Donor Spotlight: Patty Lowe

By : Janice Eaton

Backpacking the Appalachian Trail, flying in a private plane, or globetrotting, Patricia Lowe has adventured in more places than many can dream of. With a B.S. in Nursing and Masters in Public Health, Patty served as a U.S. Army Reserves Lieutenant Colonel and as Director of Public Health Nursing in Metro Atlanta. She still lives with cairn terrier Dolly in the Sautee-Nacoochee cabin she shared with Roy, her late husband of 43 years, and her memories are vivid.

Patty has hiked, backpacked, boated, and/or canoed in Siberia, Iceland, and Portugal; the Italian, German, and Swiss Alps; Spain’s Camino del Santiago; Scotland’s West Highland Way; Alaska’s Brooke Range; national parks in Utah, Idaho, and Washington; and the AT. She visited Nunavut, seat of the Canadian Inuit, and followed Antartica explorer Ernest Shackleton’s path. She laughs at some of her earlier, bolder adventures–getting trapped in a washout of an ancient Maui trail and discovering that a trail on Molokai was a feral hog run. 

“As I got smarter, I got more leery,” she says. But one adventure is a caution for all hikers. Fly fisherman Roy frequently dropped her off at trailheads, so she could hike while he fished. In Wyoming’s Medicine Bow wilderness, Patty took off on a day hike while Roy departed for a lake. But the faint trail disappeared and Patty relied on her compass.

At Sautee-Nacoochee Community Association, about to yank up some invasive Japanese stiltgrass. 
Photo Credit: Janice Eaton

“There were no cellphones in those days. I should have turned around but kept going,” Patty said. After circling, finding nothing, she headed for cairns on the Continental Divide, hoping to spot the lake where Roy was and bushwhack to it. The day was getting cold. Contemplating sheltering under leaf litter overnight, Patty spotted two men in Forest Service uniforms. They gave her a ride all the way to the lake—where a frantic Roy and search party were getting ready to search for her.

Patty got involved with GAFW through Friends of the Mountains, a group that became part of GAFW in early days. Elmer Butler and Marie Mellinger were influential, and she visited gardens with her late friend and GAFW supporter Maureen Donohue. Patty still hikes with GAFW, mindful of limits to her stamina as her eighth decade approaches. But getting outdoors and yoga keep her fit. 

Over the years, Patty has directed the bulk of her giving to GAFW via very generous responses to Appeals and special event sponsorships like the Wild & Woolly Festival. Why does she continue to give?

“Pressures are growing on our national forests. I support GAFW’s mission to preserve, protect, and restore the CONF and I like the leadership position that ForestWatch is taking to protect our mountain treasures,” said Patty. “I also appreciate GAFW leaders’ thoughtfulness and expertise, and how they network with other organizations.”GAFW is grateful for Patty’s support. To learn about our legacy giving program, visit, call (706) 867-0051, or email Executie Director Jess Riddle at

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