March 2003, "Kewpie of the Month" Jack Nowell - Class of 1936

Nowell’s grocery chain founder Jack Nowell, above, handles store merchandise in this 1982 photo.
The Nowells family has been in the grocery business in Columbia since 1876.
Jack Nowell
(June 12, 1918 - January 19, 2000)
Nowell’s grocery chain demise the end of era
November 23, 1935

Glenn Smith’s Columbia High School football team finished its 1935 season without defeat by winning from Smith-Cotton of Sedalia on the later’s gridiron last night with the overwhelming score of 31-0. (See 1935 team stats)

Compiler’s note: Glenn Smith was one of the most successful coaches in any sport at any level ever to coach in Columbia. Three players from this undefeated 1935 squad will be remembered today by many Columbians: left tackle Jack Nowell was a grocer of note for many years; left halfback Sam Walton was a founder of the Wal-Mart stores; and quarterback Clay Cooper, the star of the team, coached for the university for many years and still lives in Columbia. In this particular game, Cooper had an 80-yard run for a touchdown, as well as throwing two touchdown passes.

See open column article from the Columbia Daily Tribune about Jack

Story ran on January 20, 2000
Obituary: Jack Nowell

John "Jack" M. Nowell, 81, of Columbia died Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2000, at Boone Hospital Center.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at Parker Funeral Service. Burial will be in Columbia
Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, at the funeral home.

Mr. Nowell was born June 12, 1918, in Columbia to John and Fay Sheldon Nowell. He married Ruth
Johnson in 1948, and she preceded him in death. He married Barbara Courtright in 1964, and she survives.

He graduated from Hickman High School in 1936 and from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1940.
He served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

He was a past president of the Downtown Rotary Club and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and
served on the board of directors for First National Bank. He was a member of MU’s Sigma Chi fraternity.

In 1957, he opened Nowell’s grocery store on West Worley Street and at the time of his death was owner
of three Nowell’s stores in Columbia, one in Hollister and one in Branson. He also owned Megamarket stores
in Columbia, Jefferson City and Moberly.

Other survivors include a son, John Nowell III of Columbia, a stepson, Jon Lammers of Kansas City; two
daughters, May Nowell Namerow of High Park, N.Y., and Faye Cardine Nowell of Columbia; a stepdaughter,
Katherine Tindall of Grinell, Iowa; a brother, Don Nowell of Denver; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Memorials are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Association, Mid-Missouri Chapter, 1121 Business Loop 70 E.,
Columbia, Mo., 65201, or to the charity of donor’s choice.


Story ran on January 28, 2000


Account of Jack Nowell’s passing left much unsaid

Editor, the Tribune: An article in the Jan. 19 Tribune about the death of Jack Nowell missed some important points because of the reporter rushing to get a story.
The article inaccurately reported survivors. Nowell is survived by Barbara, his wife of 35 years. The reporter did not indicate he would be quoting me. I am responsible for preparing statements for our company but felt Nowell’s memory and his life deserved more than an impersonal "prepared statement."
Nowell led a company that was ahead of its time in concept, design and technology. The remodeled store on Worley gained recognition for innovative ideas from an elegant restaurant to the first scanning registers in Missouri.
This community is full of successful men and women who worked for Nowell’s and learned valuable lessons that helped develop their character and business sense.
I have a friend who told me a story that might best sum up the foundation on which Nowell built a successful company. Thirty years ago, Carol was pregnant and had stopped at Nowell’s for her groceries. At the checkout stand she asked the bagger to pack the bags light so she could unload them at home. Nowell overheard the conversation, instructed the bagger to go home with Carol and unload the groceries, and gave him money to call a cab to return to the store.
Carol began shopping with Nowell’s when the store moved to a tent because a fire had destroyed the store. Thirty-three years later she still shops at Nowell’s.
Rick Rowden
1401 Berwick Court

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From Bob Roark's book, "Kewpie Football."

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