A friend of a friend-Joe Sandlin-Woody Bowen-July 5

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for July 5, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

This has been a busy week and I am glad that I have reached Sunday. I have a lot to reflect on not only about the past week but the days to come. Reflection can be done in church, in the quiet outdoors, with a good book, and for me looking at pictures.

Our church recently asked for a volunteer amongst the members of First Presbyterian of Lumberton NC for a photographer. One man stepped up to the call almost immediately and that was Woody Bowen. Woody has done a great service for our church in capturing special moments that occur during the year.

Woody is an interesting man in our community that possesses an array of talents. First and foremost he is an accomplished attorney. He is a partner in the law firm of Bowen & Berry which is located in downtown Lumberton directly across the street from the Robeson County Court House. As an attorney Woody has tried over 1000 jury cases with a goal to get compensation for victims of others’ negligence in worker’s comp and personal injury cases. He is aggressive in legally combatting insurance companies who may not fairly compensate deserving claimants. He runs a lot of TV ads in our local market which makes him a local celebrity.

Woody has also been involved in some noteworthy criminal trials representing criminal defendants in capital murder cases and numerous other felonies in Superior Court. He was chosen to defend the person alleged to have killed Michael Jordan’s father, James Jordan.

Woody’s is not just a professional attorney he also is a professional photographer with a business called Elegant Portraits of the Carolinas. Steve Humbert, Rodney Horne and Woody Bowen combine years of photographic experience (over 500 weddings between the three phogrpraphers) to make a unique tribute in portraits to you and your husband or wife to be.

He has done some marvelous work and if you like you can click on the link below to see some of his work.


Woody is also one of the biggest animal lovers and supporters you will find anywhere. Over the years he has been a gigantic supporter of a number of endeavors that support animals. He most recently was involved in a fundraiser that benefitted the Robeson County Humane Society.

Woody is married to the former Joan Sandlin whose dad was an amazing man by the name of Joe Sandlin.

Bowen Family

Woody and Holly

The Friend-WOODY BOWEN-with dog Rexie


The Friend of the Friend-JOE SANDLIN

The Banker and the Leader

If you lived in Lumberton, NC in the 1970 and 80’s you probably crossed paths with a pretty amazing leader. His name was Joe Sandlin. Joseph Ernest Sandlin was born on September 10, 1919 in Franklin, Virginia. Son of Joseph Fredrick and Rosa (Davis) Sandlin.  He graduated from William and Mary with his Bachelor degree in 1943 and later received Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), from Pembroke State University, 1986 which is now called UNC Pembroke.

Joe lived an amazing life and had a fantastic career. He began with Arthur Andersen & Company, New York City from 1948-1953, serving as supervising senior accountant from 1951-1953.

He left Arthur Anderson and went to Amerotron Company division Textron, in Providence, Rhode Island and served as their controller from 1953-1963. In 1963 he began a career at Southern National Bank in Lumberton where he would serve as president, treasurer, director Southern National Corporation, also Southern National Bank of North Carolina and associate companies, He was at Southern National from 1963-1986. In the late 1980’s he came to work at UNC Pembroke as the Distinguished Executive in Residence.

Joe married his wife Evelyn Kobcsenski on May 11, 1946 and their daughter Joan became Woody Bowen’s wife.

Joe Sandlin was involved in a lot of things in Lumberton during the second half of his life. A number of what he was involved with was service to the community. He was a past president of the Lumberton Chamber of Commerce. He was an elder at First Presbyterian Church and he was a Mason (32 degree). For those that don’t know Southern National was a sizeable employer in Lumberton and Robeson County until they decided to move to Winston-Salem, NC. That transition to Winston Salem began in 1993.

Although there is no higher degree than that of a Master Mason or 3rd degree, the 29 degrees of the Scottish Rite serve to enrich the philosophy of the Symbolic Lodge. A Mason who chooses to further his Masonic experience by becoming a 32° Scottish Rite Mason chooses to expand on fundamental principles of Freemasonry.

Notable members of this order include Albert Pike, Buzz Aldrin, Gerald Ford, Harry S Truman, Bob Dole, John Wayne, Michael Richards, Arnold Palmer, Henry Ford, and John Glenn.

Joe Sandlin was a fascinating man and I enjoyed every interaction I had with him. He died March 14, 2008 at the age of 88 and he did a lot of good for our community.



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