Dad was born March 19, 1923. He and his parents, Lewis and Jean Lowrie moved to the Clear Range District (east of Marwayne) in 1924. Together they built their own log home and started farming. His one and only sibling, Dorothy would come along in 1927.
Dad took his Grade 1-9 schooling at Clear Range then completed his high school in Marwayne. During those high school years, he lived with Uncle Jim and Auntie Jess Lowrie.
At the age of 17, Dad spent the summer at the army training camp at Dundurn, SK. The war broke out while they were there and the call went out for volunteers. When asked who would go active, Dad stepped forward to volunteer. As Major Adamson surveyed the men, he paused behind Dad and said,” You had better go home and feed pigs for another year George.” Dad went home and finished his grade 12 and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Upon entering the air force, Dad was first stationed in Edmonton. He spent 6 weeks in Bowden, AB guarding the airport with a rifle. Then it was back to Edmonton for initial training for 2 months. His pilot training in Tiger Moths was done at High River, AB. At Fort MacLeod he flew multi-engine aircraft and graduated with his pilot’s wings. He was then sent to Canadian Airlines in Edmonton that was managed by WW1 fighter pilot, Wop May. He flew air navigators and bomb aimers who were being trained. He was there from 1942-1944. From there he was one month at Rivers, MB. Then on to Charlottetown, PEI. where he did coastal reconnaissance, patrolling the east coast. He volunteered to go overseas against the Japanese but two weeks later that was over. In May 1945 they offered him his discharge. He was 22 years old.
Dad tried his hand at many different jobs. He worked as a meat cutter at Safeway, JC Berger lumberyard, drove a gravel truck and taxi in Edmonton, helped at a funeral home, then started a general store at South Cooking Lake with Walter Hillaby. He had an aerial photography business with Bill Gillis an ex-air force photographer. Later Dad broke land for farmers with his father.
Dad married Myrtle Dow on Oct. 21, 1952. They would start their first year of marriage with a heartache as their firstborn baby girl died in childbirth. Neal was born in 1955. By 1959 Dad was into the road construction business building highways all over Alberta. Linda was born in 1960 while they were living in a travel trailer building a road near Bonnyville, AB. Gina would complete the mix in 1963. After retiring from road construction, Dad got his heavy-duty mechanics license by challenging the exam and spent several years working at Dennill’s garage in Dewberry, AB. He then spent 7 years maintaining the Lloydminster airport. Dad and Headley Dennill would spend their retirement years (Dad being well into his 90s) hauling machinery all over Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Dad has done a lot of hunting and fishing over the years and there are countless stories to be told. He and Mom made many trips in the “motor-house” as Dad called it. Throughout his nineties, Dad had a part time “job” at the Home Hardware in Marwayne helping to unload freight, stocking, and pricing items.
Dad was hard to keep track of as he may be off picking up machinery, running to Leduc to pick up Aunty Do, fixing a quad or motor at Neal’s, hunting birds down south, or visiting a friend in the hospital or care home. He spent four years driving to Islay Care Home feeding and looking after Mom.
Dad was no ordinary man. He lived with purpose and had many talents. He had a deep, deep love for his family and those he cared about seeing many of us through difficult and challenging times. He wasn’t perfect, but he was first and foremost kind, gentle, generous, loyal, forthright, and strong. There have been so many laughs because of his dry wit and humour. He set the bar very high and lived each day with diligence. In his 97 years, he leaves a remarkable legacy. Dad, you mean the world to us and we are very proud to call you Dad, Grandpa and Great Grandpa. We will miss you dearly.
Dad was predeceased by: his baby daughter; his parents, Jean & Lewis; his loving wife, Myrtle; his son-in-law, Glen Cole; and his sister, Dorothy Lowrie.
Dad is lovingly survived by: his son, Neal (Brenda), and their family; Ryan (Ola) and Kerry (Mike) deMontarnal; Kerry’s family, Isabelle and Lainey; his daughter, Linda (Francis) Bourque, and their family; Chance, Chase, Cole, and Karen (Max), Karen’s family Garth, Harland, and Lily; his daughter, Gina Cole and her family, Kate, Wade (Jessica) and Lindsay, Wade’s family, Brantley and Jaxon.
GINA: There are a million things we could tell you about our Dad. Can we begin by saying that finding words adequate to describe the height, breadth, and depth of Dad’s life, all that he was, and ones that would adequately express our love and gratitude for this remarkable man were very hard to come by. Because of this, we are so glad that his family here and all our dear relatives and friends watching from wherever you are, have all been eye witnesses to this exceptional life lived out in full view of all of us. So you’ll know how limited we feel here for this hour or so today to celebrate and honor our precious Dad.
Dad seemed timeless. He balded at an early age so he looked the way we’ve always known him, all of our lives. His mind and wit were razor sharp throughout all those years as well. He has been independent, vibrant, and active, never confined to an age. Other than some wrinkles and age spots-Dad seemed timeless.
LINDA: Forthright, strong, firm, practical, kind, generous, resilient, respectful – these are just a few of the character traits that come to mind when thinking of our Dad. We see them in each of us, his children.
Neal: Dad called him “Frog Man”. Dad so enjoyed spending time with Neal. The pride for his son was always evident and the success in business that Neal had. Dad was always secure when Neal undertook with his medical appointments, and being the driver. He knew he could trust Neal with his “almighty TV”. I think we have all been warned about “fooling” with the TV!! Dad knew he could leave his business with Neal and all would be taken care of…even funeral arrangements – that’s a gift for Neal to Dad. All the last intricate details – and it shows – Nothing has been left undone. Dad’s final send off shows the love and pride we have for Dad and he for us. Thank you Neal for what you’ve done for our father.
