ForeverMissed
John William Lowe, 81, of Acton, passed away Mon. April 29, 2019 at the Emerson Hospital in Concord. He is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Elizabeth “Betty” (Tompkins) Lowe; his loving children, Shelby Simes, husband Jeff and their children John William and Isabelle; Steven Lowe, wife Karen Talley and their children Sydney and Nathaniel; and Samantha Lowe and her daughters Liliana and Allycia Lowe; a sister Kathy and brother Charlie.

A Celebration of Life was held at Gibbet Hill in Groton, MA on Sunday May 5th.  This was a wonderful day attended by so many of John's family and friends.  The family wishes to thank Gibbet Hill Grill for offering such a perfect setting for this gathering and the wonderful food and drink provided on such short notice.  Please remember to toast John whenever you frequent Gibbet Hill!

The family would like to thank everyone for their extremely generous support of Wood Island Lighthouse in John's honor, which to date totals nearly $2000.  For more information on donating please visit Wood Island Lighthouse.

Please visit the Life tab for a more complete summary of John's life, and feel free to post your own stories or add photos to the gallery.  We would love to hear how he affected your life.



Posted by James Mcginnisusaf on May 11, 2020
John and I met in the Air Force while stationed in Vermont. We spent 3 years together, which created many memories. We just became great friends and had many great times together. I was fortunate John and his family in the 70,s and again about 5 years ago. My family was on vacation in Maine and I gave John a call and John and his family happened to be in Maine also. John and Betty came over and we had lunch together and talked about the good old days. The next day John and I spent the day together. He showed me his boat and showed me all around the area. What a great day. John will be missed by all.
Posted by Lynne Melanson on May 3, 2019
Betty and children, we were saddened to read of John’s passing last month. I have often thought of you people through the years and wondering how you and your family were doing. We are sending love and prayers to you and your family.
John, I’m sure you are soaring with the angels❤️
Love, Lenny & Lynne Melanson
Posted by Don Winn on May 2, 2019
I first met John in 1979 when we both worked in the same business center at M/A-Com in Burlington, Ma. We got to know each other and became great friends. Maureen and I often got together with John and Bette and had many fun times and created lots of fond memories.
John loved life and he lived it to the fullest. He loved his family and spending time with them. He loved sailing which was one of his great passions.It was a blessing he got to enjoy his sail boat in his retirement years.
John was the best of friends, lots of fun to be with, great sense of humor, very intelligent , compassionate, great listener, and an overall great human being.
He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved him. He will always be remembered and never forgotten.  With lots of love, Don, Maureen and family
Posted by Margaret Miller on May 2, 2019
We, Joe and I, met John and Betty when we were young married couples along with Bob and Mary Cutler, and Peter and Shirley Grigas. We had a lot of fun together sharing dinners, lots of laughs, and lots of wine. Time passes and we lose touch with those who meant so much to us, but I still think of those memories with much fondness today. sail on, John. Love, Margaret

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Recent Tributes
Posted by James Mcginnisusaf on May 11, 2020
John and I met in the Air Force while stationed in Vermont. We spent 3 years together, which created many memories. We just became great friends and had many great times together. I was fortunate John and his family in the 70,s and again about 5 years ago. My family was on vacation in Maine and I gave John a call and John and his family happened to be in Maine also. John and Betty came over and we had lunch together and talked about the good old days. The next day John and I spent the day together. He showed me his boat and showed me all around the area. What a great day. John will be missed by all.
Posted by Lynne Melanson on May 3, 2019
Betty and children, we were saddened to read of John’s passing last month. I have often thought of you people through the years and wondering how you and your family were doing. We are sending love and prayers to you and your family.
John, I’m sure you are soaring with the angels❤️
Love, Lenny & Lynne Melanson
Posted by Don Winn on May 2, 2019
I first met John in 1979 when we both worked in the same business center at M/A-Com in Burlington, Ma. We got to know each other and became great friends. Maureen and I often got together with John and Bette and had many fun times and created lots of fond memories.
John loved life and he lived it to the fullest. He loved his family and spending time with them. He loved sailing which was one of his great passions.It was a blessing he got to enjoy his sail boat in his retirement years.
John was the best of friends, lots of fun to be with, great sense of humor, very intelligent , compassionate, great listener, and an overall great human being.
He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved him. He will always be remembered and never forgotten.  With lots of love, Don, Maureen and family
his Life

A Brief Summary

John was born in Billerica, MA on September 22, 1937, he always loved the proximity of this day to the autumn equinox, when the length of day and night are exactly equal.  He graduated Maynard High School in 1955, as a founding member of the vaunted Trolls (and the rest of you know who you are!).  Excelling in Math all his life, he was accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but instead chose to enlist in the US Air Force, serving as an electronics technician primarily in Vermont during the Korean War era.  From there he pursued an Engineering degree at (then) Lowell Tech and went on to lead the design of microwave and millimeter radars for such companies as NEICO and MA/COM in Burlington, MA.  Many of his colleagues during his career remained life-long friends, and he has offered many a story from this time of his life that he loved so much.

John retired in 2000 at a nice young age, shortly after acquiring “Synergy”, a Cape Dory 330 sailing sloop.  We’ve not encountered a sailor that has gleaned more enjoyment from his boat, and he got nearly 20 years of adventure sailing the waters of the southern Massachusetts coast, the ENTIRE coast of Maine, and then increasingly the waters of Synergy’s home port in Biddeford Pool, Maine – a place that has been the spiritual home of this family for seven decades.  Synergy will remain on her mooring this summer, with still the best view of Wood Island Light and surrounding areas.

