Carolyn Lowman passed away in Coronado Friday, Jan. 6. Carolyn was born in 1946 and raised in Rhinelander, a northern Wisconsin city in the midst of lakes, rivers and paper mills. Surrounded by loving cousins whose fathers all worked at the paper mill, she enjoyed an idyllic, outdoor childhood in the great American Midwest.
She was an avid student, winning a city-wide writing contest in sixth grade but also took part in every extra curricular activity including band, synchronized swimming, debate, forestry camping club, Girls Athletic Association, the school newspaper staff, and was co-editor of the yearbook in her senior year. She is remembered for telling her sister that she wanted to be in the parade, not just a bystander.
After college at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, she joined a group of young women who moved west to start careers as school teachers in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Cuties, as they were nicknamed, roomed together and began their adult lives in 1968.
Carolyn was a successful teacher of high school English in the Clark County School District for 15 years. She earned her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and completed 32 additional units of graduate work.
She was also an active member of the Las Vegas Ski Club, where she won medals for ski racing and served as the social chair. Always the life of the party, she was a good colleague, a good friend and fun to be around.
In 1976 she met her husband, Bill Lowman, when he was a substitute teacher in the high school where she taught. They married in 1977 and welcomed their son, Nate Lowman, in 1979.
In 1985, they relocated to Idyllwild, when Bill assumed directorship of the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. Soon after, the Idyllwild Arts Academy was founded in 1986. Carolyn played key roles as dean of students and founding librarian. She next resumed her teaching career, this time as an instructor of English as a Second Language.
At the Academy, students enrolled from more than 20 countries and were dedicated to learning English at a high level to prepare for American colleges, universities, conservatories and arts schools. She was the beloved instructor of many extraordinarily talented young artists who now have careers in symphonies, dance companies and art galleries throughout the world. She pioneered the use of literature as a method of teaching English during the time that most ESL programs were focused on grammar and verbal drill. When she retired from the Arts Academy, her classroom was renamed the Carolyn Lowman ESL Classroom.
In addition to her teaching, she served as wife of the headmaster; hosting parties, recognizing employees’ efforts, and entertaining donors and volunteers. Hers was a busy and productive life both during the school year and in the summer program.
When Bill retired from Idyllwild Arts, they both accepted a two-year assignment running the Salzburg Semester for the University of Redlands. Bill served as director and Carolyn taught a journaling course for the college undergrads.
They both led tours in several European countries. Throughout her life, she engaged in many cultural activities such a book clubs, card clubs and crafting groups. From macrame to needlepoint to beading to knitting to crocheting, Carolyn convened groups of female friends wherever she lived to share creative enterprise.
They both retired in 2014 and moved to Coronado in 2015. Carolyn and Bill thoroughly enjoyed life in Coronado and became active members of the Coronado Lawn Bowling Club. She was its social chair for several years and active in both the sport and the celebration of the friendly community of lawn bowlers.
Over the years, Carolyn suffered from breast cancer that reappeared several times.
She is survived by her husband Bill; her son Nate, and wife-to-be Rachel; grandson Wallace, as well as her sister Mary Soule.
In lieu of a memorial service, her ashes will be distributed to friends and family across the country for mini celebrations of her life. Donations in her memory may be sent to the Idyllwild Arts Foundation, P.O. Box 38, Idyllwild, CA 92549.