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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Oren
4"Lou" Lowder of Springfield, who passed away on May 8, 2019;
6    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder was born on March 18, 1925 in Virden;
7he always liked to say he came in with a bang, as the date of
8his birth was also the date of the most devastating tornado in
9the history of Illinois; and
10    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder was born in the heart of coal country
11into a generational coal family; he was also born on the eve of
12the Great Depression, when life was a struggle, work was hard,
13and wages were meek, at best; at the age of 3, life got even
14harder for his family when his father was killed in a coal mine
15accident; left widowed with three children to raise, his mother
16moved the family to Springfield, where she found work and
17shelter managing boarding houses; and
18    WHEREAS, Although Lou Lowder never remembered living in the
19Virden area, he was proud of his Virden roots; he would tell
20stories of the many times he would take the train to visit his
21family who remained there; and



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1    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder's mother worked in boardinghouses in
2downtown Springfield, where she cooked and cleaned in exchange
3for a meager salary and room and board for her and her family;
4his family believes that living among so many different people
5coming in and out of the boardinghouses helped to instill in
6him a sense of inclusion and hospitality that remained with him
7throughout his life; and
8    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder attended St. Agnes Grade School and
9Cathedral Boys High School, where he made deep friendships and
10developed a lifelong love of sports; he loved to say that his
11most memorable athletic achievement was being knocked
12unconscious for over 24 hours by a 300-pound tackle from
13Spaulding; his teammates always blamed him for losing the game,
14even though they won it 43-0; he also boasted that he was back
15on the field the very next week to help beat their archnemesis,
16Springfield High, 13-6; and
17    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder graduated from high school in 1943; two
18weeks after graduation, driven by his sense of honor and duty,
19he boarded a train with his best friend, Joe Knox, and entered
20World War II; there was not a time in his life that he was
21prouder of nor more guarded about than the 32 months he spent
22in the Navy during World War II; he spent most of his tour as a
23Gunner's Mate First Class aboard the USS Walter C. Wann, a
24destroyer escort; after assignments along the Eastern



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1Seaboard, the North Atlantic, and the Caribbean Sea, they
2entered the South Pacific War Zone, where he earned six Battle
3Stars; and
4    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf,
5considered to be the greatest naval battle in history, where
6the Walter C. Wann's sister ship was sunk by a 16 foot Japanese
7battery; he later fought in the Battle of Okinawa, the
8costliest naval battle in American history, and, although his
9ship was heavily damaged by a Japanese kamikaze pilot, it did
10not sink; and
11    WHEREAS, After the war ended, Lou Lowder stayed with the
12Walter C. Wann as "Gun Boss" until it was mothballed in Long
13Beach, California; and
14    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder re-enlisted in the Navy during the
15Korean Conflict, serving nearly a year supplying the main air
16transportation supply base in Tulle, Greenland, north of the
17Arctic Circle; and
18    WHEREAS, Serving in war during his formative years had a
19lasting impact on Lou Lowder; his commitment to duty and
20country was unimpeachable; he was a man of honor, a loyal
21patriot, and a fierce proponent and defender of our armed
22forces; until the end, he was a military man and proud of it;



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2    WHEREAS, After returning home from World War II, Lou
3Lowder's commitment to community and his sense of duty drew him
4to a career in the Illinois State Police; over the next 28
5years, he served in a variety of roles, including as a road
6trooper, a member of the Executive Security for Governor
7Stevenson, a Shift Sergeant, a member of the first statewide
8Staff Inspection Team, a member of the Academy staff, an Area
9Commander, a First Executive Officer, and, finally, as first
10Deputy Superintendent of the entire Illinois State Police, the
11first to achieve the rank of Lt. Colonel; he also served as the
12first Illinois State Police Legislative Liaison Officer; and
13    WHEREAS, As proud as Lou Lowder was of his military
14service, he was equally proud of his beloved State Police; he
15had immense pride in being a law enforcement officer and a
16graduate of the FBI National Academy; he never stopped being a
17trooper and spent his life committed to helping those who could
18not help themselves; and
19    WHEREAS, After 28 years with the State Police, Lou Lowder
20turned to his other passion, Motor Vehicle Laws; he served as
21Executive Director of the Motor Vehicle Laws Commission; during
22his 6 years as Executive Director, the Commission advised both
23legislative chambers in matters of traffic safety and motor



