Ronald A. Lowy '61
When Ronald Lowy and one of his CDS friends decided to attend an NAACP meeting in 1958, they had no idea that they would be making history in St. Louis. The meeting resulted in a trip to the Tropicana Lanes on Clayton Road, where over the following several nights, peaceful sit-ins were held to protest segregation. A local radio station picked up the story, and the news quickly spread among other young people, including other CDS students. A number of them joined in the protest during the subsequent nights. Lowy says that CDS headmaster Ashby Harper was supportive of their peaceful demonstration and community activism.
Country Day School in the late 1950’s and early 60s was a place of growth and change on campus, and it reflected what was happening across the country. Lowy came to CDS as a sophomore, after his father suggested he would be much better prepared for college if he enrolled. His father was right. “CDS gave me the study habits and skills to achieve a high score on the SAT, and enabled me to gain admission to Swarthmore College, my first choice. I don’t think I would have gotten in if I hadn’t gone to Country Day.”
Having transferred from the Clayton schools, attending the former Maryland Elementary School and Wydown School for the middle grades, Lowy continued to maintain friendships with his neighborhood friends while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of his CDS education. The college preparation that CDS offered was better than that in the public schools. “I was behind in Latin, but I ended up graduating in the top third of my class” Lowy says. He believes that parents who sent their boys to CDS were assured that their sons would be admitted to good colleges and universities.” The teachers at CDS were good, and outstanding study habits were developed, ensuring success in college.
After graduation in 1961, Lowy went on to Swarthmore, where he majored in history and finished his career there in the top third of his class. Following college, he joined the family business, a company that his father started from the ground up after immigrating from Austria in the late 1930s. The company grew to be the 4th largest wholesale carpet business in the country. Lowy recalls that the first carpet warehouse was located on Locust Street in downtown St. Louis. A few years later, I.E. Millstone built a new facility for the company at Union and Natural Bridge. The company continued to expand with locations in Minneapolis and Iowa.
Lowy lives at the 3 McKnight Place Assisted Living, which was a new facility when he moved in 13 years ago. His daily activities include enjoyment of music, art, DVD documentaries and reading the daily papers. Prior to his current residence, Ron lived in Clayton, where his hobbies included then, as now, following the stock market, reading, and current events. For years he had a pet Akita named Casey—a pure bred show dog that Lowy trained in obedience and conformation.
When asked about his reasons for making a planned gift to support MICDS, Lowy thoughtfully replied that “You have to reflect on the benefits you received when you were there, and then you can reciprocate what the school did for you.” He credits MICDS for his academic success in college and his personal success in life. As Ron Lowy puts it: “MICDS is a great institution.”