Richard Sowers 28


Richard Alexander Benoist Sowers was born June 11, 1995 to Sam and Celeste Benoist in Boulder, Colorado. He was adopted at nearly 5 years of age with his brother Cory by Clark and Cathy Sowers April 27, 2000. He was baptized at St. Paul’s Catholic Church February 10, 2001 with Michael and Sheri Penning as Godparents. Richard made memories with family life in Belle Fourche. He struggled with attachment and sought healing in ways that were harmful to him, wounding yet asking for forgiveness. We failed as many times in trying to understand the depth of his suffering and how to deal and heal with it.

He learned music at a young age and learned to play the violin. He was full of life and loved camping, hiking, hunting for Christmas trees, swimming, serving mass, visiting historical sites, zoos, shelling beans with Grandpa Penning and picking apples with Grandma Penning. He was very intelligent and talented, especially in art. He could draw, do bead work and create art out of many mediums. In his later years he had a keen sense of perspective. One of his self-portraits he sent us was a sketch of himself behind prison bars with the caption, “Missed Opportunities’. He would send his drawings/letters to family and friends.

He died March 17, 2024 in Sioux Falls, SD as the result of multiple gun shot wounds as a victim in a homicide. We are thankful to Dr. Dustin Smoot and the staff at Avera in Sioux Falls who worked to save his life, held his hand in his death and prayed for him when the battle for his life was lost. At his baptism he received God’s grace and we know that God’s mercy is infinite. We commend his soul to Jesus and believe he has been freed of any earthly chains.

He is survived by his parents Cathy and Clark Sowers (Belle Fourche), siblings and families of Jamie (Glen) Gauer, Randy (Erica) Sowers, Katie (Jesse) Hoffmann, Jody (Luke) Thompson, Maggie (Dave) Kindsfater, Cory Sowers, Hayley (Dan) Johnson and Echo Sowers and numerous other family members. Preceded in death by his grandfather Elmer Penning, grandmother Mildred Sowers, aunt Carleen Liggett, uncle Charles Sowers, brother Michael Sowers.

He is also survived by birth parents Celeste Kendall and Sam Benoist; brothers Timothy Lee Kendall, Nate Benoist, Tyler Charles Woods; sisters Zoey Ware and Grace Kendall; aunt Antoinette Kendall and Uncle Richard Benoist. He was also preceded in death by his brother Michael Charlton; Grandfathers, Richard Benoist Sr, Wilbert Kendall, Don Mousseaux and Clayton; great grandmother Zoey Mousseaux.

A Rosary/Vigil was held Sunday, March 24 St. Paul Catholic Church in Belle Fourche. Mass of Christian Burial was 10:30 am, Monday, March 25 at the church. Interment followed at Pine Slope Cemetery in Belle Fourche.

The family suggests memorials to the Prison Art Program at the South Dakota State Penitentiary, In care of Clark and Cathy Sowers 1404 9th Avenue Belle Fourche, SD 57717.

The funeral was livestreamed and can be viewed on Richard’s obituary page at

An online guest book and video tribute is available at