April 20, 1937 - June 30, 2019
William Lewis “Bill” Lowe, 82, of Lincoln, passed away on June 30, 2019, after a courageous battle with both Lymphoma and Leukemia at a hospice facility in Lincoln. Bill was born on April 20, 1937, in Lincoln to parents Les and Dorothy Lowe of Wilber. He was named William after his paternal grandfather Will and Lewis after his mother's favorite cousin. He was welcomed home by his sister Janet. With the start of World War II, the family moved to Camp Hood in Killeen, Texas, where Bill started school. His mother often told stories about how Bill hated to wear shoes and would go to school barefoot on the base.
With the war coming to an end, Bill's family moved to Alma which was near Les's boyhood home where his father Will had homesteaded farmland. Les opened a Coast to Coast Store which served the needs of the community. Bill believed that it was his father's entrepreneurial spirit that led him to believe that he too would want to start his own business someday. Bill would often sleep outside on the family's wrap around screened in porch. His mother thought they had lost him one night when a freak snowstorm struck Alma. Dorothy awoke unable to find Bill and rushed out to the porch. She was able to dig him out of the snow that was covering him, but he was still asleep and unharmed, oblivious to the conditions around him.
Bill's first job was in his father's store where he assembled bicycles for 15 cents apiece starting at the age of 12. The financial windfall was used to keep him supplied with Cherry Mash and Root Beer.
It was in Alma where he met the love of his life, Gail. She was the daughter of the local newspaper publisher. They were in the same class but chose different paths for college. Bill followed in his father's footsteps at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where he became a Kappa Sig, while Gail set off for Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. After one year apart, they were reunited when Gail transferred to Lincoln. Bill announced his intentions to marry Gail after their junior year of college, but his father thought he should wait until after graduation. His father told him that if he got married, he would no longer receive any financial support for school from him. Bill called his bluff and married Gail on August 31, 1958, the Sunday before Labor Day. He found his father to be true to his word and Bill spent the rest of his college experience balancing school and work.
In October of 1959, the young couple welcomed home daughter Lori, born at the same hospital in Lincoln where Bill had been born. Bill graduated from the University of Nebraska following the first term of the 59-60 school year. He was able to secure employment with Union Carbide selling Prestone antifreeze. He started his new career in February of 1960 in Kansas City. Union Carbide moved the family often. Their first move was to Denver and then to Casper, Wyoming where daughter Nancy joined the family in January of 1962. Bill almost missed Nancy's birth due to blizzard conditions in South Dakota. Despite the highways being closed, the police allowed him to pass through so he could make it just in time for her arrival. Soon after Nancy's arrival, the family was uprooted again to Billings, Montana and then to Omaha where they bought their first home.
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The move back to their home state was not permanent as Union Carbide had another position for Bill and the family moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 1968. Son John became the final member of the family in June of 1971. In the Fall of 1974, the family made a final move to the Granbury, Texas, area settling in DeCordova Bend Estates. Bill and Gail felt like the Granbury area was a perfect place for their family, so when Bill was offered a promotion which would require a move to Manhattan, Bill declined and fulfilled his lifelong dream of working for himself when Pizza Inn was opened on September 13, 1976. Bill continued to work for Union Carbide until June of 1977 when he went to work full time at his restaurant, leaving the corporate world behind for good.
Bill was actively involved in his community. He and Gail were members of the Acton United Methodist Church choir for 30 years. He served as president of the Lake Granbury Area Chamber of Commerce in 1981. He was a longtime president of the Lake Granbury Beautification Council and the first chairman of Hood County Development District # 1 in the Acton area. After spending nearly every day for 23 years at Pizza Inn, he sold the restaurant in December of 1999 and never walked into the building again.
Bill was not ready for retirement as he had already built Acton Discount Storage to accommodate the needs of the community and continued to work there until selling that business in 2002 when he finally ended his work career. After more than 40 years in Texas, Bill and Gail moved one more time back to Lincoln, where Bill's life had started. He wanted to be closer to his beloved Huskers, family members, fraternity brothers and other lifelong friends. Bill and Gail joined St. Mark's United Methodist Church where they became actively involved and made more friends.
When diagnosed with cancer, Bill was a warrior. He never let it get him down and continued to keep a positive attitude all the way to the end. He was able to go out on his own terms and used the final week to say goodbye to his family and friends, all of whom he cherished. His only regret was that he couldn't vote early in the 2020 election.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Les and Dorothy Lowe. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Gail, daughter Lori Cathey and husband Allan of Granbury, daughter Nancy Bell and husband Todd of Omaha, and son John and wife Susan of Lincoln. He leaves behind grandchildren Katie Cathey Thompson and husband Dustin of Arlington, Texas, Amy Cathey of Houston, Madison Gewecke-Kreutz and husband Derian of Charleston, South Carolina, Ethan Bell of Fort Collins, Colorado and Logan Bell of Omaha, as well as step-grandchildren Grace, Emma, Sophia and Clara Halsted of Lincoln. One of the highlights of his year was when he had the honor of meeting his first great-grandchild Claire Cathey Thompson in January. He is also survived by his loving sister Janet Rentzell of Alma, niece Sharon Rentzell of Hastings, nephew Steve Rentzell of Phoenix, niece Susan Rentzell of Alma, and numerous cousins and friends.
Per Bill's request, no services will be held. In lieu of flowers, it was Bill's wish that memorials be made to the local chapters of CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, to help abused and neglected children.