Francis C. Lowell Jr. of Falmouth died at home on August 4 at the age of 80, six months after being diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer.
He was the husband of Victoria (Hamann) Lowell. They had been married for 54 years.
The son of Francis C. and Elizabeth (Shurcliff) Lowell, he was born in Boston and grew up in Concord, spending summers in Cotuit.
Mr. Lowell, who was known as Pete, had a lifelong curiosity about how things work and took pleasure in explaining these workings to others. In his college years he built and registered a steam motorcycle.
He graduated from Harvard College and earned an electrical engineer degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Summer jobs at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution gave him an interest in underwater acoustics.
In 1966 he and his wife moved to Falmouth so he could work at a small company, Ocean Research Equipment. During his long tenure at ORE the product line expanded from transponders, beacons, releases, and sub-bottom profilers to systems for navigating underwater vehicles and to travel-time acoustic flow meters. These meters have been installed in hydro-electric dams, aqueducts and sewers around the country and the world.
Although he and his business partner, Robert Reynolds, sold the company in 1997, Mr. Lowell stayed on as a consultant, retiring gradually.
He was at home on a bicycle, often commuting to work and enjoying many longer bicycle adventures with his wife and friends.
Two such trips were mentioned in the Enterprise archives: a transcontinental bicycle trip from the Columbia River in Oregon to Cape Cod during 10 weeks the summer of 2000, a distance of 3,800 miles; and a month-long trip in the spring of 2002 when the Lowells, accompanied by six companions, bicycled 1,400 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, continuing over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Williamsburg, Virginia, and ending up in Yorktown, Virginia, the site of the battle which marked the climax to the Revolutionary War.
Both treks were the topic of talks accompanied by slides and presented by the couple in the “Conversation” series of Woods Hole Historical Museum.
Mr. Lowell dedicated half his basement to an extensive model railroad layout that he designed and built based on the Columbia River Gorge and met with fellow modelers for weekly operating sessions. Working with a boat builder, he created a cruising lobster boat that would accommodate him and his tall family. When his children gave him a 3-D printer for his 75th birthday, he enthusiastically learned to master the new technology.
In addition to his wife, he leaves a daughter, Joanna E. Lowell of Washington, DC, and a son, Nicholas S. Lowell and his wife, Amy Armstrong Lowell, of North Falmouth; a brother, Charles R. Lowell of Concord; and two granddaughters, Margaret A. Lowell and Susanna C. Lowell of North Falmouth.
He was preceded in death by his brother Thomas H. Lowell.
A memorial gathering is planned for early September.