|11 Jan 2021|
LOWE, Stephen. Passed 24th October 2020
Stephen was at the school from 1960-1967 and will be sadly missed by his friends and family.
We are conscious that many people from this time at school may not be in contact with us and we would be very grateful if you could pass on this information to those that you know.
As is the usual practice, we would like to place an obituary for him in the next OI Journal and would be very grateful if anyone felt they could come forward to write one. Alternatively, if you know of any stories or memories, please pass them on so we could put them together for the publication. Address any contributions to me through firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below.
With best wishes
Pam Lowe (Stephen's wife) writes:
Stephen John Lowe 71 died at home on Saturday 24 th October 2020 after a long and courageous fight with Motor Neurone Disease. He leaves behind his wife Pamela, who cared for him so well, his sons Simon and David and grandchildren Elizabeth and Thomas. Following his retirement from the NHS, Stephen became a Magistrate and an activemember of the Folkestone Lions Club. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Stephen was born on 8th April 1949 in Derby to Harold and Peggy. He had an older brother Nigel who died in 2009.
He lived in Allestree until the age of 4 when the family moved to Felixstowe Suffolk . Felixstowe Junior High school then on to Ipswich Boys School from 1960 -1967. A day boy for a year Stephen remembers travelling up to school pillion on his Father’s scooter. He then became a border following in the footsteps of his uncle, Kenneth Williams and cousin, Anthony Williams.
He met Pamela, his future wife, at college where they were studying for a BSc degree and married in June 1973.
Stephen chose a career in the NHS as a Health Service Administrator, for which he gained a Diploma in 1979. Starting in far flung reaches of Thanet in 1974 he moved to Wycombe General Hospital as Deputy Hospital Secretary and was responsible for commissioning Phase 3 – the maternity unit where sons Simon and David were born. The family lived in the lovely town of Marlow. In 1987 he took up a management post at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford Kent, making Folkestone his home base. He had experienced many Health Service reorganisations during his career, and in 2000 he faced yet another reorganisation. Offered the opportunity to take early retirement, Stephen at 51 did not hesitate for one second to accept the offer. He genuinely enjoyed hospital life and the camaraderie among work colleagues, but he did not regret retirement and considered it his good fortune and hence a new life began.
He became a Magistrate first as a winger and then as a Bench Chair, a role he found challenging but very rewarding. He joined the Folkestone Lions Club, a fund raising organisation, and very soon found himself in a key role at the annual Donkey Derby, organising the hot dog stall, selling over 1000 hot dogs over a weekend. The word “sausage” was banned from the Lowe household for sometime! He took on the Presidency twice, organised the Boxing Day Dip and particularly enjoyed organising and participating in the twinning trips with fellow Lions in Germany.
Stephen’s best memories of his NHS life go back to his time at Wycombe General Hospital, probably the friendliest he had known. This was in part due to the regular hospital revues where his ability and talent to put together an ode for any occasion at a moment’s notice came into its own. He wrote and participated in many sketches, and acted as compere. This reflects his great sense of humour and his knack of sharing jokes with a wry smile and glint in his eye.
As a family man he absolutely loved his annual holidays. They became a key part of life on his retirement when he and his wife decided to explore the world. As a keen photographer all family events and holidays have been captured in great photographs.
Stephen was well known for his home brewed beer and wine making, on which he embarked with great enthusiasm 46 years ago. He would be found bottling wine or beer whilst cooking the Sunday roast –a chef as well. Gardening was a passion shared by both he and Pamela, with Stephen being chief vegetable grower/ hedge trimmer, and he really loved a good bonfire. He took great pleasure in DIY projects, particularly with Pamela as his assistance. He loved many other activities, his racket sports and golf, rambling , snorkelling and the daily challenge of completing the telegraph cryptic crossword.
Then life suddenly changed in 2016 when Stephen was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, a very cruel disease. Throughout his illness and decline Stephen was stoic, he maintained his dignity, but above all retained his sense of humour a quality referred to in the many tributes to him. Stephen and Pamela were so touched and truly grateful for the wonderful care and support they received from family, friends, carers and the local Hospice during this difficult time.
Stephen had a very common sense approach to life, he was modest about all his achievements and would always lift spirits with his great sense of humour, qualities for which he was loved and admired. Stephen will be held dear in the hearts of all his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
A moment in time as remembered by Stephen’s wife.
Stephen was a member of Ipswich School CCF. On one occasion the Contingent Commander who may have been John Le Mare, had arranged a trip to an army centre / barracks in Chelmsford. Stephen, for reasons I cannot recall, was held back at school and could not join the group on the transport provided. In order not to miss out on something he enjoyed Stephen decided to hitch a lift to the venue.
A summons to the Headmaster’s study the next day had Stephen trembling in his shoes. He guessed it was about his travel arrangements the day before. What was his fate? I believe the conversation went something like this.
HM “I understand you missed the transport for the CCF trip yesterday, so how did you get there Lowe? “
S in a stutter “I thumbed a lift Sir”
HM “You mean you hitchhiked. (Pause) Well done Lowe, I like a boy who shows initiative”
That was not what Stephen had expected from the Headmaster Patrick Mermagen!
Paul Turner (OI 1958-68) writes:
Stephen Lowe sadly passed away, with his wife at his side, on 24th October 2020 following a long and courageous fight against the most cruel disease of Motor Neurone Disease, with which he had been diagnosed in 2016.
We were fellow OIs, at both Junior House and Westwood together. Throughout his illness, Stephen had maintained his dignity and above all his sense of humour. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Westwood reunion in 2007, when he did not seem to have changed at all over the intervening 40 years since he left the school.
Andy Green (OI 1960-67) (Staff member 1999-03) writes:
Stephen and I passed through the school at the same time, he was boarding and I was a day boy. He was a good friend and companion. We have remained in contact ever since by phone, letter, e-mail and cards at Christmas also visits together. I learned of his condition in 2018, diagnosed a couple of years earlier. I have been privileged to exchange a number of e-mails with him since then during which we mused on our career paths and families. He was especially interested in developments at Ipswich School over the years and during my time as a staff member. These have been many and varied both of school structures and arguably the biggest change of all, becoming co-educational. We exchanged old photographs of the school in our time and some more recent ones. I shall miss our reminiscences.
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