The works of LoweSam Lowe, 79, Phoenix, Ariz., started his writing career in Jamestown as the sports editor and photographer and eventually was promoted to managing editor.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Sam Lowe, 79, Phoenix, Ariz., started his writing career in Jamestown as the sports editor and photographer and eventually was promoted to managing editor.
Since then he has gone on to write a daily column for more than 20 years and author a number of travel books — all of this from a failed architecture student who bluffed his way into the newspaper industry.
Lowe got his job as sports editor after flunking out of the architecture program at North Dakota State University. He used other students’ writing examples as his own and learned the trade on the fly.
His first assignment was a 1955 basketball game between St. John’s Academy and Oakes. Lowe also had to take a picture, something he had no formal knowledge or training in.
“By this time I was too far in to tell the truth,” Lowe said in a phone interview from Phoenix.
He quickly went over to the King Studio and learned how to use the camera and dodged the bullet for the time being.
A week later Bill Wright, managing editor, called Lowe on his bluff and decided to keep him on because of his roots in Jamestown and the fact that Lowe’s mother, who lived here, was proud of her son’s new job.
Around 1960 he was promoted to managing editor before leaving nine years later to pursue work in a warmer climate.
“I got the paper out every day. That was the important part,” Lowe said, “but in retrospect I knew so little about actual journalism, looking back I wasn’t a very good editor.”
After spending May 19, 1969, shoveling snow, Lowe decided he needed better weather, so the Kensal, N.D. native applied for newspaper work elsewhere.
“I took a $75 dollar a week pay cut to go to a place where they promised me I’d never have to shovel snow again,” he said of his job in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Eventually he found work as a daily columnist at the Phoenix Gazette, now known as the Arizona Republic, where he wrote about light-hearted and humorous topics.
He was named the Humor Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in 1988.
He still contributes his column “The Lowe Road,” for the Republic. He is also the senior travel expert for Best Western International.
Lowe described work as a daily columnist as the best job ever. The second best job in what he does now in his retirement, a travel writer.
Lowe has written books on roadside attractions, collections of his columns, myths and mysteries and much more for Arizona and New Mexico.
At 79, Lowe credits 36 years of North Dakota winters for keeping him writing.
“Winter in North Dakota is not living, so I take six months of every year and subtract that from my actual age, which means I can subtract 18 years from my actual age, which means I’m only 61,” he chuckled.
His latest two books “Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Arizona History,” and “Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in New Mexico History,” were released Tuesday.
His books can be purchased at Amazon.com and globepequot.com.
Lowe hasn’t been back to Jamestown since 2005, but said he hopes to return soon.
“It’s always in my plans to come back,” he said. “I’m just amazed as how the town has changed since I was there.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org