Geraldine "Gerry" Valerie (Lowe) KovachJuly 20, 1944 ~ November 13, 2017 (age 73)
Geraldine Valerie Lowe Kovach died just as Monday, Nov. 13, was beginning. Autumn was her favorite season, so it was only fitting that she slipped away surrounded by the last of the brilliant leaves on the trees of her beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. She was also surrounded by her heartbroken family and a blanket of peace and love.
Gerry’s favorite word was love, which was plain to see. She was completely devoted to her husband of nearly 52 years, Gary David Kovach, whom she met in Miami in 1963 on her one and only blind date. While they dated, he visited her as she worked on her education degree at Florida State University. She readily accepted his proposal on the day before her 20th birthday. They were married in her father’s church on Anna Maria Island, Fla., on Dec. 28, 1965. Her father, the Rev. Gerald Lowe, for whom she was named, was an Episcopal priest. Her family moved several times during her childhood with his parish appointments.
Gerry was born July 20, 1944, in Ottawa, Ontario, but lived there for just a few months. She had fond memories of the area from subsequent visits, however. She was impressed by the Mounties on horseback and enjoyed spending time with her maternal grandparents, whose garden yielded fresh raspberries, one of her favorite things. As a young girl she lived in Burnt Hills, N.Y., and Downsville, N.Y., which had a covered bridge that she loved. One winter in Downsville, her creative and resourceful mother, Marjorie Lowe, built an igloo in the back yard for Gerry and her siblings. The family later settled in Brooksville, Fla., where the underwater theater at nearby Weeki Wachee Springs State Park was a favorite attraction.
Gerry spent her teenage years on beautiful Anna Maria Island, in a house next to her father’s Church of the Annunciation and just steps from the Gulf of Mexico. She enjoyed the beach life of sunning, swimming, watching coquina races, building sand castles and feeding seagulls leftover bread, which had likely been made by her father, an avid baker. She adored manatees because they seem serene and graceful despite their size, and because they are not a threat to any other living thing. She graduated from Manatee High School in Bradenton in 1962.
Having grown up in churches, Gerry’s faith was strong, and she appreciated the rituals of “high” Episcopal services. In the final hours of her life she received communion, miraculously reciting the Lord’s Prayer along with the priest.
Gerry was so much more than what she did for work, but she used her considerable gifts of intelligence, sweetness and sensitivity to serve in many ways. In the 1960s, she worked in her brother-in-law’s orthopedic practice in Miami, taking X-rays, operating physical therapy equipment and transcribing notes. Her true vocation was as a lifelong educator and communicator. She loved language, and her favorite school subject was English. Like her mother, she pored over word puzzles and was a voracious reader. She was especially fond of Agatha Christie, Janet Evanovich and David Baldacci. She also loved the TV shows “Monk” and “The Closer,” and watched “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” every night. She loved knowledge and always wanted to be a teacher. As a young girl, she would arrange her dolls and stuffed animals into a class in her bedroom. She taught first grade at Twin Lakes Elementary school in Hialeah, Fla., relishing the youngsters’ enthusiasm for learning. She especially liked making home visits, which gave her a fuller view of her students’ backgrounds and needs.
She and Gary and their two daughters moved from Miami to Western North Carolina in 1974, living in Fairview for about a year before settling in an old farmhouse with a dirt basement on the corner of Morgan Branch Road in Candler. Gerry and Gary owned and operated a gas station and convenience store across the street from that house for many years before moving a few miles away to Old Youngs Cove Road, where they lived for more than 30 years.
Gerry had a thriving career in the Buncombe County school system, starting in 1985 as a secretary to the associate superintendent. After one year, she was promoted to public information officer, a position she held until retiring in 2009. Although she had no formal training in public relations, through her natural abilities she excelled in the role while teaching herself desktop publishing on the then-new Macintosh system. In addition to producing publications from scratch and planning special events, she also helped to usher through three successful bond referenda while juggling the day-to-day duties of the job, which included handling phone calls from irate parents on snow days when there was no snow.
She touched many lives through her public work, but she considered her crowning achievement and greatest joy to be in the roles of wife and mother. She was a fierce Mama Bear in her politely stoic Canadian way and always put family first. Her family will dearly miss the light in her twinkly blue eyes and her wide, sparkly smile, which was accented by a devilish sense of humor and a hearty laugh.
In addition to her husband, Gerry is survived by two daughters, Leslie Waugh, of Clayton, N.C., and her husband, Matthew Waugh; and Heather Anderson, of Fletcher, N.C., and her husband, Brian Littman; the apple of her eye and the other boy who stole her heart, her grandson, Graham Littman, of Fletcher, N.C.; two sisters, Audrey Kurzner, of Miami, and Angelica Lowe, of Jacksonville, Fla.; a brother, David Lowe, of Bradenton, Fla.; several nieces and nephews and many others. Gerry was predeceased by her parents and a beloved older brother, Robin Lowe, who died when he was a teenager.
A memorial service with interment, led by the Rev. Dr. Brent Norris, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 337 Charlotte St., Asheville, N.C., where Gerry and Gary were members. A reception at the church will follow. Asheville Area Alternative Funeral and Cremation Services assisted in the arrangements. The family would greatly appreciate memorial donations to the CarePartners (John F. Keever Jr.) Hospice Solace Center in Asheville, where Gerry spent her final hours.