Monday, September 12, 2011

Bands of Steel

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.
 One of my cousins talked about how we are bound together by Bands of Steel that will never be broken.  That we are sealed together eternally as a family by bands of steel.  I thought that this was a beautiful and perfect analogy.  I am so grateful for a Grandfather who loved his family, his God and his Country.

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.

Lowe, Walter, "Walt"Walter "Walt" V. Lowe of Mesa, AZ passed away on August 26, 2011 in Mesa. He was 85 years old. Walt was born on March 10, 1926 in Logan, Utah to Gilbert and Leone Lowe. Walter Lowe graduated from Santa Ana High School in 1944, and enlisted in the Army. He served in the Army Air Corps from September 1944 until November of 1945. He served in the Northern States Mission for the LDS church from Oct. 1946 to Oct. 1948. He managed and owned KDJI Radio in Holbrook, AZ from July 1961 to 1978. He resided in Holbrook for 44 yrs. He served as president of the Arizona Broadcaster's Association for 1974-75 year. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Patricia Lowe of Mesa; 2 daughters, Verlanne(Johnny) Johnson of Mission Viejo, CA; Christine (Steven) Ramsey of Mesa, AZ; 2 sons, Walter V. (Patty) Lowe Jr. of McKinney, TX; and Laurence M. (Jennilyn) Lowe of Springville, UT; 19 grand children; and 19 great grandchildren. Walt is preceded in death by one son, Allen Lowe, in 1973. Visitation will be held on Thursday September 1, 2011 from 6-8 pm at Falconer Funeral Home. 251 W Juniper Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85233. Funeral Services will be held on Friday September 2 at 11:00 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Thunder Mountain Ward building located at 7752 E McDowell Rd, Mesa AZ . Additional Funeral Services will be held on Saturday September 3, 2011 at 11:00AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints , Little Colorado Ward, 1127 Helen Avenue, Holbrook, AZ 86025. Interment will take place at the Holbrook City Cemetery in Holbrook, AZ following services.

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
Aug 2011

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.


Eric and Amy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great man. I love the "bands of steel". That's not one to forget!

Janet Adams Starnes said...

Thank you for including the story that John wrote. He is a good writer too. I am glad you were able to attend your grandpa Lowe's funeral. Love, MOM