SOWARDS, Edward L. "Ed" 82, of Hickory, NC, passed away Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Newton, NC, after a brief illness. Born June 19, 1930 in Rockford, IL, the son of the late Charles L. Sowards & Mary Denk Sowards Moore. Ed was a 1948 graduate from Rockford East High School. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy
during the Korean Conflict
. After working as a sign painter from the age of 16 for Shostrom Signs, he began his own sign painting business in Norfolk, VA, while still in the service. He returned to Rockford and continued sign painting until joining Bud Doyle's real estate office in 1955. He became President of the Associate Members Division of the Rockford Real Estate Board in 1959. Ed founded and was president of Sowards Realtors from 1960 until his initial retirement in 1982. During his career, he served as President of the Rockford Board of Realtors. He also served as President of the Rockford Sales and Marketing Executive Club and was on the Board of Governors. He was a CRB (Certified Residential Broker) and taught real estate classes at Rock Valley Community College as well as held seminars nationwide. He relocated to St. Petersburg in 1982 where he continued another business he founded, SCORE Computer Systems. Ed said he never worked a day in his life because he so loved being a realtor. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed playing courses throughout the country. He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Billie; son, Gary and wife; daughter, Jane; son, Todd and wife; stepson, Brian and wife; his stepdaughter, Elizabeth; and sister, Mary Mae. He is also survived by a granddaughter; and three grandsons; several nieces & nephews; and his beloved dog, Mishka. Arrangements entrusted to Alexander Funeral Service in Taylorsville, NC.