staff8Dorothy Gray Sowell
Vice President Emeritus

Dorothy is a native of the Santa Fe Community in Maury County, Tennessee, and the daughter of Sam E. and Gertrude Gray Gray. She married the late Frank F. Sowell in Columbia, Tennessee, on May 11, 1943. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1993. She is the mother of four children: Jane Gray "Bunny" Sowell; Tony (Edith Sue Delk) Sowell; Mrs. Louis Harvey (Beth) Fischer; Miss Sammye A. Sowell, all of Columbia and enjoys her grandchildren, Matthew Freeman (Laura McKay) Sowell; Andrew Delk (Shellie Singleton) Sowell; Meribeth Gray Sowell; William Chaffin Fischer, John Louis Fischer, and Samuel Alexander Sowell; great-granddaughters, Ann Sowell, Caroline Sowell,  Lexi Sowell, Meg Sowell, Amelia Sowell, Gwynn Sowell; great-grandsons, Will Sowell and Russ Sowell. During World War II, Dorothy worked at Helm's Jewelry and Southern Bell Telephone Company. While working at the telephone office on South Garden Street next to Oakes & Nichols, she met her future husband. After Frank's induction into the Army Air Corps, she joined Frank at various Air Bases in Florida, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he was shipped overseas. She returned to Columbia and continued to work for the duration of the war and was active in the USO. She is a member of First United Methodist Church and has been an avid gardener and rosarian for many years. She and Frank traveled extensively overseas and for a number of years enjoyed domestic travel in their motor home. Since his death she has continued to travel in the United States and abroad. She is a former member of Board of Directors and Vice President Emeritus of Oakes & Nichols, Inc., (1969 - 1988). She was a member of the Board of Trustees, Maury Regional Hospital from 1985 to 2004; served as a member, Building and Grounds Committee, Human Resources Committee, Joint Conference Committee; former chairman Joint Conference Committee; former member Advisory Board. Since her retirement as Trustee, she continues to serve the Board in several capacities. She was a Charter Member of the Maury County Hospital Auxiliary, having served 50 years in 2004. She held the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, Chairman of Scholarship, Coffee Shop and various other committees and other volunteer assignments for over 40 years and currently serves as an Ambassador for Maury Regional Medical Center. She was State President, Tennessee Hospital Association Council on Auxiliaries (1984 - 1986); member of Council (1978 - 1986). Dot served as Co-chairman (with Frank) of Maury County Homecoming '86 (1983 - 1986). Major projects: Maury County Community Band established: HITHER & YON published; co-chaired fundraising for Aquatic Center at Columbia State Community College (over $300,000.00 raised locally). She was Co-chairman, Maury County "TENNESSEE 200" Committee; Member Maury County Chamber of Commerce-former member, Board of Directors; served as Secretary, Treasurer; chaired committee which established Maury County Clean Community System; also served on Tourism Committee; graduate of Leadership Maury (Class of 1990 - 1991); Maury County Election Official for 30 years; President of Rose Hill Endowment Association (1965 - 2005); Member of the James K. Polk Memorial Association Board of Directors, chaired several committees; elected President 1997. She is a member of Maury County Chapter, APTA; Maury County Historical Society; Columbia Chapter, American Field Service; Jane Knox Chapter, DAR; Captain James Madison Sparkman Chapter, UDC; Maury County Rose Society; Cosmopolitan Literary Club; serves as a volunteer and avid supporter of the Maury County Archives. Honors: Maury County Bar Association; Liberty Bell Award - 1987 (jointly with Frank); Columbia Civitan Club Maury County Outstanding Citizen - 1988; Maury County March of Dimes Citizen of the Year - 1992 (jointly with Frank); Lucille Queener Courtney Community Service Award - 1996; and most recently in November, 2014, was honored by the Tennessee Hospital Association with the 2014 Meritorius Service Award.


Tony SowellTony Sowell - Corporation President
Licensed Funeral Director/Certified Pre-Need Consultant

Tony is the son of Dorothy Gray Sowell and the late Frank F. Sowell and a third generation member of the Sowell family associated with the firm. He attended Columbia Military Academy for several years and is a 1968 graduate of Columbia Central High School. He later attended Columbia State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Martin. A Licensed Funeral Director since 1972, Tony worked around the funeral home since teenage years and currently serves as President of Oakes & Nichols, Inc.  He has been active in committee work with the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association and Selected Independent Funeral Directors and served on the Convention Committee for the National Funeral Directors Association Convention in Nashville. He is a member of Graymere Church of Christ, Columbia Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow, Columbia Masonic Lodge, Columbia Elks Club, Maury County Chamber of Commerce and American Quarter Horse Association. His love for animals began as a young boy when he spent much of his time on his grandparent's Turkey Creek farm between Santa Fe and Water Valley. Tony pursued his interest in horses working with his children in Pony Club activities over the years. He has participated in numerous Team Roping Competitions in various states with his sons and other partners. Over the years, he has collected several wagons and other horse and mule drawn vehicles. Tony and his wife, Susie Delk Sowell, live on Turkey Creek Stock Farm and have three children, Matt, is associated with Oakes & Nichols; Andy, is a commercial pilot for Southwest Air Lines; and Meribeth, who teaches Kindergarten at Joseph Brown Elementary School; and eight wonderful grandchildren