John also became an active member of the US Power Squadron, having originally joined back in 1983.  He enjoyed many exciting sailing adventures within this community before owning his own boat, none more so than the harrowing voyage to Nova Scotia complete with a fiery rescue at sea (he, of course, did the rescuing!).  He enjoyed teaching very much, and in particular his most treasured topic of celestial navigation.  John served in many positions up to and  including Commander of the local Minute Man squadron.

John met Betty Tompkins of Maynard in 1961 and after a spirited two-year courtship they were married in 1963.  They welcomed their first child, Shelby, in 1966, followed by Steven in 1969 and Samantha in 1973.  They bought their first (and last) home in 1969 in the neighborhood of Indian Village in Acton, MA, where they enjoyed numerous lifelong friends.  In addition to sailing and “anything Maine”, John and Betty enjoyed traveling to other beautiful coastlines in places such as Bermuda, Maui, California, North Carolina, and Key West.

John enjoyed extremely close relationships with each of his children throughout their lives, teaching them everything from card playing to clam digging to home management, and sailing of course.  They are each now successful, independent adults, and they owe so much of their strength to their father.  In return, they provided him six beautiful grandchildren, John William (18), Isabelle (16), Sydney (14), Nathaniel (9), and the wonderful twins Liliana and Allycia (4).  John was the best Grampy these children could imagine, and he loved nothing more than playing with their toys, explaining “how things work” by showing them his toys, and of course, keeping on the family traditions of lobsters, cards, and knot skills.

John will always be remembered for his sharp wit, big smile, and many, many people’s “go-to-guy” for a solution to any problem large or small.  He loved to engage on challenging problems and would often be found in his spare time designing sundials, customizing magnetic levitation train sets, or designing custom nomographs to quick-index someone’s math problem.  As such, he most certainly will leave a void in all the lives he touched, but we also know he would want us all to carry on his traditions in his memory rather than dwell on his passing.
Recent stories

Poem by Maya Angelou

Shared by Samantha Lowe on September 22, 2020
My mom, Betty Lowe, heard this poem recited the other day in Concord Center MA, at a remembrance ceremony for RBG. She could not help but recognize that this poem is perfect in honoring John as well.  Our Great One

When Great Trees Fall
By Maya Angelou

When great trees fall, 
rocks on distant hills shudder, 
lions hunker down 
in tall grasses, 
and even elephants 
lumber after safety. 

When great trees fall 
in forests, 
small things recoil into silence, 
their senses 
eroded beyond fear. 

When great souls die, 
the air around us becomes 
light, rare, sterile. 
We breathe, briefly. 
Our eyes, briefly, 
see with 
a hurtful clarity. 
Our memory, suddenly sharpened, 
examines, 
gnaws on kind words 
unsaid, 
promised walks 
never taken. 

Great souls die and 
our reality, bound to 
them, takes leave of us. 
Our souls, 
dependent upon their 
nurture, 
now shrink, wizened. 
Our minds, formed 
and informed by their 
radiance, 
fall away. 
We are not so much maddened 
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance 
of dark, cold 
caves. 

And when great souls die, 
after a period peace blooms, 
slowly and always 
irregularly. Spaces fill 
with a kind of 
soothing electric vibration. 
Our senses, restored, never 
to be the same, whisper to us. 
They existed. They existed. 
We can be. Be and be 
better. For they existed.

Remembering Dad

Shared by Samantha Lowe on September 22, 2020
Today is Dad's birthday and with a tender heart I am sharing the story behind this image. 

When we had his celebration of life gathering, one of the rituals I thought of to offer our guests was to write a word on a stone that reminded them of John in any way.  I had collected many small polished stones with my twins the previous summer up in Maine so we naturally used those.  I noticed the glass vase was filling up with these word offerings throughout the ceremony.  I carefully transferred the vase home... where it sat on my mantel for many months with photos of 'Grampy' surrounding it, honoring him.  It wasn't until late fall that I was brave enough to read the words.  Such a gift.  Thank you to all who participated. 

In an effort to share the words with my mom, my siblings and loved ones, I had an idea to create a word image within the shape of his precious 'toy', his sailboat Synergy, a Cape Dory 330 sailing sloop.  Because of my busy schedule always~ working full time and caring for the twins~ I reached out to one of my high school students to help me with the modifications on photoshop.  I believe my dad would love the fact that one of my students helped me with this.  He was a natural-born teacher himself as anyone in our family can attest to; as well as he was the commanding teacher of the boating and sailing club the US Power Squadron.  His favorite topic to teach was celestial navigation.  At one point, he was teaching night classes at Lexington High School Community Ed~ space rented for the Power Squadron, and I was down the hall in my ceramics classroom at the time also teaching night classes for adults :).
I know he was proud of me for becoming a teacher.  He would assist me in my classroom in recent years, now that I am teaching darkroom photography~ on the days that I was introducing the logistics of film SLRs, he would come in to help, to assure we were getting around to all the students in one block to show them one-on-one how to use their camera.  He would also accompany us on field trips into the North End and Govt. Center to photograph!  My students loved him of course and would always ask when he would come back into the classroom.  Then, at the end of each school year, he would come in after school and help me go through all the cameras and make sure they were working and in good condition to sign out again in the fall.  Missing him dearly on so many levels.  

Air Force Buddies

Shared by James Mcginnisusaf on May 11, 2020
John and I met in the Air Force while stationed in Vermont. I was lucky enough to be able to spend 3 years with John, which created many great memories. We just developed a friendship and had many great times together. I was fortunate to visit  John and his family in the 70,s and spend the day visiting. About 5 years ago, my family where on vacation in Maine and I contacted John and he just happened to be in Maine with his family.  John and Betty came over and we had lunch together and talked about the good old days.  The next day John and I spent the day with him showing me his boat and showing me around the area. What a great time together.John was a great guy who will be missed by all.