Oren C. "Lou" Lowder
Oren C. “Lou” Lowder, Sr., 94, of Springfield, died at 11:21 am, Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Memorial Medical Center. He was born on March 18, 1925 in Virden, IL to Oren and Elenora (Falcetti) Lowder. He married June Ruffing on October 22, 1949 in Nokomis, IL.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, June, of Springfield; six children, Marylou Lowder Kent, Judi Stoppelwerth (husband, BJ), Oren Lowder, Joe “Joby” Lowder (partner, Trish Hannel), John Lowder (partner, Jessica Basham), Lynn Lowder (fiancé, Jim Coffey); grandchildren, Katie Kent-Centeno (husband, Andonie), Nick Kent (partner, Heather Drouillard), Shyla Dallas (husband, Wayne), Cara Dasher (husband, Jason), Candice McCarty (husband, Jared), Oren “CJ” Lowder (wife, Nicole), Josh Lowder (fiancé, Holly Tucker), Trisha Cottrill (husband, Josh), Jared Lowder. Madison Marr (husband, Rob), Meghan Paul (husband, Matt), Erik Lowder, Lyndsie Herman (partner, Michael Hill) and TJ Herman; 19 great grandchildren and one on the way. In addition to several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; infant son, John Oren Lowder; one granddaughter, Shawna Jones; one brother, Robert Lowder and two sisters, Helen Bell and Orrine Lowder.
Two weeks after graduation from Cathedral Boys High School in 1943, he enlisted in the United States Navy and entered World War II. He served most of his tour as Gunner’s Mate First Class aboard the Destroyer Escort, the Walter C. Wann, and spent the majority of his active service in the South Pacific War Zone where he earned, among many other citations, 5 Battle Stars, the Philippine Liberation Medal, and a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. In 1951-52 he re-entered the Navy during the Korean Conflict.
In January 1950, he joined the Illinois State Police where he spent 28 years earning his way up from Trooper to Lt. Colonel and Deputy Superintendent. During his tenure, he held several field and administrative positions including Executive Security to the Governor, first statewide Staff Inspection Team member, ISP Staff, chief of the Illinois State Fair detail, Area Commander in charge of the northern half of Illinois including Chicago and Cook County, and the first ISP Legislative Liaison Officer. He was also a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA.
In 1977 he retired from the ISP to become Executive Director of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Laws Commission which served as staff to both the Illinois House and Senate on matters of traffic safety and motor vehicle licensing and regulation. During his time with the Commission he drafted major revisions to the Illinois Vehicle Code. When the Commission was abolished in 1983, he served as Traffic Safety Advisor under Governor Jim Thompson for a year and then Highway Safety Advisor to Secretary of State Jim Edgar. He became the National Chair of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrator’s Committee to Establish Uniform Standards and Criteria for testing and issuing Commercial Drivers Licenses for the Federal Highway Administration. He also served as Chairman of the committee that drafted the Illinois “Uniform Commercial Driver’s License Act” and successfully guided its passage through the Illinois General Assembly. In 1990, after 41 years of honorable service to the State of Illinois, he finally retired.
Oren was a man of deep faith and sincerely committed to God and his parish, St Frances Cabrini. He coached CYO basketball for 13 years where he had a profound influence on many high school youth. He served as Chairman of the Parish Council, Chairman of the Men’s Club and led two Parish Fund Drives. Along with his wife June, he co-chaired the Parish Fall Festival for several years. And for 15 years he humbly served as the ground maintenance volunteer for the parish grounds. He was also an active member of the Knights of Columbus and was named Knight of the Year in 1983 by Council 4175.
He strongly believed that we all have a duty to each other and to our community. He was a proud member of many civic and fraternal organizations, including the Eagles, the VFW and the Illinois Police Association. He was an active member of the Golden Gloves Association for over 40 years, serving as Director of Bouts, President and Franchise Holder. He believed that boxing offered youth not only an outlet for pent up aggression but also a means of discipline in their lives.
In addition to boxing, he loved most sports, played a decent game of golf and was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan for his entire life. He also made an effort to attend his grandchildren’s sporting events until he was no longer able to do so.
Oren was a man who was intensely devoted to his God, his country and most of all his family. He spent almost 70 years with his true soulmate June and together they created a close and loving dynasty of which he was immensely proud.
Memorial Gathering: 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Saturday, May 18, 2019 at St. Frances Cabrini Church.
Memorial Mass: 11:00 am, Saturday, May 18, 2019 at St. Frances Cabrini Church with Reverend Kevin Mann officiating.
Burial: 12:00 noon on Monday, May 20, 2019 at Camp Butler National Cemetery where military honors will be conducted.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Frances Cabrini Church.