Lowell Floyd Fleetwood October 21, 1924 – October 13, 2008 MILL CITY – Lowell “Buzz” Fleetwood died on October 13 at Salem Hospital of complications following heart surgery, nine days before his 84th birthday. He is survived by his wife, Evangelyn S. Fleetwood; daughter, Mary Gay Fleetwood of Mt. Angel; son, Willard Fleetwood and his wife, Ann of New Port Richey, Florida and Willard’s daughter and two grandchildren; his sister, Lois Fleetwood Beisell and her husband, Ben of Eugene; his brother, Lyle Fleetwood and his wife, Jane of Bandon, Oregon. The son of Floyd Fleetwood and Ida Brock Fleetwood, he was born in Salem, Oregon. A graduate of Mill City schools, Buzz spent his working life in and near Mill City, the last 23 years as a salesman and driver for Kelly Lumber Sales.
Benefiting his community was a lifelong goal. He chose many ways to do so, from being a member of the first Mill City Volunteer Fire Department in the 1940’s to washing dishes for Senior Meals in the 1990’s. As a Lions Club member in 1958, he originated, planned and helped to create the first Mill City community celebration of the Fourth of July, a celebration that has continued for 50 years. He served the Mill City Presbyterian Church as a member of the Board of Trustees, as a Deacon and as an Elder on the Session of the church at different times through the years. He sang in the church choir for forty years. His beautiful tenor voice enhanced Lions Club programs, the Santiam Civic Theatre Chorus and other community celebrations. He was a member for ten years of Festival Chorale Oregon with whom he made concert tours of Scandinavia, France, Germany and Spain. He played a role in every major Santiam Civic Theatre production except the first one. His defining role and the role for which he was most remembered was as the Stage Manager in “Our Town.” The celebration in 1988 of the centennial anniversary of the town of Mill City was important to him and he spent many hours working on different facets of the event. The success of the Centennial encouraged him and other members of the committee to form a society which would preserve the history of the North Santiam River Canyon. By September of 1988, the North Santiam Historical Society was organized. Lowell “Buzz” Fleetwood was the first president. He was a member of the Board of Directors during the following years, giving time and energy to all aspects of the organization. He served as treasurer for several years and as president for two additional terms.
As a member of a crew of five “old guys,” Buzz worked for three years on restoring the crumbling 1928 Mill City train depot and Post Office building as a location for the North Santiam Historical Society to have a museum. Canyon Life Museum opened to the public in 1996, and became Buzz’s primary focus as he met the visitors, identified mystery photopraphs and monitored the condition of the building. During the last few years, he became the unofficial town historian, answering questions about events, people and places that no one else could remember. In that role, he spoke yearly to the fifth grade classes about what it was like to live in the ‘olden days.’ He spoke about his father’s confectionary, pool hall and grocery store and his mother’s restaurant and when the children asked if he had lived in Mill City all his life, he replied, “Not yet.”
Memorial contributions can be made to North Santiam Historical Society at PO Box 574, Gates, OR 97346. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 18, 2008 at Weddle’s Funeral Services, 1777 N 3rd Ave, Stayton. Memorial donations may be made to North Santiam Historical Society, P.O. Box 574, Gates, OR 97346.