Lowell D. Stephens was born in Lubbock, Texas, on Feb. 10, 1943, to L. Dene and Johnnie Mae Stephens. He attended schools in Lovington, New Mexico and Ava, Miss., before graduating in Glen Rose, Texas, and attending Eastern New Mexico University. He married the former Karen Quarles, of Lovington, in 1963.
Lowell worked in the family title business while still in junior high school. After building telephone lines for Texas Telephone and serving as a repairman for small towns surrounding Caddo Mills, Texas, and for Mt. States Telephone in Artesia, he returned to the title industry in 1965 in Carlsbad. His skills and reputation soon prompted a move to Alamogordo, where he managed Pioneer Abstract & Title Co. until the owner retired and he and Karen purchased the business. Pioneer Title Escrow Service was added to the corporation in 1989 and Pioneer New Century LLC, in 2005.
They owned Chaves County Abstract & Title in Roswell, for a few years. They also operated a branch office in Cloudcroft, for a few years. He served as president of New Mexico Land Title Association and was the recipient of the Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Lowell was noted for his integrity and skill as a commercial closer with expertise in 1031 exchanges.
He coached Colt and American Legion baseball teams, played mens' league softball and basketball, wrote sports articles for the Alamogordo Daily News and was the "Voice of the Tigers" broadcasting play-by-play for KPSA Radio, including state tournaments. He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, past chairman of the finance committee and administrative board. He was president and board member of the Otero County Boy's Club, an Outstanding Young Man of America and Who's Who Worldwide. Lowell earned his private pilot license in 1980.
He was invited by the U.S. Air Force to attend the National Security Forum at the Air War College in Montgomery, Ala., in 1993. Working closely with local military, he participated in civic leader tours to several Air Force Bases.
As member of the Alamogordo Noon Lions Club since 1965, he held many offices including president. He chaired several state conventions and was the youngest man selected as a New Mexico District Governor when he was installed in Tokyo, Japan, in 1978. His term ended at the international convention in Montreal, Canada, in 1979. He received the NM Lions Scroll of Honor in 1985.
Lowell was the 1993 President of the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce. He served as a board member and as chairman of the Alamogordo Committee of Fifty, which promotes military and community needs including trips to Washington, D.C. to visit the U.S. Senate and Congressional Representatives. A highlight of his term was receiving rides in an F-15 at Holloman Air Force Base and a hot air balloon over White Sands Monument.
He served as President of the Otero County Economic Development Council and toured with the governor as a member of the New Mexico Amigos. Lowell was Chairman of the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation. Governor Johnson appointed him to the Border Authority Commission, a position requiring confirmation by the New Mexico State Senate. He was a longtime member and past president of the Alamogordo Booster Club. In 1995, he was honored as Alamogordo's Citizen of the Year.
He was initiated into Alamogordo Lodge No. 1897 in 1975and served the chairman of the entertainment committee several years being elected Leading Knight in 1982 and Exalted ruler in 1983-1984.
Lowell served as Southwest District Officer Training Chairman, two terms as State Officer Training Chairman and as Sergeant at arms for the NM Elks Association in 1985-86. He was a Ritual Judge and State Ritual Chairman.
He was President of the NM Elks in 1996-97 and then served as State Convention committeeman and chairman. Lowell was elected to the Board of Grand Trustees and completed his term as Grand Chairman overseeing the Defunct Lodges Trust along with other board duties. He also served as past Grand Esteemed Leading Knight and Special Deputy for New Mexico.
Lowell was awarded the Gold Circle of Giving by the Elks National Foundation and was accepted into the John F. Malley Society. He and Karen are presently sponsoring an Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship for New Mexico.
He recently sold Pioneer Abstract and Title where he had been for over 48 years.
Lowell enjoyed golfing, John Wayne movies, Irish music, was a history buff and collected antique guns.
Survivors include his wife, Karen; their children Jeffrey Dene and wife, Mary Ellen, Gregory Don and wife, Carly, and Karen Greene and husband, Andrew; and his daughter-in-heart. Grandchildren are Suzette Mae, Lowell Dene II, Wyatt Charles, Madeline Nicole and Major Deen Stephens. He also loved as his own grandchildren Claire Christine Defoy-Greene, Sophie Elizabeth, Samuel Curtis and Krista Janene Greene. Siblings are Wendell Stephens and wife, Donna, and Celia Shackelford and husband, Ronnie. Lowell is also survived by his Shih-tzu, Danny Boy, and Lhasa Apso, Misti Lou.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorial contributions are welcome and the family suggests Elks National Foundation 2750 N. Lakeview Ave, Chicago, IL 60614-1889; Ft. Concho Historical Foundation 630 S Oakes, San Angelo, TX 76903; or The Gideons International, P. O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Mar. 13 to Apr. 14, 2014