Lowell F. Greimann
October 27, 1942 - November 23, 2017
Thanksgiving Day took on a special meaning this year as family members gathered by his bed to mourn his death, but also to give thanks for the life of Lowell Greimann. He died peacefully at home from complications of acute myeloid leukemia on November 23, 2017, at age 75. A graveside service to bury Lowell's cremains was held at the ISU Cemetery on Sunday, November 26. A Witness to the Resurrection service will be held at Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames, Iowa on Saturday, December 9 at 10:00 am, with a reception to follow.
Lowell Frederick Greimann was born October 27, 1942 in Klemme, Iowa to Eugene and Doris (Barz) Greimann. He grew up on the family farm and graduated from Klemme High School in 1960. Lowell received a B.S. degree from Iowa State University in 1964, and one week after graduation, he and Jane Renner were married.
Lowell and Jane moved to Boulder, CO where he received his M.S. and PhD. in structural engineering from the University of Colorado. The young family, which included son Chad, moved to San Antonio, where their second son, Blair, was born. While in Texas, Lowell worked at Southwest Research Institute. In 1973 the Greimanns returned to Ames to be closer to family, and in 1975 their daughter Amy arrived from Vietnam.
Lowell started as an assistant professor in civil engineering at Iowa State University in 1973, teaching courses in structural engineering, and conducting research in bridges, nuclear containments, and lock and dam structures. He became a professor in 1981, and served as chair of the Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Department from 1990 until his retirement in 2005. Following Jane's death in 2006, Lowell worked part time at ISU's Institute for Transportation's Bridge Engineering Center until his death.
Beyond his professional life, Lowell lent his lively intellect and talents to any number of activities in the Ames community. He was an active member of Collegiate Presbyterian Church, serving as deacon, elder and memberhair of numerous committees. Lowell also designed and laid out, with Jane's help, the Labyrinth at CPC. Lowell's affinity for hands-on activities led him to become a member in 1984, and later president, of Ames Town and Country Kiwanis Club. He helped design and build the picnic shelter at McFarland Park, and participated actively with other construction projects at the park. He was also a member of the Story County Dental Clinic Advisory Board. Lowell established and endowed the Jane Greimann Legacy of Heroines Scholarship through the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, for ISU women students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership at school and in the community. After the bridge collapse in Minneapolis a decade ago, Lowell shared his expertise with host Ira Flatow on Public Radio International's Science Friday. Lowell was a staunch Democrat. He loved lively discussions, laughing freely and frequently.
Lowell and Jennie Laing were married in August, 2008. They took delight in hosting family trips to Hawaii, Disneyland and, most recently, the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Lowell took his older grandchildren, individually, to New York City, Washington D.C., Alaska and even, in a helicopter, to the Field of Dreams. He and granddaughter Emma recorded a conversation for NPR's StoryCorps. Lowell recently sent grandson Alex a thoughtful reflection on his ideas about the American Dream.
One of many meaningful events in Lowell's family's lives occurred in 2014, when he took his children, spouses, and granddaughter Bella to visit Vietnam. Investigations by agencies reported that, to their knowledge, Amy's birth mother had died many years prior to 2014. Months after returning home to the U.S., Amy received a phone call from her birth brother. At that time he indicated that Amy's birth mother was indeed alive and living in the United States with another sibling. Amy established a relationship with her new-found family over the next few years and finally, in September 2017, Lowell met Amy's birth mother for the first time. It was a joyous gathering of family.
Lowell's cancer diagnosis in 2015 led him to connect with numerous special friends who helped him embark on and continue this journey with discussions on faith, death and dying, sharing tears and laughter. These saints know who they are. Lowell's family is also extremely grateful for the compassionate care he received at Bliss Cancer Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center, and Mary Greeley Hospice.
Lowell was informed only last month that he had been named a 2018 recipient of the Iowa State University Foundation Order of the Knoll Faculty and Staff Award in recognition of his dedicated and long-term professional and volunteer service and creative leadership to Iowa State and the Iowa State Foundation through the advancement of philanthropy. He will receive this award posthumously in April 2018.
Lowell is survived by his wife, Jennie; son Chad (Chris Sharp); son Blair (Angie); daughter Amy (Winston) Trotter; sister Janette (Art) Hoffman; sister Janelle Bremer; stepdaughters Valerie (Jason) Maggitti; Sara (Pat Ronan) Madole; Amy (Brian) Coquyt. Survivors also include 10 grandchildren: Zach, Emma, Alex and Evelyn Greimann; Eve, Diego and Mac Greimann; Bella Trotter; Bronwyn Maggitti; Lily Coquyt.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane; his parents, Eugene and Doris; his sister, Kathleen.
To honor Lowell's memory, and in lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to Mary Greeley Hospice (mgmc.org/foundation) or mailed to Mary Greeley Foundation, 1111 Duff Ave., Ames IA 50010; or to Collegiate Presbyterian Church, 159 N. Sheldon Ave., Ames, IA 50014.
Adams Funeral Home in Ames is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and photos may be shared at www.adamssoderstrum.com © 2017 Soderstrum Reimers Inc.