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Obituary - John Lawrence ‘Jack’ Lowe

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John Lawrence ‘Jack’ Lowe

May 12, 1937 – July 7, 2023

Lifetime Arkansas Valley resident John (Jack) Lawrence Lowe, 86, passed away Friday, July 7, 2023, at the Crowley County Nursing Center in Ordway. Jack was truly a man of few words. When he spoke, we listened, even when we didn’t like what he had to say. He might not have been chatty, but he had plenty to say through his actions and how he handled life’s obstacles. He was known for his calm and commanding presence. And his hands. They were huge. And his handprint can still be felt throughout the La Junta and Arkansas Valley areas.

Jack was born May 12, 1937, in Las Animas, Colorado, to Walt and Martha Lowe. Before moving to La Junta in 1966 he graduated from Las Animas High School in 1955 where he was an outstanding student/athlete. Following high school, he took his athletic abilities on to Otero Junior College in La Junta and to Colorado State University (Colorado A&M) in Fort Collins. He graduated from both. During his time at Otero Jack had a summer job doing road construction and met his wife-to-be, Betty Burtis, at her job as a lifeguard at the La Junta swimming pool. He claimed he only went to the pool for the 25-cent showers.

They married on June 12, 1958, and together raised three children in La Junta: Libby, John and Marty. Together they enjoyed their 7 grandchildren, who grew up in Arkansas Valley. Elise and Emily Hiza, Tate and Riley Lowe, and Marta, Reece and Leah Roberson.

One of Jack and Betty’s greatest joys was living in what the family referred to as “The Lowe Compound”. In adulthood John and Marty both built family homes on the lane they shared with their parents. Tate, Riley, Marta, Reece and Leah had the opportunity to grow up with their grandparents (including their great grandmother Burtis) down the road. The kids literally had the run of the place and considered their grandparent’s home their own; as did Elise an Emily. All the grandchildren are grateful they had the privilege of growing up and knowing Grandpa Jack on a deeply personal and daily basis.

Before moving the family to La Junta in 1966 he and Betty lived on their farm in Las Animas just a few a miles from where he and his sisters, Jean and Janet, were raised. Then in 1962 he was lured into helping his father-in-law, the late Al Burtis, install a new printing press at the La Junta Tribune-Democrat. That led to him later becoming the General Manager and President of the sister corporation Valley Offset Printing and Publisher of the Bent County Democrat.

Working in a family business can be hard, but one of his strengths was always putting family first. He was able to do this over three generations. Working side-by-side with his father-in-law, brother-in-law, Mack Burtis, and his son, John and his wife Wanda, they kept the Arkansas Valley aware of the news.

Outside of his work he was involved in several organizations including: two and half terms on the La Junta School Board, Kids Rodeo and Ace Of Spades Riding Club, Growler Youth Wrestling, 4-H leader, Arkansas Valley Fair Board and St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

Prior to her passing, both Betty and Jack fought like warriors against the cancer that claimed her life on earth. Jack took great comfort in his faith that someday their spirits would be reunited in heaven. It was during this time the family witnessed not only his strength, but also his capacity for love and gentleness. Cowboys do cry!

After Betty passed away in 2000, Jack retired from the family business and dedicated himself to his passion for raising horses. Several years later he married Pat Bohlender and moved to Fowler where he built a beautiful horse property. During his time with Pat he was also stepfather to her son, TJ. Following their divorce Jack remained at the Fowler property until he moved back to his home in La Junta. He lived there until health issues forced him to move to assisted living.

Jack is survived by his sisters: Jean Decker of Gunnison, CO; and Janet (Bill) Catlin of Boise, ID; children, Libby (Ed) Hiza of Swink; John (Wanda) Lowe of Oracle, AZ; and Martha (Randell) Roberson of La Junta; grandchildren, Elise (Jeff) Rusher of Berthoud, CO; Emily (Pat) Kohan of Fort Collins, CO; Tate (Megan) Lowe of Dodge City, KS; Riley (Anna) Lowe of Greeley, CO; Marta (Zach) Oquist of La Junta; Reece Roberson of Amarillo, TX; Leah Roberson of Fort Worth, TX; Savannah Vigil of Manhattan, KS; and stepson TJ (Christie) Bohlender of Amarillo, TX; along with seven great grandchildren. He was proceeded in death by beloved wife of 42 years Betty Alden Burtis Lowe; his parents, Walt and Martha Lowe; in-laws, Al and Betty Burtis; brother in-laws, Evenson Mack Burtis and Bob Decker.

Memorial service will be held July 26, 2023 at 10:00 a.m., at Peacock-Memorial Chapel in La Junta with Pastor Gail Allen of the La Junta Cowboy Church officiating.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Arkansas Valley Hospice at directly or through the funeral home. 

Arrangements are under the direction of Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory.