Tuesday, November 01, 2016

TOP STORY >> Namesake of hardware store dies

Leader staff writer

Jack Lowman passed away last Wednesday at the age of 87. He was a successful businessman and an icon of the Cabot community.

Lowman was born March 30, 1929, and was a lifelong resident of Cabot.

In 1946, he played in the first Cabot High School football game after the end of the Second World War. Cabot played Lonoke.

Lowman graduated from Cabot High in 1947 with a class of 22 people.

He attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, graduating in 1951 with a degree in business and physical-education. He played football there for one year.

Lowman was a big supporter of Cabot schools and Panther football and basketball.

Football coach Mike Malham said when Lowman was able, he was always at the games.

Lowman worked more than 60 years in his family’s business, Lowman and Lowman. The business, at its location on North First Street, was originally started by his father and grandfather as a general mercantile, grocery and hardware store in the early 1890s.

He and his brother, Jake, later ran the business.

Jack Lowman retired from Lowman and Lowman Hardware in 2000. Three generations of Lowmans ran the business for more than 100 years. The original building was destroyed by the 1976 tornado and they rebuilt at the same location.

“Four generations bought groceries here. He really enjoyed people, interested in their lives and kids and what was going on. He said he would rather work than to eat,” his son Mark Lowman said.

Lowman and Lowman Hardware was sold in 2001 to David Cochran and renamed Cabot Handy Hardware and Gifts. Coincidentally, Jack Lowman died the same week as the store closed.

Cochran said Lowman filled-in for him and continued to come to the store until his health prevented that.

“He was a one-of-kind person, an icon of the community. He knew everybody and would do anything for you. He joked around with people. He liked to call people by their maiden name,” Cochran said.

“Jack was a frugal man. For example, he walked to the post office instead of getting in his car and driving over. But he did a lot behind the scenes. He helped a lot kids go to college,” Cochran added.

“He loved his family and took care of his employees,” Cochran said.

One former employee was Harold Bibbs. As a 19 year old, he worked in the grocery’s meat department in 1963 during the summer while in college.

“It was fun to go to work being around Jack and Jake. He was humorous. He never met a stranger. He never made you feel like you were just an employee or a child. The store gave a lot of kids around here part-time jobs back then,” Bibbs said.

Bibbs said Lowman was a successful businessman and he and his wife Pat were successful parents.

Mayor Bill Cypert said Lowman and his family were pillars of the community who helped Cabot become the thriving community that it is today.

Lowman served on the first Cabot Planning Commission after the 1976 tornado.

“He was humble, godly and an honorable person. He had a unique sense of humor that was entertaining at times. I enjoyed sitting down on a stool, drinking a Coke and visiting with him during the day,” Cypert said.

Lowman was a member of First Baptist Church of Cabot, where he served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and as a much-loved youth leader.

Dearl Dixon was a friend who bird hunted with Lowman.

“He was a Christian man who lived it. He was dedicated to his family. He is going to be missed in the community,” Dixon said.

Lowman was proud of the Bank of Cabot, now Centennial Bank, which was started by his grandfather and others in 1902 to help local farmers and businesses. He was on the board for 42 years. Five generations of his family were stockholders and many were board members. The bank at 300 W. Main St. has a community room named in honor of Jack Lowman.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jake and Lillian Lowman, and an older brother, Jake Lowman. He is survived by his wife, Patsy Lowman, and his children, Mitchell, Mark and Jacque Lowman. The funeral was held Saturday at First Baptist Church of Cabot with burial in Mount Carmel Cemetery.