Jane Gray (Bunny ) SowellJane Gray Sowell - Corporation Secretary
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

In Loving Memory


 
Jane Gray "Bunny" Sowell, funeral director, embalmer, co-owner of Oakes & Nichols, Inc. and member of Tennessee State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, died October 5, 2015.


Susie Delk SowellSue Delk Sowell - Corporation Treasurer
Licensed Funeral Director
Certified Pre-Need Consultant

Susie , daughter of Edith Whiteside Delk and the late Mayfield Delk, has been associated with Oakes & Nichols since her graduation from Columbia Central High School in 1969. In 1972 she married Tony Sowell and they have three children. Matt is employed at Oakes & Nichols, Andy is a professional pilot, and Meribeth teaches Kindergarten at Joseph Brown Elementary School. She is the doting grandmother of eight wonderful grandchildren. She has been a licensed funeral director since January 1991. She is also a licensed life insurance agent and has served on advisory boards for two insurance companies. Susie enjoys traveling and doing things with her family. She especially enjoys anything and everything about DISNEY.


Matt SowellMatthew Freeman Sowell
Licensed Funeral Director
Certified Pre-Need Consultant

Matt is the oldest son of Tony and Susie Sowell. He was named for his grandfather Frank Freeman Sowell; who was associated with Oakes & Nichols for more than 50 years and was President Emeritus of Oakes & Nichols at the time of his death in 1997. Matt grew up in the funeral business and has been employed at Oakes & Nichols since he was old enough to hold a shovel. He is married to Laura Katherine Sowell and has four wonderful chil;dren. Matt went to high school at Columbia Academy where he was voted friendliest, played football, sang in the chorus, and was awarded the Columbia Noon Rotary Club's "Service Above Self" award. Matt has participated in equestrian events since the age of 10. His favorite is the Rodeo event of Team Roping. He later went to Freed-Hardeman University where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in management. After graduating from Freed-Hardeman University he immediately began working at Oakes & Nichols as a director's assistant. In June 2001 Matt recieved his Funeral Director's license from the State of Tennessee Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Matt is very active in the Columbia Noon Rotary Club where he has been a member since 1998 and became a Paul Harris Fellow in 2002. He is also an ambassador for Maury Alliance and a 2003 graduate of Leadership Maury. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Leadership Maury Alumni Association. Matt and his family worship at the Greenfield Bend Church of Christ.


Jeff HargroveJeff Hargrove
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer
Certified Pre-Need Consultant

Jeff, a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1980, concentrates most of his time to pre-need funeral consulting. He is a licensed pre-need agent and life insurance agent. He has been a member of the Oakes & Nichols staff since his graduation from the Gupton-Jones School of Mortuary Science in Atlanta, Georgia in 1979. He has also had training on eye-enucleation at the East Tennessee Eye Bank and has attended disaster classes held by the state association. Jeff is a long time member of the Georgia Academy of Graduate Embalmers and attends yearly continuing education classes and seminars. A Maury County native and graduate of Tullahoma High School in 1978, he has a son, Zane. Jeff enjoys sharing his hobbies with Zane, which include salt and fresh water fly-fishing and golf. The Hargroves are members of First Presbyterian Church.


Shane Bradford Shane Bradford
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer
Certified Pre-Need Consultant

A licensed funeral director and embalmer, Shane began his association with the firm in September 1990. He was born and reared in Marshall County and graduated from Marshall County High School in 1988. He graduated from John A. Gupton Mortuary College in 1991 and is certified by the National Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards. He has taken numerous courses and attended continuing education seminars during his career, including Disaster Preparedness Training and Certification. Additionally, he holds a Tennessee Insurance License. Shane is a member of First Presbyterian Church, is an avid antique collector, and enjoys gardening.

 

Doug BrownDoug Brown
Licensed Funeral Director
Certified Pre-Need Consultant

Doug, a licensed funeral director, joined the staff of Oakes & Nichols in 1990. He is married to Janice Looper Brown, an R.N., and has two sons, Tony and Danny and two grandchildren.  A native Columbian, he is a 1961 graduate of Columbia Central High School, attended Columbia Business College, and Columbia State Community College. For a number of years, he was in retail and route sales with Sealtest, Frito-Lay, and was a Life Insurance Agent with American General Life Insurance Company. He is an active member in the Berea Church of Christ where he leads singing. Doug retired in 2011, but continues to assist with services and other duties. In their spare time, Doug and Janice enjoying camping in their motor home.


