Upshur `Tooie' Lowndes Jr., 57, highway worker and outdoorsman

October 27, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Upshur "Tooie" Lowndes Jr., a retired Baltimore County highway worker who was a well-known Maryland outdoorsman, died of melanoma Thursday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 57.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Riderwood, Mr. Lowndes was a great-grandson of Lloyd Lowndes Jr., who was elected Maryland's first Republican governor in 1896.

He left Towson High School in 1967 and joined the merchant marine, traveling to Vietnam aboard the SS Neva West as a messman and cook.

A year later, he returned to Baltimore and worked as a plumber, landscaper, woodcutter, salad chef and part-time model, and briefly crewed on a Maine lobster boat. He also earned his General Educational Development certificate in 1971.

Mr. Lowndes was hired by the county Bureau of Highways in 1977 and worked in road maintenance until retiring in 2002.

He was a longtime resident of Parkton, where his home overlooked Deer Creek.

"He was a character, and a lot of people in Baltimore knew him because he traveled in so many different circles. However, his first love was the outdoors," said longtime friend William "Rocky" Stump Jr. "When we were kids, we used to go fishing at a little pond in Ruxton, and later on, we used to roam far and wide to go bluefishing and crabbing."

Ed Dentry, former outdoors editor for the old News-American and now at the Rocky Mountain News, was a frequent fishing and hunting companion.

"He was one of my pals whom I wrote about and traveled with, hunting and fishing throughout Maryland," Mr. Dentry said, describing him as "a very affable and gentle soul who truly loved the traditional outdoor life."

"We hunted pheasant and went over to the Eastern Shore, where we fished for largemouth bass in the rivers. And we went body booting many times together on the Susquehanna mud flats for a Christmas goose," Mr. Dentry said.

"Body booting was a carry-over from the days after gunning from sink boxes was outlawed. We'd put on rubber suits and then go into the river. The decoys were set, and then we'd hide behind silhouettes of geese waiting with our shotguns until they arrived," he said.

Mr. Dentry also told of how Mr. Lowndes saved his life:

"After standing for a long time, your feet kind of get stuck in the silt. I started to move and fell over. I was starting to float away, and along came Tooie."

Near the end of his life, Mr. Lowndes gathered his friends for a final lobster dinner.

"He requested 4-pound lobsters, and we had a great feast," Mr. Stump said.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the J.J. Hartenstein Funeral Home in New Freedom, Pa.

Mr. Lowndes is survived by his wife of 32 years, the former Jan E. Froehlich; a son, Tasker Gantt Lowndes III of Parkton; two daughters, Audrey Ewing Lowndes of Parkton and Marcie Randall Alban of Baltimore; his mother, Emily M. Lowndes of Kingwood, Texas; a brother, Richard Arden Lowndes of Augusta, Ga.; a sister, Hannah Parker Schlink of Kingwood; and two grandchildren.

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