Lowery has been blessed with a long and fruitful life. One of his greatest blessings has been his marriage with Mary Ann Maines Smith.
Lowery was born to Anna Mae Lowery Smith and Rennie John Smith on June 28, 1929 on his mother’s parent farm near Rosebush, Michigan. Both of his parents were teachers who valued lifelong learning. On December 1, 1937 the family moved from Michigan, where all their extended family and friends lived, to work in education on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Southwestern South Dakota. The move was made during the depth of the great depression. Lowery attended grade school in a one room public school from grade 3 through 8.
During World War II Lowery’s father joined the Navy as a recruiter and was stationed in Rapid City, SD. Lowery graduated from Rapid City High School where he was active in football and track. He graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City in 1951 with a BS degree in Geological Engineering.
In 1950 Lowery Married Jane Louise Beck and they had five children: Lowery (Corky) Beck Smith, Sherry Mae Smith, Kim Louise Battisti, Rennie Neil Smith and Earl (Doc) Miller Smith. After 15 years the marriage ended and Lowery became a single parent to his three sons until he married Mary Ann Maines on August 23, 1969 at her parent’s farm south of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lowery and Mary Ann have 13 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
Lowery’s careers include employment with Exxon as a field geologist, Hercules Power Company as a technical sales representative, the J. L. Shiely Company in various sales and marketing positions, Minnesota FracSand Company as president. Lowery retired from the J. L. Shiely Company in 1989 and started his own company, Ag-Lime Sales, Inc. He closed the company in 2016 and officially retired at 87. During his employment years Lowery held many leadership roles in local and national industry associations.
Lowery’s passions include travel, spiritual enrichment, lifelong learning and planning family gatherings and trips (such as rafting the Grand Canyon, travelling in Switzerland, sailing in the British Virgin Islands, and staying in a castle in Northern Ireland). He considers the blessings of sharing time with family and friends to be high-points in his life.
Without question Lowery’s 50+ years marriage with Mary Ann has brought him his greatest joy and companionship. Together they have traveled to six of the seven continents and made 14 trips to Chile for short term mission work.
Mary Ann Maines Smith
Mary Ann Maines Smith was born January 13, 1936 in Saint Francis hospital in Beech Grove, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. Mary Ann’s parents were Raymond McNary Maines and Helen Marie Merkle. In her first 9 years, the family lived in Indianapolis where she attended grades 1-3.
Mary Ann loved to read and walk with her mother to the local library to choose new books. On Saturdays as a child she enjoyed listening to radio episodes of “Let’s Pretend” and “Jack Armstrong” and going with her younger Aunt Barbara, who was like a sister, to matinee movies that cost $0.25 for admission. When she was 10, the family moved to the suburbs and her brother, John, was born. Happy finally to have a sibling, she enjoyed playing with him and babysitting.
Because of several family moves Mary Ann attended three different high schools, graduating from Ben Davis High School in 1953. She participated in 4-H, speech competition, drama club, girls’ choir and Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF). Her involvement in 4-H led to attending Indiana State Fair Girls’ School for three years (the last year as student assistant director) then Purdue University where she majored in Home Economics Education. She graduated with a B.S. degree in 1957 and an M.S. in 1967. She was the first in her family to graduate from college.
In 1958 Mary Ann married a college boy friend who was in the Air Force. They lived in six states in the nine years of their marriage. They were separated in 1965 and divorced in 1967. At the time of their separation Mary Ann returned to Purdue to enter graduate school. Professionally Mary Ann was an Extension educator in Indiana for a year, then taught Home Economics in 4 different states during her first marriage. While working on her MS degree, she worked with student teachers at Purdue and stayed on as an instructor after completing her graduate program.
While in graduate school Mary Ann became friends with Maribel Rozendal, Lowery’s sister. Maribel suggested that she might like to get to know her big brother who lived in Minnesota. He was a divorcee who was raising his three sons. After corresponding for several months they met at his parent’s home on Thanksgiving 1968 in Michigan. Things developed quickly and Mary Ann and Lowery were married on her parent’s farm near Boggstown, Indiana on August 23, 1969. They have often said throughout their married life that God brought them together and has watched over them. Though older son, Corky, had moved out, Rennie and Doc, the 12 year old twins, were still at home and active in sports and school. Their activities brought much joy. Mary Ann felt privileged to become their mother. She often said she couldn’t love them more if she had given birth to them.
After moving to Minnesota, she taught home economics nine years at Columbia Heights, a suburb of Minneapolis. In 1978 she decided to work on her PhD in Education at the University of Minnesota. She was a graduate instructor while working on her degree, supervising student teachers and teaching methods classes. Upon finishing the PhD in 1982, Mary Ann joined the faculty in the Home Economics Education Department where she organized and taught courses and advised graduate students who were educators with the Minnesota Extension Service. From 1991-1993 she served as Interim Assistant Director for Extension Home Economics and was on the leadership team for the College of Human Ecology. After 33 years of teaching, she retired as an associate professor from the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1995.
Throughout her career and in retirement, Mary Ann was active in and had leadership roles in several organizations: Contact, Bethlehem Covenant Church, the Minnesota Home Economics Association, Women in Leadership, and Minnesota Walk to Emmaus. Lowery and Mary Ann also participated in short term mission work in Chile, making 14 trips to help build churches and do maintenance at a girls’ orphanage. They especially valued the friendships that developed from those experiences. Through their married years several exchange students lived with them and developed long-term relationships. Lowery and Mary Ann enjoyed travel and visited six of the seven continents. They were especially grateful to share many special trips with their parents, children and grandchildren.
Family gatherings to celebrate births, birthdays, weddings and other special events also were very important. Mary Ann and Lowery treasured their Lake Superior place–“The Loons at Lutsen”–where they valued time with family and friends. They were blessed to celebrate their 50 years of marriage with family and friends at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado on August 23, 2019.