Lowell Erdman

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 3:38 am

Lowell Erdman, age 96, of Decorah, died Friday, May 26, 2023, at Evans Memorial Home in Cresco.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Rev. Amy Zalk Larson presiding.  Burial will be in the Phelps Cemetery followed by a luncheon at Church. Visitation will be from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 5, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah.

Family requests memorials be given to Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum or Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Lowell Paul Erdman was born Aug. 11, 1926, in Wesley, Iowa, the fifth of seven children born to Paul and Olive (Stillwell) Erdman. He grew up in Wesley and completed high school before enlisting in the Army Air Corps on June 6, 1944. In February of 1945 he was called to active duty and though his passion for flying led him to the Air Corps the war ended before he was allowed to begin his flight training.

After the war he continued his education acquiring a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University in 1950.  He became licensed as a Professional Engineer and Land Surveyor in 1952 eventually responding to an ad for the position of City Engineer in Decorah, Iowa to replace Charles Altfillisch.

In 1955, Lowell opened a small engineering firm in Decorah in addition to assuming the duties of City Engineer.  He also conducted land surveys with Vic Hoeg and taught pre-engineering courses at Luther College.  While at Luther, he met Audrey L. Stephenson who was also teaching at the college.  Audrey and Lowell were united in marriage on Aug. 18, 1956. Together they raised a family of three boys, Lindsay, Paul and Jeff.

Lowell continued the engineering business and the City Engineer position until 1990 when his son Lindsay replaced him as City Engineer. Lowell retired as owner of the business in 1991. His infrastructure design work included airports and jobs outdoors as a land surveyor, both allowing him time with things he enjoyed. During this time, he also was invited and participated in two trips with the People-to-People Ambassador Program allowing him the chance to visit China and Egypt. Eventually in the latter stages of his career his work in engineering included golf course design.

His golf course designs spread across various parts of Iowa and included assisting with Oneota Country Club 9-hole expansion and re-design; Jackson Heights Golf Course – Jackson Junction; Silver Springs Golf Course – Ossian; Pleasant Valley Golf Course – Clermont; Sibley Golf Course – Sibley; River Valley Golf Course – Adel; and Diamond Trail Golf Course – Lynnville/Sully.

While never completely realizing his passion for flying planes, he made up for it in his golf course work and countless trips north to “the lake” with his family. The lake trips to Whitefish Lake spanning more than 50 years allowed him time in his beloved boat, “Little Audrey,” and a chance to use his handmade fly rods and flies.

In recent years he enjoyed his extended family in dining experiences to The Hotel Winneshiek and particularly to Rubaiyat where Kim, Andy, Jackie and everyone were so good to him.  His other passion was his season football tickets and trips to many Iowa State games with family and friends including many appreciated trips with Neil Schraeder of Decorah.

Lowell is survived by three sons: Lindsay and wife Karla (Luzum) of Decorah, Paul of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and Jeff and Sharon (Penland) of Rochester, Minnesota, one sister Carrell Smith of Northbrook, Illinois, and 21 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Audrey (2014), his parents and brothers; Bernard and Darrell, and sisters; Madeline Holben, Marquerite Clegg and Donnelle Robinson.

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