Describing Ed Lowe in a few words is no easy task.
“In my experience, Ed was the consummate showman,” says Steve Quello, founder of CEO Nexus and an early adviser to the foundation. “At will, he could take command of an audience and dial things up a notch, but later turn the room over to someone else when needed. At the same time, he was a private man with an introspective nature and an ability to see opportunities that others often missed…a true visionary entrepreneur.”
“He was down-to-earth, comfortable in jeans and a baseball cap and enjoyed visiting with a broad range of people,” recalls McCuistion. “Yet he was equally comfortable in a suit at high-level meetings or discussing complex engineering issues.”
“He was down-to-earth, comfortable in jeans and a baseball cap and enjoyed visiting with a broad range of people. Yet he was equally comfortable in a suit at high-level meetings or discussing complex engineering issues.”
— Mike McCuistion
Spending large sums of money on projects, and even going over budget, generally didn’t bother Ed, McCuistion adds. “Yet he might get upset over the purchase of a small item or tool if he didn’t think it was absolutely necessary. He would also get upset when he saw used building materials in the dumpster — even if they weren’t cost-effective to salvage.”
“Ed could have a hot temper and a short fuse,” agrees Wyant. “But he was quick to get over any irritation and didn’t hang onto things or make it personal. I’ve always felt this was because he was so transparent and in the moment. He didn’t have a filter and said exactly what was on his mind. The lack of a filter is also what made him fearless and gave him the ability to approach anyone.”
Although Ed occasionally had a gruff exterior, it was tempered by his extreme generosity.
“Ed was a very humane person, who cared about everyone,” says Mike Ban, who joined Edward Lowe Enterprises in 1985. “He talked with people when he was checking stores, in checkout lines, walking on the street, in the airport, everywhere. He always wanted to help people succeed in business, as he had. He wanted to help them with advice, money, whatever they needed to succeed.”
“There was a spirituality to Ed that few people recognized, but appears often in his poetry,” observes Jack Pycik, a longtime friend and foundation board trustee. He points to one such poem entitled “I Thanked Him.”
Father Steve Gibson recalls many conversations with Ed in his twilight years. “The memory of a man who wanted to be ‘right with his maker’ still holds a firm place in my mind,” says the Catholic priest.
“Being with Ed Lowe was like being on an adventure,” added Gibson. “The box cars, Ed’s caboose, the western town, the nature walks: an adventure in every one of those places that could take you to another place in your mind you had never been before. Ed got a lot of joy from all the things that he had accumulated over the years — and he was anxious to share that joy with others.”
Gibson remembers their first meeting, when Ed told him not to expect anything in return for their talks. “He wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t to be afraid to say anything I thought he needed to hear…I had nothing to lose since there was nothing in it for me to begin with,” Gibson says. “He was wrong there. I had a lot to gain just by being around the man, Ed Lowe. Everybody did. You couldn’t help it.”
“Yesterday left again
But tomorrow came around.
I paused a moment in between
To thank him for a sound.
I thanked him for the privilege
Of just this one more day.
I thanked him for the beauty
And that he let me stay.”
“Love, I believe is a faith conceived in heaven. Love comes from God and returns to God. It isn’t a ‘thing’ like a box of candy. It’s more like a beam of light and we are mirrors, or we can be, if we choose.”
— Ed Lowe