JASON

Jason Wright
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer/Certified Cremation Services Provider

 Jason is the son of Vicki Elliott and the late James Wright and was reared by his great uncle, Virgil White and great aunt, the late Doris White.  The Columbia native is a graduate of Columbia Academy and a 2002 graduate of Columbia State Community College.  Following in the footsteps of his uncle Doug Brown, he joined our staff in May 2013 as Apprentice Funeral Director and Embalmer ranking in the top 10% of his December 2013 graduating class at John A. Gupton College of Mortuary Science. Jason, his wife Robyn, daughter Emily, and son Clayton attend Graymere Church of Christ.  In his free time, he enjoys volunteering with community theater, going to rodeos and spending time with his family and his bassethound, Beauregard.


Juanita Beard SmithJuanita Beard Smith
Office Administrator

Juanita is a native of Maury County and a 1972 graduate of Columbia Central High School. She began her association with Oakes & Nichols in June 1977 and was employed full time until December 1981 at which time she moved to California for a short period. After a stint on the West Coast and two children later, she agreed to fill in for medical leave for six weeks in 1990; and is still here. She is married to William J. Smith, who is retired from Cytec Industries in Mt. Pleasant; and they have two children, Elizabeth and Michael and two lovely granddaughters. She is a member of Knob Creek Baptist Church.


Lauren Gardner MarshallLauren Gardner Marshall
Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

Lauren is a lifelong resident of Maury County and attended Santa Fe High School where she participated in many activities, was a delegate to Girls' State, excelled in sports, especially basketball and was 7th in her 2008 graduating class.  Shortly after graduation, she became associated with Oakes & Nichols and in 2009 she graduated from John A. Gupton College of Mortuary Science where she was awarded a scholarship by the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association.   A lifetime member of Goshen United Methodist Church, she has been active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship and participated in Mission trips.   Lauren has served as a volunteer with The People's Table, Angel Tree, and the Christmas Shopping for the Needy program.   She is the daughter of Kim and Randy Gardner of Santa Fe and has a brother, Alex.   She and her husband, Josh Marshall, have two daughters, Saylee and Paige and twin sons, Johnson and James.   She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and attending tractor pulling events.


 
W. L. CulbersonW. L. Culberson
Unlicensed Funeral Assistant

W. L.  was born and reared in Columbia by his late parents, Elizabeth Tillery and Felix Culberson. He is a 1966 graduate of Columbia Central High School and attended Columbia State Community College.   W. L. served in the Tennessee Army National Guard for 35 years, achieving the rank of First Sergeant prior to his retirement in 2007.  He has been a High School football referee for 26 years and enjoys all types of sports. Active in church and community affairs, he is a member of First Baptist Church, Columbia Elks Lodge #686, and Herbert Griffin American Legion Post #19.  He and his wife, Debbie Staggs Culberson are the parents of three daughters and doting grandparents of three granddaughters. He also has a sister, Beth Culberson Clay.


Kenny HanvyKenny Hanvy
Unlicensed Funeral Assistant

Bill StewartBill Stewart
Unlicensed Funeral Assistant

Bill joined the staff of Oakes & Nichols in June 2014.  He attended school in Madison County, Alabama and graduated from McKinley High School in Hawaii.  After serving in the U. S. Navy, he was hired at Monsanto where he was a member of their baseball team.  He left that employment to play professional baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates for three years.  A 1972 graduate of Purdue University with a B. S. Degree in Agronomy, Bill studied business minded supervision at the University of Wisconsin and spent the next forty-four years managing Golf Clubs and building new ones. An avid sportsman, Bill has coached church softball and basketball teams.  He has coached baseball from Little League teams all the way through American League.  He has taught swimming at the YMCA in Huntsville, Alabama.  He is a member of Highland Park Baptist Church and active in the activities of Maury Baptist Association.   He is married to Doris Stewart, has one son, Steve; two daughters, Kim and Pam; eight grandchildren; one step-son, Todd; and two step grandchildren.  His first wife Betty Scroggins Stewart died March 12, 2009.



David KirkDavid Kirk
Unlicensed Funeral Assistant

Donald SharpDonald Sharp
Unlicensed Assistant
Maintenance & Cemetery

Mike SowellMike Sowell
Unlicensed Assistant
Building & Grounds Maintenance

In Loving Memory

 Mike Sowell died October 31, 2015.


Douglas RobertsDouglas Roberts
Unlicensed Assistant
Maintenance & Cemetery