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1vehicle licensing and regulation; and
2    WHEREAS, After the commission was abolished in 1983, Lou
3Lowder served as Traffic Safety Consultant to Governor
4Thompson, and, from 1984-1990, he was Highway Safety Advisor to
5Jim Edgar; and
6    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder became one of the foremost national
7authorities on motor vehicle law; he became the National
8Chairman of the American Association of Motor Vehicle
9Administrator's Committee to establish Uniform Standards and
10Criteria; in that capacity, he traveled extensively around the
11country conducting meetings and public hearings, which led to
12the Uniform Commercial Driver's License Act; and
13    WHEREAS, In 1990, after a career rooted in duty, honor, and
14a commitment to community, Lou Lowder retired; and
15    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder always believed we had a duty to each
16other and an obligation to better our community; for many
17years, he was an active member of the Knights of Columbus,
18always answering the call when help was needed; in 1980, he was
19named the Knight of the Year at Council 4175; and
20    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder was a man of deep faith; he was a
21devoted Catholic and a proud member of the St. Frances Xavier



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1Cabrini Parish; when the church decided to include more lay
2people in their service, he volunteered to be one of the first
3Eucharistic Ministers and lay lectors; he coached the CYO
4basketball team for 13 years; he served as chairman of the
5Parish Council, chairman of the Men's Club, and chair of the
6Education Committee; he served with his wife June as co-chair
7of the Fall Festival and led two parish fund drives; he was
8most proud of serving as a ground maintenance volunteer for 15
9years; and
10    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder loved the sport of boxing, believing it
11offered not only an outlet for pent up aggression but also
12provided youth with an opportunity and a means to discipline
13their lives; he was an active member of the Illinois Golden
14Gloves for 40 years, serving as director of bouts, president,
15and franchise holder; and
16    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder was a proud member of many
17organizations, including the Eagles, the Illinois Police
18Association, the VFW, and the Northend Democrats; when asked to
19serve his community, he never said no; he believed that we are
20only as strong as the community in which we live and that we
21all must work together to improve that community; and
22    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder's military, professional, and
23volunteer careers were indeed storied ones, but he will be



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1remembered most for the family that he and his beloved wife
2June created; he met June Ruffing in the Spring of 1949 while
3they were both working for the State of Illinois; it must have
4been love at first sight, because they were married on October
522nd of that year; and
6    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder and June spent 70 years providing the
7solid foundation upon which their family is deeply rooted; they
8had seven children, losing their first born, John Oren, not
9long after birth; they have since seen that family grow by 15
10grandchildren (having lost a grandchild, Shawna, at the age of
115) and 19 great-grandchildren, with another on the way; and
12    WHEREAS, The sense of inclusion and hospitality instilled
13in Lou Lowder early in life opened his family to hundreds of
14others who have merged their lives with those of his family,
15sharing in joy, celebrating triumphs, and, as now, helping each
16other through tragedy; and
17    WHEREAS, Lou Lowder taught his family never to turn from
18open arms or refuse a handshake, to show respect to those
19around you, and, most importantly, to love your family above
20all else; and
21    WHEREAS, Though Lou Lowder may be gone, he will live on in
22the physical embodiment of his children, grandchildren and



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1great-grandchildren and in the memory of those who have shared
2their lives with him and his family; therefore, be it
5we mourn the passing of Oren "Lou" Lowder and extend our
6sincere condolences to his family, friends, and all who knew
7and loved him; and be it further
8    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
9presented to the family of Lou Lowder as an expression of our
10deepest sympathy.