John F. Lowell

October 27, 1938 ~ July 17, 2020 (age 81)


Lowell -- John F.

 81, born in London in 1938, died suddenly on July 17, 2020. A luxury retailer, he founded Bergdorf GoodMAN, Bergdorf’s first men’s store. He began his career at Saks, was the youngest gift buyer at Abercrombie & Fitch, President of Farnsworth Reid and Garfinkle’s, Washington, D.C.  He came to Philadelphia and Bonwit Teller in l978, gaining notoriety for windows designed by lighting artist Remo Saraceni, creator of the walking piano in the film BIG. He accessorized models in tropical prints with live parrots and cockatoos, stopped traffic the day he put a race horse in the window. A Gorey-esque figure often photographed in a bear coat with a wolf collar. When a devastating brain surgery ended the career he loved, he devoted himself to community, serving on the QVNA board, and 3rd District Police Advisory Committee. He was known and loved by all as the Mayor of Bainbridge Street. A frequent presence at Freeman’s, he turned his appreciation of fine objects into a modest antiques business. In later years, he made art from found objects, painted abstracts wild with color. Indomitable, eccentric, and charming, his laugh was a window flung open.

He leaves behind his wife and constant companion of 45 years, author Jax Peters Lowell.  A love story worn smooth in the telling.  He leaves behind a son, Brian P. Lowell, and is also survived by his brother, Dr. J. Anthony von Fraunhofer,  A son, David J. Lowell, died in 2008.  Donations in his memory can be made to the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, or to Project HOME.

A remembrance will be held at the Fleisher Art Memorial in Spring. 

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Project Home - HUB of Hope
1515 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19130
Tel: 1-215-232-7272

Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania
950 Walnut Bottom Road, Suite 15-229, Carlisle PA 17013
Tel: 1-717-692-5569
Web: http://

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