STANLY COUNTY, N.C. — Stanly County is mourning the loss of one of its most dedicated public servants.
Former Sheriff Joe Lowder passed away over the weekend. He was 60.
He made a lasting impression on the county and the state as a two-time recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
He's part of a family that dedicated close to 100 years in law enforcement.
“It is a tremendous loss to the community, because he was a great officer, like his brother and father before him,” Lowder’s sister-in-law Joy Harris said.
The community is blessed to have known such a true public servant.
“He actually cared about people,” Chief Deputy Ted Kluttz said. “He wasn't pretending or putting on when he showed love towards you it was genuine.”
Lowder especially loved children and was the first D.A.R.E. officer in the county.
He was also a first responder, firearms instructor, Oakboro police chief and town commissioner.
People continued to ask Lowder for advice, even after he retired.
“Advice, help with any issue, whether it was civil, criminal,” his nephew Jeff Branch said. "He was always there to provide that quality advice."
One case weighed heavily on Lowder, family members said.
His niece, Amy Boger, was found dead with a gunshot wound two years ago.
Investigators are still waiting on a key piece of evidence to rule her death a homicide or suicide.
The last person to see her alive was her estranged husband.
Arrangements for Lowder are pending at Hartsell Funeral Home.
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Cox Media Group