We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own, Howie Loewen. Howard “Howie” W. Loewen of Portland, Oregon passed away at the age of 68 on December 24, 2015 surrounded by family.
With over 38 years of experience in the fast lube industry, and nearly 23 years at ISI, Howie Loewen was one of the nation’s most respected fast lube consultants. In addition to serving as ISI’s Senior Consultant to fast lubes, Howie was responsible for training ISI installers and customers to use LubeSoft® and LubeManager™ products. In his career, he installed over 200 ISI systems throughout the US and Canada, impacting countless businesses with his ability to train, educate, and empower.
Prior to his employment at Integrated Services, Inc., Howie filled nearly every position possible in the fast lube industry. From working as a lube technician in the bay to overseeing 32 Oil Can Henry’s stores as Vice President of Operations, Howie acquired a broad perspective along with in-depth knowledge of the fast lube business. In his five years with Jiffy Lube/Pennzoil, he worked in both the company store and franchise operations. He also served as a speaker for the AOCA at both regional seminars and national conventions.
Howie had a passion for helping operators improve in all aspects of their business. His heart for continuing education and care for operators is known throughout the fast lube industry.
Outside of work, Howie’s passion for history led him to Civil War reenacting in 1998, where he participated first with a military role as a corporal in the Union army, and later as a civilian rising to the position of commander of the Civilian Alliance of the Northwest Civil War Council. He loved reenacting and took a strong leadership role in the club, which earned him the respect and longtime friendship of many.
Howie’s humorous nature was beloved among the ISI family. Back when it was popular to come to work in a tie on someone’s first day, Howie would introduce himself and promptly cut off the tie before anyone knew it was happening. However, Howie had class and would hand the employee a $20 bill to go get another one. Howie’s mischievous spirit and laughter will be greatly missed.
Howie is survived by his wife Carrie and two sons, Chad and Jordan. Howie also leaves behind two brothers, Roger, Gordon and wife Jannelle, along with one niece, one nephew, and one grandniece. He was predeceased by his parents, William and Catherine Loewen.
Howie will be profoundly missed by all in the ISI family.
A memorial service will be held in Howie’s honor at 10:30 a.m. on May 14, 2016. It will take place at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel on the Lewis and Clark College campus (Portland).
Howard “Howie” W. Loewen
8/17/47 – 12/24/15
Memories of Howie
“Howie was such a great person, full of energy, fun and character. I remember serving with him in Support when we were both LubeSoft newbies. His booming voice and amicable demeanor made him great at customer service and as a teammate. His hard working attitude never changed, and he always came ready to share a story or joke to make a connection with someone. I will miss him!” Scott Nordlund
“Back when it was popular to come to work in a tie on your first day, Howie would introduce himself and promptly cut your tie off before you knew it was happening. Howie had class because he would also hand you a $20 bill to go get another one.” Dan Johnson
“A new employee was forewarned of the “special” welcome he would be receiving and coached accordingly. When Howie came along and cut off the tie, the new employee’s response was to cry out, “Oh no, that was an anniversary gift from my wife! It was very special to me.”” Eileen Smith
“I was hired at a place called Oil Can Henry’s by a man named Howie Loewen. One of my responsibilities as a new employee was to clean the customer restrooms. When I was done, Howie went to check out my work. It seems I did not do it properly. Howie showed me how to properly clean a toilet. “You want me to put my hands in there…?” What Howie taught me that day was what it meant to pay attention to detail no matter what you are doing. It’s been over twenty years and to this day I still clean bathrooms the way Howie taught me, paying attention to details. I miss Big Dawg a lot, but he will always be in my heart and mind for the rest of my time on this planet. Thank you Big Dawg for being a brother to me.” Tim Kabachis
“When I think about Howie and the time that I spent with him here at ISI, working on the road, and at tradeshows and meetings, I remember his laugh and his compulsion to tell jokes. I learned from his younger brother, Gordon, that Howie told jokes just about daily when they were growing up together. Howie was not quiet and his laugh carried quite a bit so that is usually how I knew he was nearby. Listening to him, and learning from him about the business, he would regularly say, “What winds up happening…” Howie was a guy who had learned the industry from the ground up and knew each aspect. He understood that the best-intentioned directives didn’t always work in the real world of operations so he was practical and pragmatic and very astute. He loved to read and had many interests. We’ll miss his laugh and his jokes and the smile that they both produced.” Todd Ellis
“Howie started at ISI not long after me. He sat next to me in Support for a while and I tried to teach him what I knew about LubeSoft while he taught me more than a few things about business and customer service. I remember him taking a situation where a customer was quite upset and turning it into a situation where the customer had Howie come to Maine to train his employees. It made me want to be the guy who could turn a customer service crisis into a success story. Howie wanted ISI to be a casually dressed workplace from the moment he started here. When somebody would wear a tie to work he was vigilant to cut it off. He would then pay the wearer for it. It was kind of a tradition for a while and was fine by me, as I don’t like wearing a tie to work and is one of the reasons I came to work at ISI in the first place. I went on my first field installation with Howie. We worked over 100 hours that week installing 3 stores and a central office and training all the employees. It was by far the most I’ve ever worked for ISI in a week. I had a blast. He made working fun and helped me know that working and having fun are not mutually exclusive. I always enjoyed talking college football with Howie. He loved college football and always had new insights I could appreciate. (Howie…Oregon State is still 2-0 all-time vs. Notre Dame…) Over the years, Howie’s commitment to ISI in LubeSoft training, Installs, To-Catch-a-Thief, guiding/mentoring in Lube business matters, and many other areas will all be missed, but we will surely all miss his sense of humor and his infectious laugh and smile more.” Victor Bartruff
