When I was a little girl, my Grandpa Lowe used to play a game with us called Bands of Steel. He would hold us by the wrist and say "I've got you in bands of steel. You can't get away, you can't get away!" We would struggle and after a few tries he would let go and we would fall backwards then he would say "How did you do that?!" We usually insisted that we were either incredibly strong or magic and then come running back for more. We never tired of this game. All the grandkids would line up waiting for their chance in the bands. Now each of his children play this game with their grandkids.
On August 26th, my Grandfather passed away after a long battle with cancer. I felt so blessed to be able to have seen him just a month before. My wonderful husband let me fly to Arizona to be there with my family to honor him. My Grandmother asked me to sing, and I chose and arrangement of "I know that my Redeemer Lives." The funeral centered around his love of life and his love of his family. Invariably, each person who spoke, talked about Grandpa's Bands of Steel. This is the bouquet from the Grandkids.
I am so thankful for the atonement of our Savior. For the knowledge that it gives me, that I know without a doubt that he is with our Savior, that his body will be made whole again. I am thankful for the sealing power of the temple that binds families together for eternity and that I know I will see him again and be part of his family for eternity. This life is such a small part of our eternal existence, and I look forward with faith to eternity.
I want to share two more things. The first is his Obituary from the newspaper.
My dad was named after his father, and my brother shares his name as his middle name. My brother wrote this and it was shared at the funeral as well.
John Walter Lowe remembers his grandpa.
When I was a child, I was embarrassed by my middle name because I thought it sounded funny. I'm not sure exactly how the story goes, but apparently the name Walter was given to my grandfather on a bet. In my generation however, the name Walter is not just a silly sounding name anymore. The name Walter represents a strong work ethic, a loving heart, and an ability to persevere no matter the situation. We all know how great a story-teller my dad is, so perhaps I have a slightly exaggerated idea of who my grandfather was and the things he did in his life, but I grew up knowing that he could have beat up Superman. I did not realize just how much of an impact these stories had on me until I joined the Marine Corps. There was a time in boot camp, when I had fevers and infections to the point that I could not think clearly, and merely walking was a struggle, that I honestly believed I was dying. I seriously considered giving up, but I couldn't stomach the thought of letting Grandpa down. I knew that he would not have given up, and having the name Walter bears with it a certain responsibility. Later, when I was stationed in Texas, and we would go on our morning runs, I would always put myself out into the front of the group, fight to stay there, and feel absolutely dead halfway through. At those times, I would look up into the sky and find Orion. When my mom took us to Oklahoma, my dad told us that no matter where we were, if we could find Orion, he would be looking up at Orion as well, and thinking of us. I would look up and remember how my dad had his seven mile course that he would run with his friends on top of his daily military training at West Point, and how Grandpa was one of the few who passed all of the ridiculous tests that they were putting pilot candidates through to disqualify them during the draw down after the war, and I knew that Walter Lowes don't slow down, no matter how hard it gets.
But aside from physical and mental fortitude, he was an example to all of us in love, generosity, and righteousness. Grandpa didn't always make the best financial decisions, but he was one of the richest people that I know. He has a wife of sixty one years who loves him dearly. He has children and grandchildren who love him enough that they pitched in to help build his home, and helped take care of him in his final days, rather than consigning him to a retirement home, as befalls so many Americans these days. He has everything that I could imagine wanting in life. Looking at his life, we find the key to such happiness. Though his venture into chinchillas ended up going under, he gave his wife a chinchilla stole. Though his electronics store didn't work out, he gave my dad a really nice set of speakers from it. Though his trailer homes never brought him much money, and demanded more than they were worth in the maintenance that he had to do, he provided many people with homes that they would not otherwise have been able to afford. Anything he had, he was willing to give to those who needed it. He is the strongest example in my life of how to be more like Christ, and one day I hope to have all that he has. When I was a child, I was embarrassed by my middle name because it sounds funny, but now, because of the man it represents, I wear it as a badge of honor. Last Friday, the world suffered a great loss, but the ripples of his life will continue to spread, and if we but follow his example and spread these lessons on to our children, the world will never be without him.
John Walter Lowe
I love my Grandfather and miss him dearly. I look forward with hope to the day when we will meet again in the presence of our savior and once again be able to play Bands of Steel. I love you, Grandpa. God be with you til we meet again.