Robert Lowry died on Wednesday, Nov. 17, and the impact of his life has reverberated throughout the industry.
Lowry’s career in the pool and spa world spanned nearly 50 years, beginning in 1973 when he became coowner of Robarb, a manufacturer of pool and spa clarifiers, where he worked as a chemist. In 1977, he became co-owner of Leisure Time Chemicals, which became one of the largest spa chemical manufacturers in the world. In 1987, with partner David Dickman, he began publication of Service Industry News, a newspaper focused entirely on issues related to pool service professionals. After four years, he transitioned briefly to Del Ozone before becoming Leslie’s Technical Director for five years.
As a chemist, he was proud to say that altogether, he developed or formulated 111 chemical products for the pool and spa industry.
He founded Lowry Consulting Group, worked as a CPO instructor, and wrote more than 20 books on water chemistry. Over the course of his career, he contributed countless technical articles to industry publications.
Most recently (October, 2018) Lowry teamed up with the National Plasterer’s Council’s late Technical Director, Greg Garrett, to form the Pool Chemistry Training Institute (PCTI), to provide intensive classes dedicated to residential pool and spa chemistry.
Lowry was devoted to industry research and will be remembered for his tireless dedication to education and teaching.
Members of the pool and spa community shared their thoughts and feelings: I’ve known Bob since the mid ‘80s, and we were really very close in the last few years. He was a great friend to me. I could talk to him about anything whether it was business or personal. He was a great writer, and he knew how to teach to his audience. He was controversial, but a very smart cat – he really made you think. Bob was truly a mentor to me – he always had great words of wisdom, and I just had the greatest respect for him. I know the members of IPSSA appreciated him too. You come across so many people in your life, and he is one of those people I’m glad I met.
Terry Snow TLS Pool Service, Upland, California.
We lost another giant in the pool industry. I always enjoyed conversations with Bob. His passion inspired me, to see how he loved what he was doing. The books that he wrote for IPSSA became the standard for pool service. It is just really heartbreaking to lose him.
Marc Cannon Rescue H2O Pool Service & Repair, Chandler, Arizona.
Bob Lowry was one of those few who had a profound effect on so many people. He was never too busy to take your call, and he was genuinely happy to help. Bob was a teacher, but he was also a gentleman. He never talked in a condescending way when he was answering your questions. Bob was truly a wealth of knowledge and was generous in sharing that knowledge with anyone who was interested. Bob Lowry will be missed by his many friends and by an industry that looked to him for guidance and friendship.
Kent Westfall, Director of Technical Training for the National Plasterers Council and owner of Kent Westfall Pool Inspections, Palm Desert, California.
I was saddened to hear the news of Bob Lowry’s passing. He and I had our differences over the past couple of years, but we had a friendship that had spanned several decades before that. Bob thoroughly enjoyed helping people, and he had a gift in that he could take very complex scientific reactions and explain to them so that they could be easily digested, regardless of a person’s familiarity with chemical processes and phenomena. His contributions to this industry are immeasurable. Bob’s role in my early swimming pool chemistry education was vast. The swimming pool industry is a better and more knowledgeable place because Bob Lowry had been a part of it.
Rudy Stankowitz Aquatic Facility Training & Consultant, Archer, Florida.
I had the pleasure of taking Bob’s first Pool Chemistry Certified Residential course virtually. Wish I would’ve had the opportunity of meeting him in person as many others have. But from my experience, his class simplified what seemed to be very complex pool chemistry. Even afterwards, through social media, Bob still made time to answer questions I had or others have had. Despite his busy schedule and health issues, he still made time for the pool pros.
Joel Thompson Hokulea Pool Service & Repair, San Jose, California.
Bob Lowry was a recognized expert on the proper use of chemicals in the industry and a frequent speaker at many of the pool industry functions we both attended. He will be missed, but his legacy will continue through the many training manuals he authored for the swimming pool service tech.
Ray Arouesty Arrow Insurance Service, Westlake Village, California ———
I really enjoyed my conversations with Bob. He was always searching for the truth and for new ideas and was willing to really dig into a topic so that he could completely understand it. We didn’t always agree, but we respected each other because we were both eager to learn. Every time I spoke to Bob, I came away with a new fact or a new way of looking at things. Bob was generous with his time and his knowledge because he was truly interested in helping other people.
Ellen Meyer Sigura Inc., Alpharetta, Georgia ———
I met Bob many years ago when he was with Service Industry News. I would like to think I’m quite knowledgeable in water chemistry because of what I learned from Bob. I was a student of Bob’s in many classes and Bob was a big part of IPSSA’s education; and he always there for us. We have lost an icon, and a friend. R.I.P.
Joe Lukacik Sun Pools, Lakeside, California ——— Bob had the leadership and vision that separates him from most. His selfless commitment to our industry and to so many individuals has motivated me personally to try and give back.
Our industry is only where it’s at today because we stand on the shoulders of a giant.
Alan Smith,Alan Smith Pool Plastering, Orange, California.
Bob was definitely a maverick in this industry because he didn’t play by political or corporate rules. He sought to develop and teach practical, down to earth methods for independent pool professionals to better understand water chemistry. Throughout his time in the industry he developed helpful specialty products to make the job easier such as a very popular polymer water clarifier and liquid CYA.
His greatest legacy however are his many detailed books on water chemistry. The IPSSA manuals and the books he developed for use in the Pool Chemistry Certified Residential class. Not everyone agrees with his methods but no one can ever doubt his passion and energy and the love he had for this industry. He gave that love back freely until the day he left this world.
Terry Arko, Hasa Pool Inc., Saugus, California.
Bob greatest skill was making understandable the hard science of water balance and sanitation. He has to have been one of the most influential people in the Aquatics industry for nearly 50 years, but most importantly he was a dear friend that will be greatly missed.
Eric Nielson, The Western Pool & Spa Show, Long Beach, California.