“Being asked to write a single paragraph or a single story about Howie is quite the challenge. I have known Howie for over 45 years and have worked for and with Howie virtually non-stop since the spring of 1976. So, like Howie, I could tell stories all day long about him. Howie always had a story and used them effectively in his teaching, training and life interactions with people. In being able to spend some time with Howie’s family during his hospice days the single word that came to mind to describe Howie is “passionate”. From the time I met Howie in the late 60’s, watched him play basketball at George Fox, worked for him cleaning buildings, working together opening new stores at Oil Can Henry’s, and all the training and travel during his time here at ISI, Howie showed passion. He had passion for all his family including Carrie, Chad, Jordan, his parents and brothers. Howie had a passion to see things done right, like how to clean a building quickly and efficiently, how to service a car with speed yet care, and how to help lube operators be better owners, reduce theft, and the list goes on. Howie’s passion for history was shown through the various roles he played during Civil War re-enactments. Even Howie’s passion about coming days of slowing down a little, moving to Redmond, and more time with family was evident. Howie has been a friend and mentor for a very long time and will be missed greatly.” Steve Hockett
“Howie was more than anything, a friend. He was always willing to step in and help, no matter the who/what/when/where. He was always there for you no matter what. Three of my best memories of Howie:
“Pancake House” – Howie did love his pancakes and one day he insisted that the best place for pancakes in the world was Pancake House on Barbur. He drove us up there and sat us down for a “real” pancake breakfast and then proceeded to regale me with tales of past pancake events there, life stories and experiences and then insisted on paying for the meal. Honestly, one of the best pancake breakfasts I ever had, just for the company and experience. Thanks Howie.
“Santa Claus” – One Christmas, Howie stepped in as Santa Claus for my wife and I and called our boys, pretending to be Santa Claus. He spent time on the phone with them, totally “in the role” of Santa, getting them to divulge their Christmas wishes to him so we could fulfill their Christmas requests. He made a great Santa.
“Fred” – While on a trip with Howie to California, we stopped for dinner at, I think, a Ruby Tuesday’s. The hostess asked Howie for his name to put on the list. Without hesitation, Howie looked at her and said “Fred”. This surprised me since I knew him as Howie… After we walked away from the counter, I turned to Howie and said… “Fred? I thought your name was Howie.” He laughed his Howie laugh and said, “Boy, I never tell them my real name.” He then turned and walked away like that was all the explanation necessary. “ Stevn Bartley
“Howie Loewen will always be remembered at our business after an install as “The Guy who cut our video camera cables.” His favorite stop on his visits to Waterloo, Ontario was TIm Hortons. He fell in love with the pecan danish, or as the server called it in a Canadian accent, a “pee can” danish. He asked her, “Isn’t that something you use when you go to the washroom?” For those of us lucky to spend time with him, he had a great sense of humour and always made us laugh. I owe a lot to Howie for what he taught me about the quick lube business, being a business owner, and how to be a good person in life. Our philosophies on how to run a business were very much alike. He told me, “Dave, the one thing you have to remember is car counts. Don’t focus on driving ticket average, that will take care of itself, but focus on driving cars into your store and making them become repeat customers.” I have never forgot that and have lived by that mantra every day. I consider myself and my family lucky to have had Howie come into our lives and spend time with us. He was a true ambassador to the fast lube business and as a person. We lost a good one and we are going to miss him greatly. Our condolences to his family and the ISI family.” Dave Jensen
“Jay and I both appreciated when Howie first came and helped us install our ISI system. Until then I knew very little about computers and because we were so busy in our store to install and learn on them Howie actually went to my house and set the whole system up in my basement and spent a week teaching me and helping me get all my products set up. I thought he was wonderful and he was so patient in teaching me. I never forgot what he did for me and all the small details he helped me with. I am so sorry we have lost such a wonderful man and God be with his family.” Beverly Cavinder & Jay Costas, Oil N Go, Valparaiso Indiana
“I just now heard about Howie. It makes me so sad I did not know of his condition. Howie was my trainer for the first week of my learning ISI in Portland Oregon. He became a very special friend over those years. He took me to places all over the area during that week. He took me to show me the Volcano (I think it was) or high mountain there close. I remember his laugh and his humor that always made people enjoy being around him. He was a special man and I will never forget the “Topdog”. I would really love to come to his memorial service if possible. I will definitely be praying for his family and the ISI family. I remember him coming to Birmingham to help me install the Express Oil Stores on the ISI system. We had a good time together and he was a joy to be around. I spent the week in Portland and he spent the next week in Birmingham. He came several times to the EOC convention and always wanted to help people. I remember when he came and taught the “Catch a thief” class for our managers. I hope I can be respected half as much as Howie. May God bless you all.” Ronnie Nelson, Express Oil Change