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In Memoriam: Two Good Men

Our Houston area construction industry lost two good men in the last couple of months: Jerry Lowry and Damon Gowan.  They were similar in make-up: leaders who were quiet doers.  Both held many profiled industry leadership roles, but both remained grateful and humble; they were givers above all, and led very parallel lives.
Jerry was a general contractor, Damon a mechanical and sheet metal specialty contractor.  Both were family businesses that each man significantly expanded.  Both also served their industry organizations.  Jerry served as President of the Houston Chapter AGC and the Texas Building Branch AGC, the state organization.  He also served on the national Subcontractor Relations Committee; he was an early advocate for a partnership approach between generals and subcontractors.  Damon served as the national president of ASHRAE, a global standard setting organization for Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, and as President of the National Environmental Balancing Board (NEBB).  He was also a local leader, emulated by many peers.

Both were sought after for leadership roles in many diverse venues.  Jerry was the past chairman of Heights Bank and past president of Brae Burn Country Club.  Damon served on the Board of Visitors for Texas A&M both in College Station and in Galveston.  He also served on the board of The Grand 1894 Opera House and as president of Galveston Country club.  He had also served as president of Pine Forest Country Club.  Both were strong leaders who had the ability to build loyal and effective teams.

Jerry was a scholar athlete, a baseball player, at St. Regis College in Denver.  Damon, also a fine athlete, was a Distinguished Military Graduate of Texas A&M, a fixed-wing pilot and instructor, who achieved the rank of Captain and Company Commander.  Both also served their churches, Jerry at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Damon at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church.

Finally, both men were real golf enthusiasts, who played the game well and by the rules, just as they lived their lives.  Jerry and his wife Shuggie were popular members of both Lakeside Country Club in Houston and Red Sky Country Club in Colorado.  Damon was a member at Galveston Country Club where he played regularly with two former University of Houston stars, Babe Hiskey and Dewitt Weaver, both PGA Tour winners.  Damon earned their admiration for the energy and professionalism he brought to the rebuilding of that course, as well as his very decent game.

These were two remarkable contractors, the type of “good men” the Marine Corps salutes.  Our Houston commercial construction community is much better because both men were a part of it.  Jerry and Damon set high standards as servant leaders for the industry.  Their example can inspire and guide all of us.