Obituary — Malcolm Alfred Lowther


Malcolm Alfred Lowther, professor emeritus of education, died at home Oct. 7 after a short illness.

Malcolm Alfred Lowther
Malcolm Alfred Lowther

He was born Aug. 19, 1924, in Detroit, the son of Alfred H. Lowther and Joyce Scribner Lowther. In 1949, he married Mary Louise Young, with whom he had two children who survive: Barbara Lowther Shipman (John) and Carolyn Ann Lowther both of Ann Arbor. He also is survived by two grandsons, Andrew Shipman (Toni Dallas) and Timothy Shipman. In 1981, he married Joan S. Stark, who also survives.

Other survivors include stepchildren Eugene W. Stark (Michelle) of Port Jefferson, New York; Susan E. Edwards of Sarasota, Florida; Linda A. Thiel of Stillwater, Minnesota; and Ellen S. McKeown (Michael) of Ann Arbor. Also surviving are 12 stepgrandchildren, great-grandchildren and stepgreat-grandchildren. Lowther was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, H. Vaughn Lowther.

He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1946, majoring in zoology, and earned a master’s degree from Wayne State University in 1951 and a Ph.D. in education from U-M in 1961. Lowther taught science in the Detroit schools from 1947-49, and from 1949-59 he managed the development of educational and advertising programs for General Motors, The Jam Handy Organization, Ford Motor Co. and McCann-Erickson Advertising.

In 1959 he came to U-M as an instructor in education, became an assistant professor in 1961, an associate professor in 1965 and professor of education in 1969. He retired in 1995 as professor emeritus of education.

He was active in the university community, serving frequently on the School of Education executive committee and as chair of several departments, including teacher education and curriculum and instruction, as well as assistant dean for instruction.

Lowther was a generous teacher and student adviser, teaching graduate courses in curriculum, curriculum theory and adult education. He also served on and chaired many doctoral committees. He was an avid and disciplined reader in many disciplines and his students benefited greatly from his knowledge.

His research and publications included federally funded studies of teacher education and teacher work-life.

A great joy in his life was the collaborative research with his wife, Joan, on several projects focusing on education in the professions, as well as on teaching and learning in higher education. In this work they jointly authored books, papers and monographs, conducted workshops and gave conference presentations.

Lowther was an active member of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Golf & Outing Club and the Meadows Country Club in Sarasota, Florida. He volunteered for years in the Ann Arbor schools as a student mentor and also was a peer counselor with Mended Hearts in the University Hospital.

He and Joan traveled extensively worldwide and in later years spent the winter months at their residence in Sarasota, Florida. In his retirement he continued his studies and volunteer work. In Ann Arbor he tutored recent immigrants in English as a Second Language, and in Sarasota he taught a course for caregivers.

A memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at Nie Family Funeral Homes, 2400 Carpenter Road, Ann Arbor. Friends and family are welcome to gather at 2:30 p.m. Contributions may be given to the Glacier Hills Foundation or First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor.


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