Life is fleeting, and full of surprises—both joyful and tragic. In John Lowrie, we had all three. His 63 years were not enough; his life was a continual surprise; his passing, tragic.
A surprise baby, born May 4, 1957 in Corvallis, Oregon, to the late Alford C. Lowrie and the late Phyllis J. Fifer Lowrie, he was the kid brother of Collen J Adams, Everette Harold Lowrie, (Hattie Wilson Lowrie), and Philip R. Lowrie, (Ruth Denise Roys Lowrie).
He was a kid at heart—in an adult body. Children loved him, because they knew he was one of them. John was single, never married, and had no children of his own. He loved to spend time with children, entertaining them with yo-yo tricks, and cat in the cradle games.
He claimed all his nieces and nephews as his own-- Clinton Adams, Angelo Philip Lowrie (Anne Paquette Lowrie), Michelle E. Lowrie Griffith (Andrew Griffith), Dana L. Larsson, Troy Lowrie, (Stephanie Lowrie), Erica Lowrie Johnson (Rusty Johnson), Jesse A. Sanger (Jessica Sanger), and Crystal D. Sanger Kollias (Nick Kollias). He also had 28 grand nieces and nephews (or as John might say, “All my nieces and nephews are grand!”) We must not forget to mention his Uncle Bill, his best friend, Wade Hymer and son Kyle, and scores of cousins, —all of whom loved him.
John graduated from Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, Oregon in 1976. After high school he lived with his sister in the Los Angeles area. There he worked for the US Air Force as a civilian in Fire Safety and Security Alarm Systems.
After several years, he moved to Washington State, where he joined the Air Force and was stationed at McCord Air Force base for four years. He worked as a flight control specialist on the F-106 and F-15 fighter aircrafts. Later, at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, he worked on the F-117, and the F-16 in Aviano, Italy. He spent 20 years in the Air Force, stationed in Las Vegas, Germany, and Italy. He made trips to Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and all over Europe. He served during four wars: Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Kosovo, and the Gulf war. His scariest time was when he and few others had to fly from Aviano, Italy to Bosnia to replace an engine in a downed jet. The mission was successful—plane and pilot saved.
John was well loved by all, and he really cared for people—especially children. Phil, Denise, and Collen visited John in Italy when he was stationed there. Before they went, they asked him if there was something he wanted from the U.S. They were surprised when he requested twenty Nerf footballs. They managed to get them all in a large suitcase, and were thrilled when he gave them to the boys and girls at the go-kart race track, and taught them how to throw American footballs.
In Italy John didn’t want to live on the base. He chose to pay for an apartment, so he could live among the people. He didn’t speak much Italian, but he was able to communicate quite well, and they all loved him. He was especially good at communicating about go-karts, which he owned, and raced at the race track.
John loved speed. Besides racing go-karts, he loved to go 120 MPH on his motorcycles on Italian country roads. He loved to tell about the time he went to see a total solar eclipse. He sped a few hundred miles on his motorcycle, saw the eclipse, and made it back to the base the same day, much to the surprise of the men on the base. He proved it by showing them the pictures he took of the eclipse.
John was meticulous with Air Force jets. He knew they had to be serviced exactly right, because lives depended on it. There were pilots that requested John to work on their jets because they knew they could depend on his work, and his name was painted on at least one jet.
When he retired in 2001, he lived in Seattle for a few months. He rented Phil’s basement apartment, and when Phil’s pet cat was dying, John laid on the cold cement floor beside the cat until she passed. Yes, John also loved and cared about animals.
He owned a house in Las Vegas, near Nellis Air Force Base, and when he lost his renter, he decided to move back to his home. In Vegas he worked at “Discount Firearms” as “Little John”, for 14 years until the time of his death.
Gun safety was a huge thing to John. Three rules are indelibly etched in our brains:
1. Never point a gun at anyone. That includes toy guns and finger guns. 2. Never assume that a gun is unloaded. EVERY gun is loaded. 3. When holding a gun, never rest your finger on the trigger.
When women came into the gun store, they always had Little John teach the ladies how to use their new guns. He was gentle and kind, but firm with them when teaching safe gun handling, and the ladies really appreciated him. He also loved working with Europeans, that weren’t allowed to shoot machine guns in their countries. Many people requested Little John when shooting at the range.
John was very patriotic—he loved our country. But more importantly, he loved our Lord Jesus Christ. Following the faith of his father, mother, and Uncle Ed, he repented and accepted the blood of Jesus for the remission of his sins. He was grateful for Jesus taking his penalty, and for giving him eternal life, simply because he believed in his Lord.
After a second heart attack on February 24, 2021, John passed into eternity with his Lord, in his home in Las Vegas. In death, his face showed total peace. We praise God that he went suddenly and quickly, and that we will see him again on the other side.
His niece, Dana Larsson, expressed it well for all of us:
I loved Uncle John so much and I’ve been torn up beyond words over losing him suddenly and unexpectedly. He was a bright light in this earth. So giving, kind, loving, and fun-hearted. I have so many good memories with Uncle John, and his life and memory will never be forgotten. I am a better person because he was in my life. 100%. He touched the hearts and lives of so many people with his love, kindness, knowledge, and goodness. It’s amazing. The legacy he left will endure.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice in John Lowrie’s memory.