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Obituary: Mary Lowman

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Mary Lowman, 87, of Las Vegas, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009, after a long fight with cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family.

Mary was a vibrant community contributor. In 2005 she was honored in the Las Vegas Art Museum show, “100 Years of Influence: Women Who Shaped Las Vegas.” She was vice chair of the Greater Las Vegas Board of Realtors in the 1980s and served on several of its committees.

She was president of the Frontier Girl Scout Council and continued to be active during her long tenure as a member of the council board. She served on the regional and national governing boards for the Girl Scouts of America in the 1970s.

She served in various leadership roles in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, specifically the Las Vegas Mesquite Club but also at the regional, national and international federation board level. She was instrumental in the effort to prevent drug abuse and assist those suffering from it as the founding president of the Southern Nevada Drug Abuse Council in 1971.

Mary was active in the First Presbyterian Church and broke gender barriers when ordained as an elder of the Presbyterian Church in the 1960s. She focused efforts on education and youth and was the organizing chair of the Academy, which has evolved to be Cornerstone Christian Academy today.

Mary and her husband Zel, who predeceased her in 2006, were often recognized for their contributions to family values. In 1993, the Clark County School District named the Mary and Zel Lowman Elementary School to honor them both.

In 1989, she was awarded the Thanks Badge II for her service to Girl Scouts. In 1970, she was named Mother of the Year for Nevada by the American Mothers Committee. In 1964, Mary was named the Outstanding Woman in Home and Community by the Las Vegas Campfire Girls. In 1960, the Lowmans were named the All American Family of Nevada as part of a national search for the all-American family.

Mary was trained as an educator, earning her bachelor of arts degree from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. Throughout her life she was a teacher, real estate broker and mother while supporting her husband in his career as an executive at Nevada Power Company, during his 10 years in the Nevada Legislature and in community service organizations throughout Southern Nevada and across the U.S. They were immersed in community service together and as individuals from the time they moved to Las Vegas in 1954 until their passing.

They moved to Las Ventanas Retirement Community near Red Rock Canyon in 2003 where Mary immediately became active as vice chair of the Residents Council. She later served on several committees and was a well-respected contributor to the quality of life at Las Ventanas.

Mary is survived by her brother, John Hemphill of Richland, Wash.; her sister, Grace Zach of Fort Collins, Colo.; her daughter, Freda Rader and husband Art of Las Vegas, as well as Freda’s children, Donald Farr and his wife Hyun Kyung of Sacramento, and Beverly Gray and husband Randy of Las Vegas, including great-grandchildren Katelyn, Poppy, Randi and son Lowman; Freda’s son Michael Farr and his partner Jennifer of Estacada, Ore., and great-grandchildren Vye and Lyric; her son, Jim Lowman and his wife Marcia of Scottsdale, Ariz., and their children Dawn Lowman Baker and husband Trent of Salt Lake City, and Jillian Lowman Jones and husband Kris of Phoenix, and great-grandchild Katie Jones; and her son Bill Lowman and his wife Carolyn of Idyllwild, as well as their son, Nathan Lowman of New York City.

Mary’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth Lowman Herbst, died in 1980.

Mary will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband, Zel, in the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, Nev. Mary’s legacy of devotion to education and community service will be continued by her family and all who came into contact with her. Private services will be held.

The family requests that anyone wishing to honor her life make a contribution to the Mary and Zel Lowman Scholarship Fund Endowment for the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. Please make checks payable to Idyllwild Arts and send to Lowman Memorial, P.O. Box 38, Idyllwild, CA 92549.

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