Ned M. Lowry death

Ned M. Lowry death

By Kevin Cretin

The Northwestern Chapter of NARGS and the plant world as a whole lost one of its most well respected members recently. Dr. Ned M. Lowry passed away of complications from cancer on November 24, 2015. He was 82. A Washington native, Ned was born in Bellingham in 1933. He received his bachelor's degree from the Western Washington College of Education in Bellingham, before attending the University of Washington in Seattle for his doctoral work and earning a PhD in chemistry. In 1957 he married Betty Ragle, also a PhD in chemistry, and they embarked on a life together spanning well over sixty years.

After a stint in Rhode Island working for DuPont, Ned and Betty returned to western Washington where Ned joined the commercial airplanes division of Boeing as an engineer. His career there was long and distinguished, earning him the title of Technical Fellow.

Ned and Betty had a passion for plants--and for seeing them in the wild--that was well known. They traveled together frequently on botanizing expeditions, and explored much of the western United States together (making three trips to Alaska alone between 2000 and 2006), as well as taking a trip to Patagonia in South America in 2000. These trips allowed Ned to exercise his love for photography as well, and his pictures and descriptions of rare plants in the wild have been the highlight of many a scholarly journal. Ned and Betty's passion was visible closer to home as well, as their garden was legendary and was always a tour stop for visiting members of the plant and rock garden community.  Together or separately Ned and Betty wrote three articles for the NARGS publication:  growing eriogonums, mountain plants of Ecuador and Peru, and members’ seed preferences (1978 and 1979).

More than anything else, Ned was dedicated to Betty, and was always her staunch protector and partner. When growing health concerns made it difficult for her to continue to maintain their extensive garden, Ned moved them both to a small, quiet house on Whidbey Island where they remained together until his passing.

Ned will be remembered for his kindness, his generosity, and his willingness to help others. Almost until his last day, he was working to help the Northwestern Chapter put together a new website, and answering plant origin questions from members. He was truly a special individual, and his loss will be felt deeply by us all.