Lowell C. Lenarz, 86, formerly of Oskaloosa, passed away peacefully at Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale, Iowa, on Friday, October 20, 2023. He was lovingly surrounded by family, praying him to heaven and out of cancer’s grip.
Lowell Charles Lenarz “LC” was born May 19, 1937, in Hastings, Minnesota, to Mabel Irene (Cash) Lenarz. The family moved to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, when Lowell was a small child. Lowell was a Henry County boy! While growing up in Mount Pleasant, he was actively involved in St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and School. He was a Boy Scout, which significantly influenced his life. He was a four-sport athlete and letter-winner for the Mt. Pleasant Panthers and graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1955. He moved to Michigan for a short time after graduation and then returned to Mt. Pleasant after a call from a coach to come and play football for Iowa Wesleyan College. Lowell played center for his high school and college teams. He graduated in 1960 with a degree in education. His first teaching and coaching job was at the high school in Williamsburg, Iowa.
Lowell married the love-of-his-life, Harriet Valene Bryant, on March 4, 1961, at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Mount Pleasant. Harriett and Lowell had known of each other while at Mount Pleasant High School, but it was while they were both teaching in Williamsburg that they became reacquainted and fell in love. In 1964, the couple and their daughter, Trisha, moved to Fort Morgan, Colorado, so Lowell could pursue his Master’s Degree in Education Administration at Colorado Teachers College in Greeley. He was awarded his degree in 1967 and hired that same year as Vice-Principal at Oskaloosa Junior High School. He served in that capacity for three years and was then promoted to junior high principal, remaining in service until retirement in 1995.
Lowell fought for many years to build a new junior high school, and in 1986, a new building was finally opened. He was a member of the School Administrators of Iowa. Lowell made his mark on the legislative committee advocating for fair school administrator retirement benefits, as Iowa was in the lowest tier nationally in that category. In addition to his duties as principal, he officiated high school and college football for many years, including state playoff games. Lowell served as the KBOE Radio play-by-play announcer for Oskaloosa High School basketball for many years – The Golden Voice. Lowell loved track and field, supporting the Oskaloosa Relays from 1968-2006, and he announced them with style for 29 years. The Lowell Lenarz Girls 4×4 Relay at the Osky Relays was established in his honor at the end of his announcing tenure. After retirement, Lowell taught student-teachers at William Penn College for four years. He was also a past member of Do-Gooders International.
Lowell’s Catholic faith was one of the most important things in his life. He was a member of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church for 55 years, having served on the parish council as a lector and eucharistic minister.
Lowell enjoyed his teaching career, but his real passion was the out-of-doors. He and Harriet spent countless hours in their yard, turning it into a place of beauty and a haven for birds and wildlife. In later years, he even had a small bird seed business simply called “For Birds”. In the spring of 1960, Lowell went on his first of over 100 Canadian fishing trips; the near Hudson Bay trips eventually became up to a thrice-yearly event with dear friends and family. Canada and fishing was a time to enjoy the peace and splendor of the wilderness and the thrill of the catch.
Lowell Lenarz was a lifelong STL Cardinals fan, even scoring tickets from Augie Busch himself a few times. He was a mid-60s Denver Bronco south-stander season ticket holder and later coached them from his recliner to three Super Bowl victories. He was a loyal Iowa State Cyclone. It is impossible to capture all of Lowell’s pursuits and interests over his lifetime, but all were approached with gusto, passion, and a quick wit.
Lowell’s family includes his wife of 62 years, Harriet, formerly of Oskaloosa; their treasured daughter and beloved son-in-law, Trisha Lenarz-Garmoe and Tony Garmoe of West Des Moines; a light-of-his-life grandson, Ryan Lowell Garmoe, of Minneapolis, MN. Lowell also leaves behind a dear sister-in-law, Patricia Doak of Mt. Pleasant; and very special nephews, nieces, and many friends.
In addition to his mother and stepfather, Lowell was preceded in death by a brother, Donald Lenarz; a sister, Clara Dell Nichols; and In-laws, Harry and Alice Bryant.
Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, October 27, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oskaloosa with Msgr. Edward Hurley and Fr. Joseph Phung concelebrating. A luncheon will directly follow. Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, with the family present from 4-6 p.m. at Langkamp Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa. A vigil prayer service will follow at 6:00 p.m. Thursday. Internment at the Catholic cemetery in Mt. Pleasant will take place at a later date. Memorials may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter in Oskaloosa, or Oskaloosa High School Track and Field.