The Sanford Herald
17/12/06 Pg A03
Checkers community remembers Lowder
By JONATHAN OWENS
Herald Staff Writer
SANFORD — Sanford resident
and world-class checkers grandmaster Elbert Lowder
died Thursday at the age of 74. A native of Albemarle, Lowder
was respected nationally, as well as worldwide, as one of the greatest checkers
player of all time. At his death, he was ranked as the fourth-best player in the
country. Lowder won the first of his 36
state checkers championships — the most ever in the state’s history — in 1952 at
age 20, and for more than 50 years he dominated the North Carolina checkers
scene. After suffering injuries in a near fatal car crash in January 2004,
recovered to win his last state crown later that year in Kinston. He won 12
southern region tournaments and three U.S. Open “Go-As-You-Please” competitions.
Lowder was also the world champion in
11-man ballot play, where one piece is removed from the table to start, and
participated in more than 140 regional and national tournaments.
“He’s done about all you
could do in the world of checkers,” said J.R. Smith, secretary of the N.C. Checker Association. “He’s probably played more games than anyone alive.”
Smith said Lowder
never got the respect he deserved as a grandmaster player of the game. “He always
seemed to be in the shadow of Marion Tinsley (who is widely
considered the greatest player of all time),” Smith said. “He always played
right beside Tinsley and the greats, but never could quite beat them.”
became somewhat of a pioneer in the game, dominating the 11-man ballot, which
Smith said is hard to master because it takes so many moves. “It’s really
amazing what that does to the game,” he said. “And Elbert dominated it.” Tim Laverty, who lived and worked
at the Piano House in Jonesboro for more than 25 years and is himself a well
respected checkers player, said his friend, taught him everything he knew about
fixing pianos, and a lot about checkers as well.
He said the pair worked
well in tandem and made each other stronger players. “He would always have his
board,” Laverty said. “He would come up with an idea, his own little innovation,
and I would try to knock it out. Two great players together can really help each
other. It was give and take.” Laverty remembered Lowder as an “easygoing fellow
who liked to work on pianos,” and added he was a genius at the game. Smith said
world-class players like Lowder
“certainly have a brilliant mind,” and an average checker player wouldn’t stand
a chance against him. “There’s no way an average player could play with Elbert,”
he said. “He had so many patterns memorized; he could immediately recognize what
they did wrong.” Fellow Sanford checkers enthusiast Clint Pickard said he sold
Lowder a car in 1960, and
rented him one years later so Lowder could drive to a tournament in
Texas. Pickard remembered his friend as a hard worker and a checkers master most
of all. “He was always well respected,” Pickard said. “And he tuned a lot of
News & Press
18, 2006 02:05 pm
Sunday, December 17, 2006 — Elbert Lane Lowder, 74, of Sanford died Dec. 14, 2006.
He was the youngest son of the late L.C. and Icie Cody Lowder.
He is survived by two sisters, Ramelle McDonald of Michigan and Louise Cranford
of Badin and many nephews and nieces.
He was a member of First Street United Methodist Church.
He was well-known in North Carolina and other states as a checker champion.
A memorial service will be in Albemarle at First Street United Methodist Church
on January 13, at 2:30 PM.
Contributions in his memory may be made to First Street United Methodist Church
The Sanford Herald
January 06, 2007
SANFORD — Elbert Lane Lowder, 74, of 302 W.
Raleigh St., died Thursday (12/14/06) at Liberty Commons of Lee County.
born in Stanly County, son of the late Lawson Cornelius Lowder and
Icie Jane Cody Lowder. He was the owner and operator of the Piano House and a
veteran of the Army. He is survived by his sisters, Louise Cranford of New
London and Ramelle Mc Donald of Jackson, Mich. A memorial service will be
conducted at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at First Street United Methodist Church in
Albemarle. Condolences may be made at www.bridgescameronfuneralhome. com.
Arrangements are by Bridges Cameron Funeral Home of Sanford.
