1935 ~ 2023
Captain Lowell Kegley, age 88, passed away August 29, 2023. Lowell was born in Minneapolis, MN where he spent his childhood. He attended Central High School where he was an honor roll student. In his high school yearbook he wrote, “He is truly happy who can make others happy.” Farsighted for a young man.
Lowell met his future wife Joi Moberg in 1952 during their senior year of high school. They were married in 1955.
After high school graduation Lowell enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served for three years as an aircraft engine mechanic, primarily on the early carrier-based jet ighter – the Grumman F-9F Panther. While in service, Lowell was awarded National Defense Service, Korean Service and United Nations Service Medals. Returning to the U.S., Lowell set about learning fly using his Korean War G.I. Bill benefits. He acquired a CFI rating and later instructed at Chrystal Airport. Once Lowell acquired the FAA licenses and flight time needed for employment, Lowell began his long climb toward a major airline career working for ZanTop and Eastern Airlines.
Northwest Airlines hired Lowell on June 22, 1964. After his initial second officer checkout, Lowell was sought out as a second officer and ground school instructor. Many of the current retired NWA pilots received ground school instruction, if not initial qualification signoffs from Lowell. He served in a training capacity intermittently for the entirety of his 31-year career at NWA. Lowell was rated as captain on the Boeing 727, the DC-10, and really found his niche as captain on the 747 Classic. In addition to line flying and training, Lowell played hockey on the NWA hockey team and coached kids’ hockey. He and a pilot pal traveled extensively on the back roads of France on their bicycles.
Back in Minnesota, Lowell could often be found at NATCO working as an instructor/check airman on the 747 Classic; Lowell was eventually designated by FAA as a ‘Designee Inspector’ on the 747 Classic.
Many of his colleagues at NWA knew Lowell as a man of faith. He taught Sunday School for many years and was an active member of Faith Covenant Church of Burnsville, MN. He served on multiple committees over several decades.
In August of 1995 Lowell retired from his NWA airline career with his primary focus in life on his family and faith. Lowell was a loving husband, wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He traveled thousands of miles between baseball games, softball games, graduations, fishing trips and everything else his family was doing. There was a family lake home in Cross Lake, MN, which the family enjoyed for many years, Lowell and Joi hosted friends and family ‘at the lake.’
Lowell was preceded in death by his parents and sister. Survived by Joi his wife of 67 years, sons Glen (Ginny), Gary (Becky), Gregg (Renee) and Grant (Kim); grandchildren Laura Rauenhorst, Bryan Kegley, Bridget Kegley, Cooper Kegley, Mackenzie Madsen, Luke Kegley, Mason Kegley, Rachel Bruns and 9 great-grandchildren.
Captain Kegley, you were a patient teacher and mentor for many of us at NWA. You retained your strong USMC roots to the end. Well done faithful servant.
(-Kegley Family & Bill Day)