John T. Lowe, known in northeast Florida as "Mr. Boating" for his work on behalf of recreational marine interests, died Tuesday morning due to complications from a fall a month ago. He was 79.
A three-time past president of the Marine Industries Association of Florida, Lowe devoted more than 40 years to ensure people's access to Florida's waters. He also promoted recreational boating safety as well as the state's natural resources as boosts to tourism, according to an article in The Florida Times-Union.
Lowe, who worked full time in the recreational marine industry after retiring in 1971 from a 21-year career as a Jacksonville police officer, was a highly respected lobbyist who kept an eye on legislation proposed in Tallahassee affecting boating consumers' interests.
He also served as the executive vice president of the Jacksonville Marine Association. Lowe served on the Florida Boating Advisory Council, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Manatee Recovery Team, the State of Florida Blue Ribbon Marina Committee, the Jacksonville Marine Institute and was a founding board member of the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament.
He also served on the Duval County Tourist Development Council for 16 years and was a member of the Jacksonville Waterways Commission.
A past commodore of the Jacksonville Outboard Club, Lowe received numerous honors during his marine career, including the 1978 Irv Rosenthal Award presented by the Marine Retailers Association of America for outstanding contributions to the marine retailing business.
He also received the 1978 Charles F. Chapman Award, given only once before to Ralph Evinrude, for "distinguished service to the sport of boating." The presentation was made at the New York National Boat Show by the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufacturers and Motorboating & Sailing magazine.