NEWS AND PRESS
12, 2007 09:44 am
Thursday, January 11, 2007 — Elbert
Lane Lowder, 74, of Sanford, died Dec. 14, 2006, of complications following a
stroke. The youngest of thirteen children of L.C. and Icie Cody Lowder, he was
born and raised in Albemarle, graduating from Albemarle High School in 1950.
Following that, he served in the U.S. Army in the ’50’s, most notably in Italy,
studied and received a certificate in piano technology from Rockwood Piano
Institute in Clearfield, Pa., and made his living selling, tuning, and repairing
pianos through his business, The Piano House, in Sanford.
His truest calling, however, was in the field of playing and analyzing the game
of checkers. He won the North Carolina Open Tournament for the first of 34 times
in 1952 at the age of 20. Later a GrandMaster checkers player, he is also the
undefeated World 11-Man Ballot checkers champion. Another record: he played in
at least 284 checker tournaments locally, nationally, and internationally over a
period of 57 years. At the time of his death, he was ranked fourth in the nation
and 28th in the world as a player and was well-respected for his contributions
to all aspects of the game.
Mr. Lowder was a lifetime member of North Carolina Checkers Association and the
American Checkers Federation, and held membership at First United Methodist
Church in Albemarle.
He is survived by two sisters, Ramelle McDonald, of Jackson, Michigan, and
Louise Cranford, of Badin, many nieces and nephews, and his business partner and
fellow checker player, Tim Laverty.
A memorial service will be celebrated in Albemarle at First Street United
Methodist Church Saturday, Jan. 13, at 2:30 p.m. The family will visit with
guests following the ceremony.
Contributions in Mr. Lowder’s memory may be made to First Street United
Methodist Church in Albemarle.
The Fayetteville Observer
04, 2007 - pg 5B
Elbert Lane Lowder, 74, of 302 W. Raleigh St., died Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006, in
Liberty Commons of Lee County.
Lowder was an Army veteran.
Memorial, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 13 in First Street United Methodist
Church in Albemarle.
Survived by: Sisters, Louise Cranford and
Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home of Sanford.
The Raleigh News & Observer
- Ebert L. Lowder, 74,
of 302 W. Raleigh St., died
Thursday, Dec. 14. Memorial
Services 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 13 in First Street United Methodist Church in Albemarle. Arrangements by Bridges-Cameron
Bridges - Cameron Funeral Home
Elbert Lane Lowder
(March 3, 1932 - December
Sign Guest Book
MEMORIAL SERVICE PLANNED:
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, January
13, 2007, at First Street United Methodist Church in Albemarle, NC, at
2:30 p.m. His sisters would be very glad to meet Sanford friends of
SANFORD - Elbert Lane Lowder, 74, of 302 W. Raleigh
Street, Sanford, NC 27332, died Thursday, December 14, 2006 at Liberty
Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center of Lee County.
Born in Stanly County, North Carolina, to Lawson
Cornelius Lowder and Icie Jane Cody Lowder, he is survived by his two
sisters; Louise Cranford of New London, NC and Ramelle McDonald of
Mr. Lowder was in the United States Army and later was
the owner and operator of The Piano House.
No visitation or services are planned.
The Sanford Herald
15/12/06 Pg A01
SANFORD Catherine Blackwelder, 79 Henrietta
Judd, 78 Elbert Lowder, 74 Phaedra Mc Crimmon,
34 Lillian Thomas, 94 Nottie
LILLINGTON Ruby Moore, 84 ROCK HILL, S.C.
Julia Lawrence, 81
The Sanford Herald
15/12/06 Pg A03
ELBERT LOWDER SANFORD — Elbert Lane Lowder, 74, of 302 W. Raleigh St. died Thursday
(12/14/06) at Liberty Commons of Lee County. Arrangements will be announced by
Bridges Cameron Funeral Home of Sanford.
Lifetime Membership In Memorial List
Sanford Centennial Ceremony & Reception for the Commemorative Plaque
& Players Obituaries