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Obituary: Zelvin Lowman

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Zelvin “Zel” Don Lowman, 84, passed away during the night of Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006.

Mr. Lowman was a full-time Idyllwild resident from May 2002 to July 2004. He was born in McCune, Kan., on Sept. 8, 1921. He attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., and went off to midshipman’s school during World War II, commissioned as a lieutenant.

He married his college sweetheart, Mary B. Hemphill, and shipped out for duty in the South Pacific. He was a decorated veteran during the war and continued in the Naval Reserve, also serving during the Korean War, and for 30 years in reserve status. He retired as a U.S. Navy captain.

In the early 1950s, he and his young family moved to Las Vegas where he began work at a company that would become Nevada Power Company. He had a long career at Nevada Power and retired in 1978 as director of public relations.

He later worked in real estate as a broker-salesman at Mary Lowman Realty and served as court administrator for the 8th Judicial District of Nevada.

Mr. Lowman was a dedicated husband and father, always interested in his children’s education and activities. This led him to a lifetime of community service. He was most proud of his work with the Boy Scouts of America, Las Vegas Area Council. He was a 50-year member of the council. He served as chairman of the board and almost every other voluntary position in the council.

His stints as scoutmaster of Troop 120 and skipper of Sea Explorer Ship 116 turned out hundreds of young men ready for the world. In the latter part of his life, it was not unexpected for him to hear from many of his previous Scouts who had become today’s leaders in Clark County and throughout the Southwest. He received Boy Scouting’s highest recognition in the Silver Beaver and Antelope awards.

He was also active with his wife in Girl Scouts, receiving its highest volunteer award, the Thanks Badge.

Mr. Lowman was always active in youth and education arenas. He was a perennial moderator of the Sun Youth Forum. During the decade of the 1960s, he was presented the Heart Award of the Local Variety Club and was given the Meritorious Service Award of the Secondary School Principals for outstanding service to education.

In 1993, an elementary school was named Mary and Zel Lowman Elementary for their service to youth.

He served in the Nevada Legislature between 1967 and 1977 as majority leader and chairman of several legislative committees. His fellow legislators honored him as the Outstanding Freshman Legislator in his first year.

In other civic activities, Mr. Lowman served as a director of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, and chairs of the Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada and the Nevada State Council on the Arts. He served as a member of the Civil Service Board, was president or chairman of numerous other community and civic groups, including Better Business Bureau, Employers Association of Southern Nevada, and Uptown Kiwanis Club, to name a few.

Mr. Lowman was sustained by a deep faith in God. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church and was an ordained elder and church leader. He also supported ecumenical activities, working with the Clark County Ministerial Association. He helped organize many community-wide Easter Sunrise Services, Thanksgiving Day services, mayor’s prayer breakfasts and Billy Graham Crusades.

A celebration of his life will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas on March 15.

Mr. Lowman was predeceased by daughter, Betsy Lowman Herbst. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary; a daughter, Freda Frink, of Las Vegas, a son, Jim Lowman, and his wife, Marcia, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and a son, Bill Lowman, and his wife, Carolyn, of Idyllwild; and six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Additionally, he is survived by the countless Scouts and young people, who are now adults, touched by his example, leadership and high principles over the years. In Idyllwild, Zel and Mary were members of the Associates of Idyllwild Arts and Idyllwild Community Presbyterian Church.

Since his son Bill, daughter-in-law Carolyn, wife Mary and daughter Betsy were all Summer Program students, the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program scholarship fund to be named in Zel’s honor. Make checks payable to Idyllwild Arts Summer Program Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 38, Idyllwild, CA 92549. Print “Zel Lowman” in the notes section.

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