Jan. 9, 1949 – Jan. 21, 2006
Jan Thomas Lowrey, executive director of the Cache Creek Conservancy and a fourth-generation resident of Yolo County, died unexpectedly and peacefully at his home in Rumsey on Saturday, Jan. 21. He leaves a legacy of commitment and service to his family, friends and community and a passion for preserving Cache Creek for future generations.
Mr. Lowrey was born Jan. 9, 1949 in Sacramento. The son of former Assemblyman Lloyd Lowrey and Helen Lowrey, Jan lived in Rumsey most of his life. He attended Rumsey Elementary School, Esparto Elementary School, Esparto High School and UC Davis before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Navy for five years, and then completed his education at Foothill Community College and UC Berkeley.
Jan married Kathy Savino in 1976. After Jan graduated from Berkeley, Jan and Kathy traveled throughout Europe before returning to settle in Rumsey, where they raised three children, Johanna, Tessa-Rose and Patrick. Jan worked on the family farm, with Gordon Farms and with Sagara Farms before joining the staff of the Cache Creek Conservancy, becoming executive director in June 1999. He was a member of Landmark-Buckeye Lodge No. 195 of Free and Accepted Masons and served as a volunteer and commissioner with the Capay Valley Fire Department, on the Yolo County Planning Commission, as Fire Commissioner for the Rumsey Rancheria Fire Department and Co-chairman, Board of Directors of Capay Valley Vision.
Survivors include Jan’s wife, Kathy and their children, Johanna Lowrey of San Diego, Tessa-Rose Lowrey of San Diego and Patrick Lowrey of Rumsey; and Jan’s brothers, Lloyd Lowrey and his wife Carol of Salinas and Timothy Lowrey and his wife Derryn of Albuquerque, N.M. and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
A celebration of Jan Lowrey’s life is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Rumsey Community Center at the Rumsey Indian Rancheria, Road 75A in Brooks. Kraft Bros. Funeral Directors is assisting the family with arrangements.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials in Jan’s name can be directed to the Cache Creek Conservancy, 34199 County Road 20, Woodland, 95695; the Rumsey Improvement Association, P.O. Box 34, Rumsey, 95679; or Capay Valley Vision, P.O. Box 799, Esparto, 95627.
From the Sacramento Bee:
Jan Lowrey helped create Yolo’s Cache Creek Nature Preserve
Jan Lowrey, a fourth-generation Yolo County farmer and the executive director of the Cache Creek Conservancy who played a key role in developing the Cache Creek Nature Preserve, died of a heart attack Saturday in his Capay Valley home.
He was 57.
The conservancy’s 130-acre site, about five miles west of Woodland, hosts visitors from all over the world. It includes restored wetlands, interpretive kiosks, nature trails and observation platforms.
“Jan just gave unstintingly of himself to the cause of restoration and helping people become more aware of this wonderful resource in our midst,” said Tom Stallard, founding president of the nonprofit group.
Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, remembered him as being “truly committed to open space and agricultural preservation in Yolo County.”
“The success and respect that the Cache Creek Conservancy enjoys,” she said, “is in large part due to his efforts.”
Reared on his family’s Capay Valley farm, Mr. Lowrey graduated from Esparto High School in 1967 and attended the University of California, Davis, briefly before enlisting in the Navy. He served five years during the Vietnam War, said his wife, Kathy.
Most of his military service, including three tours in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam, was aboard the nuclear-powered guided missile frigate USS Truxtun. He was a radar technician.
After leaving the military, Mr. Lowrey resumed his education, first at Foothill Community College, then at UC Berkeley, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature.
“His original goal was to become an author, but he came back to the family farm, and there never seemed to be time for (writing),” his wife recalled.
His father, Lloyd W. Lowrey, a Democrat, represented Yolo County in the state Assembly from 1940 until 1962.
Like his father, Mr. Lowrey took an interest in Yolo County civic life, serving on the county Planning Commission and the governing board of the Capay Valley Volunteer Fire Department. In 1984, he lost a race for the 5th District seat on the county Board of Supervisors to Ernie Pfanner.
Mr. Lowrey was a member of the Cache Creek Conservancy’s governing board before joining the staff as project director in the mid-1990s. He was named executive director in 1999.
“The reason he was so effective,” said Ann Brice, associate executive director of the nonprofit Yolo Basin Foundation, “was he had the farming background and respect of all the local landowners along the creek. He really won everyone over.”
Jan T. Lowrey
Born: Jan. 9, 1949
Died: Jan. 21, 2006
Remembered for: His efforts to create the Cache Creek Nature Preserve in Yolo County
Survived by: Wife, Kathy Savino Lowrey of Rumsey; son, Patrick Lowrey of Sacramento; daughters, Johanna and Tessa Lowrey, both of San Diego; brothers, Lloyd Lowrey of Salinas and Timothy Lowrey of Albuquerque, N.M.
Memorial services: 11 a.m. Saturday, Rumsey Rancheria Community Center, 18960 County Road 75A, Brooks
From the Capay Valley Vision Board of Directors and Staff:
A Tribute to Jan Lowrey
Our community lost one of its truest spirits this last weekend with the passing of Jan Lowrey. As a fourth generation resident of the Capay Valley , Jan had the soul of a pioneer; the work ethic of a native, and a warmth and humor that we all learned to love.
Fortunately for us, Jan left us numerous legacies. A true Renaissance man, he made his passions into his lifework.
His first passion was for his family. Kathy was the love of his life, and both of them were quietly proud of their children. Jan managed to work them into his conversations like all of his passions.
But the passions that we in the community know most about were his love of the land, the water, and the people of the Capay Valley.
Growing up in Rumsey beside Cache Creek, Jan developed a historical perspective and profound understanding of nature and of multiple cultures. Through his years of maning the Cache Creek Conservancy, he worked to develop a public understanding and love for the watershed and for the resources of Yolo County and California. He cleared brush and he raised funds; he opened the doors to the public and to school children; he encouraged the quiet solitude of artists; and he raised awareness about invasive species and the need for preservation of wildlife. His passion for Cache Creek became his lifework.
His other passion was for the people of his beloved Capay Valley. He helped to found Capay Valley Vision, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving a sense of place for this unique little valley. As one of the organization’s founding members, he sat in many homes, including his own, to discuss the future of the Valley. Jan brought us perspective and history along with his common sense and vision. From these discussions, a lasting organization was born. He would have served as our Board President for this year.
We cherish the blessings Jan brought us: love of family, love of the land and its waters, and finally his love of people. Bless you, Jan Lowrey, and all of your passions. May you rest in peace.
Capay Valley Vision Board of Directors and Staff