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Our Namesake - Zelvin & Mary Lowman

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Zelvin Lowman was born in McCune, Kansas on September 8, 1921. He attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and went off to midshipman’s school during World War II, commissioned as a lieutenant. He married his college sweetheart, Mary B. Hemphill, and shipped out for duty in the South Pacific. He was a decorated veteran during the war and continued in the Naval Reserve, also serving during the Korean War, and for 30 years in reserve status. He retired as a US Navy captain.

In the early 1950’s, he and his young family moved to Las Vegas where he began work at a company that would become Nevada Power Company. He had a long career at Nevada Power and retired in 1978 as director of public relations. He later worked in real estate as a broker-salesman at Mary Lowman Realty and served as a court administrator for the 8th Judicial District of Nevada.


Mr. Lowman was a dedicated husband and father, always interested in his children’s education and activities. This led him to a lifetime of community service. He was most proud of is work with the Boy Scouts of America, Las Vegas Area Council. He was a 50-year member of the council. He served as chairman of the board and almost every other volunteer position in the council. His stints as scoutmaster of Troop 120 and skipper of Sea Explorer Ship 116 turned out hundreds of young men ready for the world. He received Boy Scouting’s highest recognition in the Silver Beaver and Antelope awards. Mr. Lowman was also active in youth and education arenas. He was a perennial moderator of the Sun Youth Forum. During the decade of the 1960’s, he was presented the Heart Award of the Local Variety Club and was given the Meritorious Service Award of the Secondary School Principals for outstanding service to Education.


In the other civic activities, Mr. Lowman served as a director of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, and chairs of the Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada and the Nevada State Council of the Arts. He served as a member of the Civil Service Board, was president or chairman of numerous other community and civic groups, including Better Business Bureau, Employers Association of Southern Nevada, and Uptown Kiwanis Club, to name a few.


Mr. Lowman was sustained by a deep faith in God. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church and was an ordained elder and church leader, supported ecumenical activities, working with the Clark County Ministerial Association. He helped organize many community-wide Easter Sunrise Services, Thanksgiving Day services, mayor’s prayer breakfast and Billy Graham Crusades.


Mary Lowman was trained as an educator earning her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western State College in Gunnison Colorado. Mary was active in the first Presbyterian Church and broke gender barriers when ordained as an Elder of the Presbyterian Church in the 1960’s. She focused her efforts on education and youth and was the organizing chairman of the Academy which has evolved to be Cornerstone Christian Academy today. Additionally, in 1964, Mary was named the Outstanding Woman in Home and Community by the Las Vegas Campfire Girls. She was president of the Frontier Girl Scout Council and continued to be active during her long tenure as a member of the Scouts of America in the 1970’s. Mary served in various leadership roles in the General Federation of Women’s Club, specifically Las Vegas Mesquite Club, but also at the regional, national, and international federation board level. Mary was instrumental in the efforts to prevent drug abuse and assist those suffering from it as the founding president of Southern Nevada Drug Abuse Council in 1971.


In 1989, she was awarded the Thanks Badge II for her service to Girl Scouts. In 1970, she was named Mother-of-the-Year for Nevada by the American Mothers Committee. In 1964, Mary was named the Outstanding Woman in Home and Community by the Las Vegas Campfire Committee.


She was a vibrant community contributor. In 2005, she was honored in the Las Vegas Art Museum show, “100 Years of Influence: Women Who Shaped Las Vegas.” She was vice chairman of the Greater Las Vegas Board of Realtors in the 1980’s and served on several of its committees.


Mary and her husband, Zel, were often recognized for their contributions to family values. In 1993, the Clark County School District named the Mary and Zel Lowman Elementary School to honor them both. In 1960, the Lowman’s were named the All-American Family of Nevada as part of a national search for the All-American Family.


Mr. and Mrs. Lowman were immersed in community service together and as individuals from the time they moved to Las Vegas in 1954 until their passing. The Lowman’s legacy of devotion to education and community service will be forever remembered.

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