 3 p.m., Monday afternoon, Nov. 12, 2012, from the Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Home, 1200 W. Wheeler St. The Rev. Michael H. Wilson, associate pastor at St. John's Episcopal, will officiate. Lovell's family will receive friends at the funeral home from 2 p.m. until time of service. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider a contribution to the Midland Community Center, where he spent so many happy hours.
Celebrate with us the life of Lovell Francis Sovereen, our husband, father, and friend.
Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Home - Midland
1200 W. Wheeler St Midland, MI 48640
Published in Midland Daily News on Nov. 17, 2012