Op-ed: Remembering Vienna Village owner Jim Lowe

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 14, 2024

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By Jeff Zenger

For the Clemmons Courier

LEWISVILLE — I pen this with a heavy heart this morning as I found out moments ago that one of Lewisville’s finest, Jim Lowe, has passed. Jim and Anne Lowe have owned and operated Vienna Village for over 50 years and have been an integral part of our community serving in numerous ways. I first met Jim back in 2004 when I was serving on the Lewisville Planning Board.

Jim was appointed as a member to represent Vienna, as they had been annexed into Lewisville. Little did I know the impact that this was to have on me. Jim and I became friends through raucous debate, believe it or not. We both wanted the best for Lewisville and wanted all positions on any issue thoroughly debated. So we would debate, even taking positions we didn’t even support but deserved debate. It was never personal and quite the contrary helped us develop a deep respect for one another and friendship.

After our time on the planning board, we remained friends. Several years later, with the economy in a severe downturn and the building and development business in shambles, I went to Jim for advice. I was seeing folks losing everything they worked for and was at a loss as to what to do. Jim was incredibly encouraging and saw things in me I didn’t. He was being a friend but also a father figure to me. This was huge as I grew up without a father. I remember him explaining that one overlooked key to success is perseverance. He told stories of how he had done whatever it took to keep his business, of serving people in the last stage of life, running and had personally done every job at Vienna Village over the years.

“You do what you need to and never quit” he said.

A year or so later it was Jim that encouraged me to run for Lewisville Town Council. Others had as well, but Jim’s encouragement was the driving force. My respect for him and our friendship was unparalleled. During my tenure on the town council, he was a trusted friend with wise council. I went to him with a business deal years later to see what he thought, he spent the entire time telling me about me. Not looking too closely at what I was considering doing, but telling what about me made him certain of my success. Again, acting like a father figure and telling me exactly what I needed to hear.

In 2019 with last term on town council only a month from finishing, I was asked to run for N.C. House. My first call was to Jim. He was ecstatic and again told me what he saw in me. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jim was a man of impeccable character, and my life is infinitely richer having the privilege of calling him friend. Our community has lost one of our finest citizens. Many are deeply concerned about the state of our nation and culture. I submit to you the reason why is that we are not raising enough boys to be men like Jim Lowe. Thank you, Jim, for believing in me. I have a debt to you I cannot repay.