Lowell Garver Stepp, age 102, a longtime Stanton County farmer, died August 11, 2011 at Seasons of Life Living Center in Syracuse, Kansas. He was born May 24, 1909 in Decorah, Iowa the son of Samuel and Alice (Garver) Stepp.
Lowell’s family moved several times during his formative years. They lived in Canon City, Colorado, Beatrice, Nebraska, Orlando, Florida, and Ontario, California before settling in Parsons, Kansas in 1930. The family lived the longest time in Beatrice, Nebraska where Lowell received the majority of his formal education. In 1940, Lowell married Harley Irene (Martin) Miles. After a couple of survey trips to western Kansas and eastern Colorado, Lowell decided in February 1943 to move the family to the farm northwest of Johnson owned by the Warner family. Over time, he purchased the farm where he pursued his passion of growing wheat. He considered southwestern Kansas to be “God’s Country” and had no desire to ever life elsewhere. While Lowell loved to travel and spent time in Mexico, Guatemala, and the western United States, he knew Stanton County was “home” for him. The winter months of the 1950’s and 1960’s were spent in south Texas and Mexico. In 1953 while in Vera Cruz, Mexico, Lowell met a family returning to Guatemala City, Guatemala from a vacation in the U.S. Bill Wright, an American, had met and married a Guatemalan lady while stationed there with the military. During the course of the evening’s conversation, it was decided that the Stepp family would follow the Wright family to Guatemala City. Lowell and his family lived with the Wright family in Guatemala City for six weeks. There were trips to the Wright family’s banana, coffee and cocoa plantations as well as historic areas. Following this trip, Lowell made several presentations to local organizations where he showed his 3D slides and talked about the culture, history and farming techniques of Guatemala. Lowell could fix anything and worked on all of his farm machinery as well as that of his neighbors. He invented and patented the “Auto Tarp” and installed several on local wheat trucks. Lowell was a long-time member of the First Baptist Church in Johnson.
Lowell was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Harley; son, Lowell Gene (Johnny) Stepp; two sisters, Helen Hutzler, Lucile Davis; and his stepson, Alfred Miles.
Funeral service will be held Monday, August 15, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at Garnand Funeral Home Chapel in Johnson, Kansas with Reverend Arland Rogers officiating. Interment will follow at the Stanton County Cemetery in Johnson, Kansas. Friends may call Sunday, August 14, 2011 from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Garnand Funeral Home in Johnson with family present from 7:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Friends of Felines, The Storehouse, or the charity of your choice in care of Garnand Funeral Home, PO Box 715, Johnson, Kansas 67855.