Stanley Lowe, a retired Jeep worker who played bass and sang in area bluegrass groups for more than a quarter century, died yesterday in St. Luke's Hospital of an abdominal aneurysm. He was 61.
He was a forklift driver for Jeep, through corporate ownership changes, for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1993.
Mr. Lowe of Springfield Township found artistic expression and release through music. He grew up in Mud Creek, Ky., and his maternal and paternal grandfathers played banjo.
His main instrument was double bass, but he could play guitar, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle to varying degrees, his daughter, Janice McAuley, said.
“He didn't know them all real well, but he could pick 'em in some way and play a song,” she said. “He was musically inclined, but he couldn't read a note, which means he took it all in by ear.”
J.J. O'Shea, a longtime friend, said: “He was a natural musician, and his voice was just flawless.”
The Oak Harbor Boys were known for their distinctive four-part harmony - unusual for a bluegrass group - and for having a rural sound with a local flavor. The group recorded an album in 1980 and released several tapes.
“We played bluegrass festivals and stage shows and theaters and had a wonderful time,” said Mr. O'Shea, who hosts a bluegrass program at 7 p.m. Sundays on WCWA-AM. “Stan was that rare breed: a great bass player who also was a great bass singer.
“He was raised with banjo players and fiddlers and guitar players,” he said. “Small wonder that Stan grew to love music at an early age the way he did.”
Mr. Lowe once invited his northwest Ohio friends to play a show in a giant barn, off the beaten path, near Mud Creek.
“Those people, some of them walked to see that show [and they] were music lovers with a capital M,” Mr. O'Shea recalled. “They stood in front of us 10, 12 deep, and Stan said, `These are my people.'”
Mr. Lowe continued to play with area bluegrass groups until about a year ago, his daughter said.
He came to Toledo at 17 and worked for several years at a Reynolds Road service station owned by his great uncle, Charlie Partin.
Mr. Lowe still liked to work on cars - an old Chevy was his most recent project - and he liked to camp at Sunset Cove near Grand Rapids, Ohio.
Surviving are his wife, Helen, whom he married June 27, 1962; daughter, Janice McAuley; brothers, Charlie and Squire, Jr., and two grandchildren.
The body will be in the Walker Mortuary from 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Croley Mortuary, Williamsburg, Ky., where the body will be after 3 p.m. Friday.