Edward L. Lowman, 72, headed engineering firm

April 28, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Edward L. Lowman, a civil engineer who was vice chairman and former president of John E. Harms Jr. and Associates Inc., a Pasadena engineering firm, died of pancreatic cancer Monday at his Severna Park home. He was 72.

Mr. Lowman was born and raised in Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood and after graduating from Southern High School in 1951 worked for two years as a surveyor for the old State Roads Commission.

Drafted into the Army in 1953, he became a surveying specialist and attained the rank of sergeant. After being discharged in 1956, he took a job as a survey party chief in the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works and rose to the position of subdivision design reviewer.

He also attended night school at the Johns Hopkins University, earning a bachelor's degree in engineering with honors in 1956.

Mr. Lowman was hired by Harms and Associates in 1961 to design subdivisions. He left in the early 1970s to join longtime friend Denny Messick at C. D. Messick Jr. & Associates as a partner and vice president in charge of engineering.

While at Messick, Mr. Lowman created the methodology and design of the storm-water management pond at Crofton - one of the first storm-water management facilities in the state.

"That pond, which is now more than 40 years old, was named for Louise Brady who was secretary of the Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation District," said Linton "Fuzz" Pumphrey, current president of Harms and Associates.

After Messick merged with Harms and Associates in 1982, Mr. Lowman became a division manager in charge of development engineering. He was named president in 1989.

He stepped down in 2002 after cancer was diagnosed but continued working several hours a day and retained his position on the board.

"He was well-known in the world of development and loved engineering," Mr. Pumphrey said. "He and his late brother, Russell Lowman, a highly regarded land surveyor and teacher, were both giants in the industry."

Mr. Lowman oversaw site development for Crofton in the early 1960s and later Shipley's Choice, Chesterfield, Piney Orchard, National Business Park and Parkway Industrial Park, Mr. Pumphrey said.

"He designed treatment plants as well as sewage, water and well systems," Mr. Pumphrey said. "He even did a design for a bridge over the Patuxent River, and it's still standing, which is the proof of the pudding for any engineer. He enjoyed teaching many of us the basics of engineering, such as storm drainage, highway profiles, layout and subdivisions. He loved to talk, and there was never a void in his conversation."

Mr. Lowman taught civil engineering technology at Anne Arundel Community College during the 1970s and established an internship program at Harms and Associates, which he supervised, for high school students interested in an engineering career. He also oversaw an internship for college engineering students and endowed an engineering scholarship at Anne Arundel Community College.

Mr. Lowman introduced new technology to the company. "We were still using slide rules when he brought in computers," Mr. Pumphrey said. "He was always on the leading edge of technology."

In a memorandum to colleagues after his pancreatic cancer was diagnosed, Mr. Lowman reflected on his philosophy of life.

"Those of you that know me well understand that I am an eternal optimist, upbeat about life and have always seen the `glass as half full, not empty,'" he wrote. "I dwell on the future and not the past. And from this point of view, my realization of mortality is a blessing. (Hard to explain I know but that's me)."

"He mentored pancreatic cancer patients at the University of Maryland Medical Center," said a son, Richard L. Lowman of Severna Park. "He also had tried to help the needy and the poor throughout his life. He was a man who lived for everybody else."

Mr. Lowman was a member of Pasadena United Methodist Church, 61 Ritchie Highway, where services will be held at 11 a.m. today.

Mr. Lowman is survived by another son, David R. Lowman of Windham, N.H.; and four grandchildren. His wife of 48 years, the former Jessie Ann McClain, a homemaker, died in 2004.

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