Judith Helen "Ski" Lower (7 September 1943 - 5 September 2023) passed away peacefully with family at her bedside while a resident at Bickford Senior Living in Portage, Michigan. She was an identical twin born in Pasadena, California, and grew up in a military family. Ski traveled extensively with her family, lived in Germany, and attended high school on Governors Island in New York, eventually settling and raising her family in Maryland for over 40 years. In 2009, Ski and Bob settled in Water Valley, Texas. After Bob's passing in 2020, Ski moved to Michigan to live with her sister.
Ski, affectionately known as Mimi, enjoyed visits with family and watching old classics like "The Golden Girls," listening to 50's & 60's music, collecting antiques, decorating for the holidays, cooking and trying new recipes, taking care of her many pets, gardening, reading, puzzles, trivia, playing board games, watching football, cheering for her beloved Dallas Cowboys, volunteering as a certified Lighthouse Keeper, and clogging as a member of Lone Star Cloggers. Ski was passionate about local and national politics and volunteered as a voting official during elections. She was a devout Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, was an adult Sunday school teacher at Glen Burnie Baptist Church for many years, and continued in service at The Heights Church in San Angelo, TX.
Ski is preceded in death by her parents, Colonel Ralph J. and H. Shirley (Weinmann) Walsh, and stepmother Mildred "Millie" Walsh. She is also preceded in death by her childhood sweetheart and husband of 56 years, Robert (Bob) W. Lower, Jr., and her daughter-in-law, Julie Lower. She is survived by her three children, Rob of Winston Salem, NC; David (Laura) of Gambrills, MD; and Tracy (Michael Simmons) of Water Valley, TX; her six grandchildren (Cameron, Tyler, Alesha, Grace, Brody, and Colton); and her two dogs and loyal companions, Daisy and Abby. She is also survived by her twin sister, Kathleen Staufer, sisters-in-law Judy (George Hoffman) and Patricia Finney, and many nieces and nephews.
Judith "Ski" Lower, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN, began a long and successful nursing career after graduating with a diploma in nursing in 1964 from Shadyside Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 1982 from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland, and a Master of Science degree from The University of Maryland in 1989.
Early in her career, Ski was well known for her work in Trauma Nursing. She had a great passion for bedside nursing and held various clinical roles at The University of Maryland Medical Center and the R Adams Crowley Shock Trauma Center. She quickly assumed leadership roles and became the Head Nurse of the Intensive Care Unit at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
In 1981, physician and nursing leaders from the departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, recruited Ski to establish the first Neurosciences Critical Care Unit (NCCU). The NCCU opened in 1982. Under Ski's nursing leadership, along with the work of multiple Hopkins physicians and the Department of Neurosciences administration, the unit expanded from a "temporary" 4-bed unit to the current 24-bed, state-of-the-art critical care unit, treating thousands of patients with acute neurological conditions.
Her nursing and physician colleagues will remember her for her dedication to nursing education, her belief in nursing shared governance, nurse-led interdisciplinary bedside rounds, and her philosophy of primary nursing. She was a local and nationally well-known speaker, lecturing on leadership topics, patient care strategies, nursing management, and the physiological conditions of critically ill patients. She encouraged and influenced numerous nurses and physicians throughout her career. Ski retired in 2005 after serving 24 years as NCCU Nurse Manager at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. After retirement, Ski proudly served as an emeritus member of The Johns Hopkins Hospital Ethics Committee.
In June 2023, the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit celebrated its 40th anniversary. Ski was honored by the hundreds of guests who returned to Baltimore to attend the event.
A celebration of Ski's life will be held at a later date in Maryland with family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, a Memorial Contribution may be made in memory of Ski Lower as follows:
To make a gift by check:
Please make your check payable to Johns Hopkins University and mail it to the attention of Ms. Angel Terol:
Ms. Angel Terol, Senior Associate Director of Development
Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine
Department of Neurology and Brain Sciences
550 N. Broadway, Suite 736B
Baltimore, Maryland 21205
Reference (In memo line): NCCU Gift Fund IMO Ski Lower
To make a gift via credit card, visit the Neurology online giving page:
Under the Gift Designation Field at the top, select the Other option, and in the Please Describe field, which will appear underneath, please enter NCCU Gift Fund. Sign in or click continue as guest. In the Donor Information section, please make sure to check yes to this is a gift in memory of someone box.
Condolences for the family may be offered at Langeland Family Funeral Homes at https://www.langelands.com.