Born Dec. 3, 1922 in Mercersburg, Penn., Warren Harding Lowans passed away peacefully on July 9, 2020.
Preceded in death by Mary Helen, his loving wife of 57 years, he is survived by his two sons, Thurman and Mark, and granddaughter, Sandra Lee.
At 16, he served as an Orderly for then-Col. George S. Patton at the Civilian Military Training Camp at Fort Belvoir, Va. Receiving an athletic scholarship to West Chester State Teachers College in Pennsylvania, he was a stand-out tackle and captain of the team, which played in the Cigar Bowl and Tobacco Bowl.
College was interrupted by World War II, and Warren was a Cadet in the Navy V-12 Program known as the Cloudbusters at Chapel Hill, N.C. While a Pre-flight cadet, he played football against “Crazy Legs Hirsh,” who “rearranged” a few front teeth.
In October 1944, Warren was commissioned an ensign, received his Navy Wings of Gold and married Mary Helen Taylor. Following WWII, he returned to West Chester to graduate in 1948. In 1949, he signed a professional football contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the Continental League with a signing bonus of $500. He attended Columbia University earning a masters degee in 1949 while earning extra money as a pilot doing skywriting over Long Island. Warren remained in the Naval Reserves and became high school head football coach in Bloomfield, N.J. Hired as a coach by “Wild Bill” Foley, Warren became friends with George Cella and Vince Lombardi, who was then coaching at West Point.
Recalled to active duty for the Korean Conflict in 1951, he returned permanently to the regular Navy in 1955 and served until he retired as a captain in 1974. He flew numerous aircraft during his 32 years of total service, including F6F Hellcat, F4U Corsair, A3D Skywarrior, F9F Panther, SB2C Helldiver, Daher TBM, wooden-framed TIMM and T-6 Texas Trainer. He made four WestPac Cruises on board the USS Yorktown, USS Bon Homme Richard, and USS Kitty Hawk.
On Dec. 21, 1959, then-LCDR “Moose” Lowans made history in successfully landing a damaged A3D Skywarrior into the barricade netting aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard CVA-31, an accomplishment engineers thought possible, but never before attempted.
He was an assistant professor of Naval Science at Harvard, where he was a colleague and friend of Henry Kissinger. Capt. Lowans later served as professor of Naval Science and commanding officer of the NROTC Unit at Prairie View A&M. Early in his career, Warren Lowans was a student at the Naval War College in Newport, and, in 1967 he returned on the War College Staff.
Capt. Lowans served as executive officer, and then commanding officer, of VT-23 at NAS Kingsville, Texas. His final command was Navy Recruiting Area One, which geographically included New England, New York and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In 1974, Capt. Lowans retired after 32 years of active service and was awarded several decorations including the Legion of Merit. He and Mary Helen retired to Whidbey Island, Wash., built a home and enjoyed their retired Life. They made frequent road trips and took an annual road trip across country to visit family and friends. An avid golfer, Warren played with a group of his duffer buddies several times a week. He outlived all of his friends and it was only then he stopped playing golf.
Warren H. Lowans embraced Life and faced it squarely as he moved forward with his long and honorable career of service to his country, while adoring his wife, Mary Helen. Few remain who remember the details of his life, but all who knew him will miss him for the loving husband, father, true gentleman and patriot that he was.
A private graveside service was held at Sunnyside Cemetery in Coupeville, Wash. To view his online guest book, please visit www.wallinfuneralhome.com