Gary K. “Sarge” Lower



April 8, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Gary Lower

Gary K. “Sarge” Lower, age 82, of Iola, passed away Saturday, April 7, 2018 at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Lawrence.

Gary was born March 25, 1936, on a farm southeast of Iola to Samuel M. and Arlene (Walker) Lower. As a young boy his family moved all of the way across the road to his family’s farm. The family farm was homesteaded in 1886, making Gary and his siblings the fourth generation to live on the farm. Gary graduated from Humboldt High School with the class of 1954. He married his high school sweetheart, Vella Hobart, on April 8, 1957, in Miami, Okla. They made their home in Iola throughout their 61 years of marriage. Gary was a hard worker his entire life, working for 18 years at Nelson Quarry, 18 years as an HVAC installer for Dale’s Sheet Metal and then 13 years at Gates Rubber, retiring in December of 2005. Aside from work Gary loved to tend to his yard. He enjoyed going to the dirt track races and helping his son, Gary, while he was racing. Gary was an avid KU basketball fan. His love of people and easy smile will be remembered by many in his church family at the First Baptist Church where he was an ordained deacon.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents; and two brothers, Samuel M. Lower Jr. and John W. Lower.

He is survived by his wife, Vella of the home; daughter, Deborah Hegwald of Omaha, Neb.; son, Gary E. Lower and wife, Shannon of Iola; six grandchildren, Stacey Hegwald-Ebert and husband, Lee of Omaha, James Lower and wife, Jennifer of Iola, Trevor Hegwald and wife, Michelle of Elkhorn, Neb., Jennifer Hegwald-Anania and husband, Tony of Omaha, Kasha Lower-Bain and husband, Steven of Iola, and Gary M. Lower of Iola; and 15 great-grandchildren; brother Donald “Butch” Lower and wife, Mary Anne of Humboldt; and two sisters-in-law, Donna Lower-Nord of Iola and Judy Schroeder of Topeka.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church, 801 N. Cottonwood, Iola. Burial will follow in the Mount Hope Cemetery, Humboldt. The family will greet friends from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday evening at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church.  Condolences may be left at


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