Lowell Harrelson, 86, born May 4, 1934, in McKenzie, Alabama, but a long-time resident of Bay Minette, Alabama, died Thursday, March 17, 2021.
He was preceded in death by his parents L.W. and Luzine Harrelson, his wife Eugenia (Genie) Harrelson, his brother Robert (Bobby) Harrelson, his sister Edna Cooley, his brothers-in-law Jim Cooley, and Harry Gilbert, and niece Rebecca (Becky) Peevy.
He is survived by his wife Maria-Heidy Harrelson, his close friend Robert (Bob) Jones, Jr., sons Michael Harrelson of Ridgely, Tennessee and Marvin "Bud" (Rachel) Harrelson of Clanton, and daughter Star Smith of Naples, Florida. His surviving siblings include brother Harrell (Sandra) Harrelson, and sisters Helen Peevy, Jean (Dolan) Johnson, and Sharon (Allen) Propst, all of Bay Minette.
He also leaves behind grandsons Ryan Harrelson of Atlanta, and Robert Jones Ill of Houston, and granddaughters Linde Jones of Maldives Islands, Angela (Terry) Hayes of Clanton, Kristen Harrelson of Orange Beach, and Maggy Harrelson of Clanton, as well as numerous greatgrandchildren.
His life was a unique and adventurous one. Immediately following his 1953 graduation from T.R. Miller High School in Brewton, Harrelson and three close friends pooled resources and traveled to California on a "Graduation Adventure." His friends returned to Alabama rather quickly, but Harrelson stayed, forfeiting his football scholarship to University of TennesseeChattanooga. Instead, he joined the team at California Polytechnic State University as a walkon and earned the QB position his freshman year.
It was also in California that Harrelson met and married Eugenia Driver. There they had two children. Harrelson began working for his father-in-law in California, who taught him the plumbing construction business, and gave him valuable working experience.
In 1958, Harrelson and his young family returned to Alabama, where he began working for Donaghey Construction of Mobile, and later for Minneapolis-Honeywell. However, in 1965, he opened his own mechanical construction company (Ball-Co Contractors, Inc.), headquartered in Bay Minette, and the company grew quickly. Over the years, Ball-Co was instrumental in the building of several large projects across the Southeast, including Carraway Hospital and the Federal Social Security Building in Birmingham, and the Grand Ole Opry Playhouse in Nashville, Tennessee. By 1974, Ball-Co was listed as the 5ih largest mechanical construction company in the United States, according to Domestic Engineering Magazine.
Later, Harrelson moved to Houston, Texas and established International Service Group, Inc. which employed hundreds and contributed to the building of several large and varied projects, worldwide.
Since his retirement, Harrelson has written and published two fictional novels (Lookin' for Mama and Rainbow Junction), and has produced a steady stream of poems and poetic works, from his residence in Mobile. In addition, he has actively participated in charitable projects in both Haiti and Bolivia, where he met his current wife Maria-Heidy.
Harrelson was a member of Southside Baptist Church of Bay Minette, Alabama. He was a former Deacon and Sunday School teacher there, and his first wife, Genie, was Church Organist for many years.
He was a former member of the Bay Minette City Council, and was politically active in national, state, and local politics for many years.
Lowell Harrelson will be missed and will be remembered by his family and friends as the epitome of one of his favorite quotes:
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure ... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt)
Funeral services will be held on April 24, 2021 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel of Norris Funeral Home in Bay Minette. The Reverend Henry Cox will officiate. A private graveside service will follow at Bay Minette Cemetery.
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