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John Robert Lowell

Obituary for John Robert Lowell

December 24, 2019
San Antonio, Texas


John Robert Lowell passed away peacefully on December 24, 2019, at the age of 86 after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease. John was born on January 27, 1933 in East Moriches, New York to Ethel and Elmer Lowell. He spent his early years growing up in East Moriches, Long Island, NY where he attended high school.

He married Gertrude Lowell and the couple had two children, John R. Lowell Jr. of Port Angeles, WA, and Richard E. Lowell of Petersburg, Alaska.

John enlisted in the US Navy in 1951 and served for 4 years before enlisting in the US Coast Guard (USCG). In the USCG John served as an Aviation Mechanic and Crew Chief performing maintenance on HU-16 Albatross rescue aircraft.

In August 1957, early in his USCG career, John was called in off leave to serve as a crewman on a test flight of an HU-16 aircraft at Floyd Bennett Field in New York. Tragically, the aircraft crashed on takeoff killing 4 of its 6 crewmembers. John was one of the two surviving members; however, he was severely injured and spent months recovering in a hospital. Ironically, the remainder of John's remaining career was devoted to maintaining the very type of aircraft that had nearly taken his life.

During his military career, John and his family's duty-stations included Lakehurst, NJ, Floyd Bennett Field, NY, Annette Island, AK, Corpus Christi, TX, Sangley Point, Philippines, and finally Port Angeles, WA where he retired in 1974. During his 23 years of USCG service John rose to the rank of Senior Chief (E-8). Following his retirement, he settled in Port Angles, WA.

Despite his upbringing on Long Island, New York, and a career in aviation, John longed to pursue his lifelong passion for the "Wild West". To this end he eventually purchased a piece of property near Port Angles, WA where he raised horses. Following retirement from the USCG John went to Farrier School and began shoeing horses both as a hobby and source of supplemental income.

John and Gertrude divorced in 1976 after 22 years of marriage.

In 1979, John married Barbara East of Sequim, WA who had 2 children of her own, Jeffery C. East of Kent, WA and Cindy East-Fey of Colorado Springs, CO. In 1985, the couple moved from Port Angeles to Quincy, WA where they acquired a fruit orchard and ran a roadside fruit stand where they sold the fruit produced on their property. The couple eventually relocated to Bulverde, TX where they maintained their primary residence until John's death.

John's passion for aviation, which had inspired his military career, did not subside following his military retirement. In 1994, John and Barbara began volunteering at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, WI. John and Barbara's volunteer service eventually led to seasonal employment. He worked at EAA's South Maintenance Shop and continued to work until 2018.

John was proceeded in death by his parents Ethel and Elmer Lowell. He is survived by his wife of forty years, Barbara A. Lowell of Bulverde TX., brothers Russell Lowell, Riverhead NY and Robert Lowell, Moriches, NY, sons John R. Lowell Jr. of Port Angeles, WA, and Richard E. Lowell of Petersburg, Alaska, stepchildren Jeffery C. East of Kent, WA and Cindy East-Fey of Colorado Springs, CO, and numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

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Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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