Constance Elizabeth Lowgren
Constance Elizabeth Lowgren was born in Leaf Valley, Minn. on Oct. 13,1927, and died at her home in Morro Bay on June 16, 2012.
Connie spent her early childhood in a gold mining camp near Chloride, Ariz., and in Chloride, where she went to a one room school house. She went to boarding school in the Bay Area for junior high. When World War II began and gold mining shut down, her family moved to Lemon Cove and her stepfather Milan C Richardson took up tungsten mining. Connie graduated from Exeter High School in the San Joaquin Valley in 1945. She attended Visalia Jr. College and worked summers at Sequoia National Park before moving to Santa Barbara, where she worked for the phone company and modeled for the Brooks Institute of Photography. There she met Carl Emil Lowgren Jr.; they were married in 1950, then shipped out to Sendai, Japan while Carl, a career soldier, served in Korea. They lived in Japan for four years, and had the first of what would wind up being six kids there. They spent a year at Ft. Lewis, Wash., and two years at Ft. Eielson, Ark., before moving to Duarte in 1957. They moved to Morro Bay in 1974 and spent the remainder of their lives there. Carl died in 1994.
Connie was a larger than life character out of a Western novel who lived through America’s golden age and thoroughly enjoyed all of it. She was a charismatic people person whose cheery and down home manner coupled with her prodigious memory made her a natural storyteller. She had a razor sharp mind and was interested in just about everything. Her knowledge of the land and people of Northwestern Arizona, the southern Sierra foothills and post-war Japan was encyclopedic, and was matched by her affection. She was an avid collector of Americana, Indian art and relics, orientalia and all manner of interesting and amusing natural objects and kitsch. Though a first rate raconteur, she was just as eager to hear stories as she was to tell them.
Connie embraced life as a never ending adventure and excitedly encouraged everyone to join along. She loved camping and imbued her children and grandchildren with her love of the outdoors and its human and natural history. Into her 80s she would routinely go off on forays into her beloved Mojave Desert, often alone. Although Connie was self-contained in many respects she loved people as much as she did her solitude, and was one of the most engaged, engaging and interesting people anyone who met her ever knew.
Connie is survived by four of her five sons, one daughter, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, as well as many honorary family members she gathered throughout the years.