Dr. Charles Austin Lowe, of Mansfield Center, better known to his colleagues, friends and family as “Skip,” passed peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Wednesday, (June 20, 2012) at his home at the age of 69 years, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born September 4, 1942 in Gloucester, MA; the son of Charles H. Lowe Jr. and Sara M. Musgrave, and the brother of Robert A. Lowe, all of who predeceased him. He was a direct descent of Thomas Low (1605-1677), who settled in South Ipswich, MA in 1636.
He attended Gloucester public schools. He was an Eagle Scout and the recipient of the God and Country Award. He was a member of the National Honor Society, awarded a Sawyer Medal, and received the DAR Award for Excellence in History. He was a second Lieutenant in the ROTC marching band and played varsity baseball. He graduated in 1960 with high honors.
Following his graduation, he attended Bowdoin College receiving an A.B. in Psychology in 1964, the University of New Hampshire (M.A. 1966), and Carnegie-Mellon University, (M.S. 1968 and Ph.D 1970). While at CMU he met, fell in love with, and married Janet A. Males on July 19, 1969. After his graduation, Skip accepted a position at the University of Connecticut in 1970 and he and Jan moved to Mansfield where they made their home ever since.
From the beginning, Skip was strongly committed to teaching, advising, and mentoring students, and these commitments defined his 42 year career at UConn. In 1973, he was cited in Baron’s College Profile Series as one of three outstanding professors at UConn, and in 1979, received the UConn Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. He advanced rapidly through the academic ranks, promoted to Associate Professor in 1975, awarded tenure in 1977, and promoted to Full Professor in 1979.
In 1980, he started a consumer research consulting company. For the next 12 years, he provided marketing advice regarding new product development, positioning, and advertising effectiveness to national and international consumer goods companies including: Anheuser Busch, General Electric, Kelly Services, Miles Laboratories, Polaroid, and Proctor and Gamble. He conducted well over 100 focus groups and qualitative interviews, while training his graduate students in qualitative research techniques. With Skip’s own success providing the inspiration, nearly two dozen of his graduate students went on to very successful careers in consumer marketing research.
In 1998, he became Department Head of Psychology, and over the next 12 years he approached the position with a sense of humor and profound optimism. He believed that as department head he worked for the faculty of the Department, not visa versa; thus he made it his focus to both provide opportunities and remove barriers to faculty and graduate student productivity. Under his leadership the department thrived. Between 1998 and 2012, 37 tenure track faculty and 11 research/clinical faculty were hired into the Psychology Department. The annual funding for graduate students tripled. Federally funded research grants awarded to Psychology increased dramatically, resulting in UConn’s Psychology Department ranked in the top five among 212 psychology departments nationally. Proudly representing the Department, he served on several influential University Committees including The Senate Executive Committee, The AAUP Executive Committee and several University Search Committees.
Skip was a member of the Storrs Congregational Church, the Eastern Star Lodge No. 44, A.F. & A.M and the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Skip coached both youth soccer and baseball for several years. In 1988 he was awarded with the Connecticut Volunteer Amateur Baseball Coach of the Year Award – Runner-up.
Skip Lowe was a man of great integrity and dedication. Always quick witted and ever caring, he had the keen ability to forever see the brighter side in both people and situations. Skip was an avid genealogist; in 1991 he published a complete Lowe history, tracing 14 generations of the direct descendents of Thomas Low into the 20th Century. Skip was proud that he was able to use his Lowe genealogical database to establish a “Lowe connection” to every faculty member in the psychology department, making them all his “family”. Also an accomplished reader he enjoyed history and sports, especially books about his beloved Red Sox. He was athletically inclined, playing softball and tennis throughout the years. He and Jan enjoyed spending time together at the beach in his hometown of Gloucester, MA.
Skip was a loving husband, a caring father, and a very proud grandfather, and will be greatly missed by his many friends and by his family. He is survived by his wife of 42 years Janet; his son Jonathan Charles Lowe, his wife Laci Tyler Lowe, and their children Sarah Grace (4ys) and Emily Faith (2yrs) of Orlando, FL; his son Christopher Stephen Lowe, his wife Ellen Brown Lowe, and their children Joshua Charles (7y) and Emma Clera (2y) of Mansfield; and a sister-in-law Linda (Thomas) and her sons Nathaniel Thomas Lowe and Jeremy Charles Lowe of Gloucester.
More information and a tribute to Skip’s life: https://www.facebook.com/SkipLoweUConn