Payson Wells Lowell, 91, died September 23, 2023 in Kansas City. Born January 19, 1932 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Arthur and Florence Peterson Lowell, Payson was a Renaissance man, as happy helping printing customers, as serving on a nonprofit board, working in his garden, or making a new friend.
Payson grew up in Raytown, Missouri, graduating from Raytown High School in 1949. He was a member of the third generation of Lowells to attend Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, graduating in 1953 with degrees in business and economics. He also studied printing management and graphic design at Carnegie Institute of Technology. In addition, Payson served the U.S. Army as a military policeman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
On Oct. 23, 1955, Payson married Ruth Aschom of Lansing, Iowa. They lived in Prairie Village and Overland Park, Kansas, for 47 years until her death in 2002. He was married to Marilyn Hutchcraft Landers from 2003 until her death in 2019.
In 1955, Payson joined the Lowell Press, a printing and publishing company started by his grandfather, S.K. Lowell, in 1913 and run by his father, Arthur Lowell. Customer service and creativity marked Payson’s more than 40 years as a leader at the Lowell Press. Active in the printing industry, Payson led graphic arts employer-labor negotiating teams, and the Printing Industries Association of Kansas City and met regularly with the Roundtable Alliance peer organization of premier Midwestern printing companies.
The publishing division of the Lowell Press was created in in the early 1970s, beginning an era of collaborations and friendships with artists, photographers, writers, and designers that led to numerous award-winning books and honors from organizations such as the Cowboy Hall of Fame, the National Parks Association, and the Western Heritage Association.
Payson counted many Kansas City nonprofit organizations among his clients, but his dedication to service went far beyond printing. He served on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army beginning in 1985 earning its highest award, the William Booth Award, and was named a Life Member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board of Kansas City, Missouri. He played leadership roles at Indian Heights United Methodist Church and later Colonial Presbyterian Church. Carefully planned and well used buildings at both churches reflect his building committee leadership.
Passionate about American Western history and preserving the prairie grasslands, he was president of the Grassland Heritage Foundation, the Kansas City Posse of the Westerners, and the Kansas City Society of Western Art. He also supported higher education by serving on the board of Baker University and was a long-time supporter of his alma mater, Cornell College. In addition, he was a member of the Plaza/Kansas City Kiwanis Club for more than 60 years, editing the club newsletter for much of that time.
Curious, friendly, and active by nature, Payson traveled the United States by car, rarely passing a National Park or backroad adventure. In later years he traveled to Kenya, Japan, Italy, Portugal, France, Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, camera in hand, a slide show to follow.
Payson is survived by his daughters, Nancy Lowell George and Sue Lowell Gallion, and his brother, John Lowell and his wife, Maria José. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Emily George Grubbs and her husband David, Adam George, Andy George, Matt Gallion and his wife Becca, and Katherine Gallion, step-grandson Evan Landers-Kristensen, five great grandchildren and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends. For the past four and half years, Payson lived at the Sheridan of Overland Park, now Alto Senior Living, where he made many new friends and was an active member of the community.
He is predeceased by his parents, aunt and stepmother Phyllys Peterson Lowell, brothers Keith and Charles Lowell and sister Florence Lowell Primrose. He also is predeceased by son-in-law Terry Gallion.
A memorial service will take place at Colonial Presbyterian Church, 9500 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri, at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9. The service will be livestreamed at https://youtube.com/live/BzHYCd1-LWU?feature=share. A reception will follow at the church.
The family asks that instead of flowers, contributions in his memory be made to the following:
Payson Lowell Red Kettle Memorial
The Salvation Army PO Box 412577, Kansas City, MO 64141
Payson and Ruth Lowell Scholarship
Office of Advancement Cornell College 600 First Street SW, Mount Vernon, IA 52314