Gina: Dad called her “Scooch”. Gina was Dad’s little girl. She has always been friends with Mom and Dad…but especially Dad these last years. They could and did talk on the phone “every single day” and not finish their conversation. No detail was left undone-what Dad ate that day, how he cooked it, who he saw that day and what time all the events happened. Gina and Kate intensely cared for Dad this summer. Thank you for your loving care for Dad.
Linda: Dad called me “Muffin”. I feel like I am a lot like my Dad. Over the years this may have been the reason for the clash of our strong wills. I’ve come to accept and very much appreciate some of Dad’s traits that I have. We came to a place of understanding and deep respect for each other that has allowed our relationship to finish well. I will miss my home away from home of 60 years and my stable, admirable father’s influence that Dad was to me.
As well, Dad enjoyed our spouses – Brenda and her wonderful cooking and the talented contribution she makes to running their businesses, Francis and Glen for good visits, memorable escapades, and for the admiration and respect they always showed him. Each and every grandkid, Ryan, Kerry, Chance, Chase, Cole, Kate, Wade, and Lindsay who all love, enjoy, honor and respect their grandpa and who all held a special place in Grandpas’ soft heart. Isabelle, Lainey, Brantley, and Jaxon were the next generation added to those Grandpa loved and cherished. Dad’s love for and devotion to his family was paramount. He saw each of us through all of life’s ups and downs, being always there, always concerned, always generous, and always able (there again Dad seemed timeless.)
GINA: Dad had a strong personality, strong opinions, strong convictions. He spoke his mind to people’s face not behind their back. He had a strong sense of justice and was known for setting situations straight using his words or his fists. I don’t think the Lowries were known for “looking for fights” but they were certainly known for stepping up if needed. We don’t know all the details but have heard enough to know that Dad’s early years were colorful to say the least. I think from Dad’s perspective it was always about honor and respect.
Those were two things Dad was raised with and instilled deeply in us, honor and respect. As his children, we have never heard our Dad speak a harsh or negative word against his parents. His great respect for his mother and his father was paramount and governed a lot of things in his life. He expected no less from his children. Ephesians 6:2 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” As those eye witnesses, we can all testify today-that promise of God’s Word was fulfilled.
Dad had a real sense of humor and a very dry wit. He was good at telling jokes. Although he had countless entertaining moments one was after Aunty Do’s passed away. We were reading all the sympathy cards and I said too bad Aunty Do didn’t see all these kind words. Dad said, “well when I go just throw them in with me and I’ll read them on the way up!” I said Dad by the time we have a funeral, you’ll be long gone and he said, “Well I might just stick around to make sure you guys get it right.” We know this is just Dad’s shell here with us today, that he is at home with Jesus but we would like to get it right just the same.
LINDA: Dad lived his life with diligence. Everything he did, he did with diligence; whether that was flying a plane, blading a road, fixing a truck, cleaning a gun, deboning a deer, carving a turkey, or buttering a piece of toast-everything was done with diligence.
As our uncle pointed out, Dad’s wisdom enabled him to find solutions to the challenges and obstacles he came across in life. He was intelligent, had a knack for knowledge, for figuring things out, for knowing how things worked, for knowing what to do and how. He knew a lot about a lot of things. He started out with responsibility at probably six years of age and so by 97 he had quite a lot of experience under his belt. At six he walked a mile to school. At nine he prepared supper for some passerbys and entertained the company until his parents came home. I think he was ten when he took his little sister on the train to Calgary spending their last quarter to buy her some supper while he went without. At a young age he was driving tractor, hunting, doing farm chores. At 19/20 years of age he had the lives of his crew-navigators and bomb aimers solely in his hands.
GINA: So much living packed into all these years. As his dear friend, Headley Dennill says, “He pretty much packed sixty minutes into every hour.” At 80 he was up on the lease hunting and “tell lies” as they said with his treasured friend Bob Williams. At 86 he was jumping off his roof because the ladder fell when he was up there shoveling off the snow. At 89 he was meeting his close friend and old hunting partner Brent McNabb every Friday for breakfast at the crack of dawn. At 92 he was hauling machinery home from Manitoba with faithful traveling companion Headley. At 95 he was helping with the freight at the Hardware. At 96 he was making new friends and thoroughly enjoying Art and Ruby, Keith and Lillian, for Sunday brunch at Lovell’s. And…through all those years he and devoted friend Ron Tannis were handling every odd job imaginable. To top it off, at 97, just three months prior to this get together, he was trimming my trees with a handsaw. Just this last week-cooking a duck with his favorite Scottish rolled oat dressing, driving into Lloyd, cleaning his stove, paying his insurance, then walking out of the door of his house into the hospital, jumping into bed, going to sleep, opening his eyes one last time to see that his son was with him then drifting off never to rouse again until his spirit, the part of dad that was all of who was, met Jesus and peacefully stepped into eternity. His remarkable 97 and a half years all lived out, finishing just as he wanted. Now Dad is timeless.
LINDA: We see a golden thread woven through our family, that golden thread starts with Dad- and goes down through Neal, myself, and Gina- and then down through each of our children, Ryan, Kerry, Chance, Chase, Cole, Kate, Wade, Lindsay-on down through Isabelle, Lainey, Brantley, and Jaxon-that golden thread of strong attributes. Dad was not a “perfect” man-but he was perfect for our family-for all of us. He held the bar high. In turn, we can all hold the bar high for our lives and for the lives of our children and grandchildren, not perfection by any means but progress. Dad was a humble man-he didn’t like to be exalted but we exalt or hold you in high regard today Dad- we thank you for the standards that you set for us. We thank you for your undying love. We thank God in his graciousness over you and thank him for your honorable life. We will love, honor, and treasure you always until the glorious day when we see you again.
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