Jack R. Loew, 66, of West Chester, a suburban real estate developer and philanthropist, died Wednesday, Jan. 29, of brain cancer at his home.
Mr. Loew spent the early part of his career designing and manufacturing interior cabins for passenger trains.
But he wanted to do something community-based. So he focused on the acquisition and development of land, and in 1976 founded Hough/Loew & Associates, which at first offered design-to-construction services.
“It was one-stop shopping,” said his wife, Patricia Burton Loew.
The firm, now J. Loew & Associates, in Downingtown, has grown to a diversified real estate company that specializes in office buildings, shopping centers, industrial parks, country clubs, and residential projects under the name Southdown Homes.
Among his creations were French Creek Golf Club in Elverson; the Downingtown Country Club; Brandywine Square, and Whiteland Business Park in Exton.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Loew moved to Aiken, S.C., and from there to Wilmington, where he graduated from Mount Pleasant High School. He moved to West Chester in 1992, when he married his wife, a widow with four children.
After completing a course of study in architecture at what is now Carnegie Mellon University, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Mr. Loew loved to travel the world with his family. Among his favorite adventures were African safaris and hot-air ballooning. Ten months ago, he climbed mountains in Asia to see the Tibetan monasteries, and trekked through the muck in the Rwandan jungles for a glimpse of wild silverback gorillas.
Mr. Loew had always wanted to “go eye to eye with them,” and he was able to do that, seeing a male from a distance of six to eight feet, his wife said.
“The silverback stared right back at you, and was munching and munching,” said his wife. “We were both in such awe.”
One of Mr. Loew’s other passions was philanthropy. After witnessing devastation in Sri Lanka on a tour one year after a 2004 tsunami, Mr. Loew contributed funding to build homes for families who had lost everything.