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Oakboro Mayor Doug Burgess, right, honors Police Chief Joe E. Lowder upon his retirement in 2016.

Former sheriff Joe E. Lowder dies

One of the biggest names in law enforcement in the last 30 years has died.

Joe E. Lowder, a former Stanly County sheriff who had also held positions of Oakboro police chief, mayor and town commissioner, died Saturday morning at his home. He was 60.

Lowder retired in 2016 after several decades of service — lastly as Oakboro police chief. He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine upon retirement, regarded as one of the state’s highest civilian honors.

“It’s just a shock to me,” said Oakboro resident Ted Kluttz, who had already heard of Lowder’s passing.

Kluttz, who worked for 30 years with the sheriff’s office, was hired by Ralph McSwain, then served Joe’s brother Roger, who died of cancer while in office.

Kluttz then became chief deputy while Lowder completed Roger’s term as sheriff from 1992-94.

Lowder won election for a four-year term in 1994.

“Joe, he was a great man,” Kluttz said. “He was one of those rare men that a had peaceful spirit about him. I never saw the man mad.

“He did a good job for this county as sheriff,” Kluttz added. “I know the family well. I knew his father, had the pleasure to work with his father. I knew his brother Roger. They are a law enforcement family and they were committed to serving the people of this county.”

Pat McSwain spoke on behalf of her husband Ralph, who served as sheriff for 28 years.

“He was fond of the whole Lowder family,” McSwain said. “He is heartbroken about it.

“We’ve known the whole family for a long long time,” she added. “Roger and Joe both worked for him.”

Kluttz said the people have lost a great servant.

“All hearts should be saddened on this day,” he said.

“I ask that the people of this county pray for this family,” he added. “They have gone through a lot these last couple of years. We will continue to pray for Rita and the entire family.”

Arrangements are pending at Hartsell Funeral Home.

More on the life of Joe E. Lowder will be in Tuesday’s edition of The Stanly News & Press.

Have a story idea? Contact B.J. Drye at 704-982-2123, bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.