Reflections: Remembering a military officer


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

I’ve always been impressed with the way Morrow County citizens have answered the call to military service as far back as the Civil War. Many of them gave their lives, something that really touches me because they were young at the time of their deaths. I wish to honor one of them from time to time as I think we should keep alive memories of them.

This week I honor Lt. Col. Ralph L. Lowther of Cardington, who was the highest ranking Morrow County officer killed in World War II. It was just 70 years ago, April, 1949, that his body was returned to the U. S. on the Army Transport Barney Kirschbaum. Lt. Col Lowther was one of 6,785 deceased members of the Armed Forces on the ship and were originally interred in temporary military cemeteries in France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and England. Of that number, 350 were Ohioans.

Lt. Colonel Lowther, a 1934 Cardington High School graduate, was a Signal Corps Officer with the 75th division and was killed in action near St. Vith on January 14, 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge. He had been overseas just three months at the time of his death.

A graduate of West Point Military Academy in June, 1939, he was appointed by Congressman Brooks Fletcher. He was first assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and later served as Signal Corps instructor at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey and at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. A year before his death, Lt. Col. Lowther was assigned to a signal corps company which he trained at Camp Breckenridge, Ky, going overseas with the company.

Lowther was a student at Ohio State University when he was appointed to the military academy and was one of two Morrow County men appointed by Fletcher, the other being Capt. Richard Miracle of Mount Gilead, a member of the Eighth Air Force, also killed in action over France on Christmas Eve, 1945. Lt. Col. Lowther’s parents were Clarence and Mary Lowther. His body was interred in Arlington National Cemetery April 22.

He was later awarded the Bronze Star and in 2005 was inducted into the Cardington-Lincoln High School Hall of Fame.

I salute Lt. Col. Lowther and all of our valiant servicemen who gave their lives so that we may have the freedoms we have today.

Looking back…

80 years ago, April, 1939: Fifty new farm customers, some of whom lived in Lincoln Township, were given electric service for the first time when Morrow Rural Electric Co-Op, Inc. energized 70 miles of new power lines.

70 years ago, April, 1949: Dressed to represent famous Roman characters, 28 members of the Cardington School’s Latin classes had their third annual Roman banquet in the school cafeteria.

Mr. and Mrs. John Miller moved into the new home that he built on Midland Avenue. Mr. Miller worked for the Cardington Lumber Company.

Arthur Ebert was elected president of the Cardington FFA chapter, succeeding Wayne Mateer. Also elected were Junior Heimlich, reporter; James Davis, secretary; Kenneth Ackerman, treasurer; Harvey Ward, vice president; Richard Gordon, student adviser and Duane Philbrook, sentinel.

Six sets of twins, all students at Cardington School, were pictured in the school newspaper, The Searchlight. They were Martha and Marjorie Mosier, Wilma and Willis Long, Jeane and James Curts; Harold and Carroll Claytor; Sondra and Ronda Denton and Michael and Maeve Murphy.

60 years ago, April, 1959: Chesterville, Marengo, Sparta and Johnsville schools began to study the possibility of consolidation into one single school district.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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