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Barbara Frazer Lowe

  • On April 5, 2023

July 30, 1922 – March 28, 2023



Barbara Frazer Lowe, at the age of 100, passed away on March 28, 2023, in the way she lived her life, focused and according to her own plan. A woman of strong opinions, she was genuinely interested and open to others’ perspectives, a conversationalist and lifelong student in that way. As an artist and humanist, her enthusiasm was contagious.



Barbara was born July 30, 1922, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Esther Capen Bitting and Kenneth Hills Bitting. She followed in her mother’s steps to Vassar, but left after just one year to join the war effort, working in Dayton, Ohio and Washington D.C.  An opportunity to live in London proved invaluable as she honed her skills as a portrait painter (a self-portrait hung in London’s National Portrait Gallery). Her career began in earnest in New York. One commission took her to Ligonier, PA, where she met John Gilfillan Frazer, Jr. They married in August 1954; two daughters followed, Eliza and Barbara.


Barbara embraced the outdoors, whether it be sailing the waters of Narragansett Bay, playing golf, or gardening, the latter a life-long passion that brought great personal joy.   She generously shared her abundant energy and creativity in all she did. Her volunteer work exhibited a steadfast commitment to community; she will be remembered as an active member of the Carnegie Museum of Art Women’s Committee and the Garden Club of Allegheny County. She dedicated over sixty years to garden club projects and championed Botany in Action which thrives today.


After her daughters fledged, she began a successful career as a decorator. In addition to her artist’s eye, she was a good listener, and each project was personal and unique.


As a widow she met Dr. Charles U Lowe and together shared a decade of travel as they continued their education at Harvard. Sharp until the end, Barbara could, and did, beat any challenger at the backgammon table. She was continually accompanied by a faithful dog, or maybe three, many of them rescued.


Barbara died peacefully, surrounded by friends, her dog Jupiter on her bed, and in the home she designed and adored in Sewickley. The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the wonderful people who gave of themselves and provided loving care for our mother and her beloved dog for many years so that she could remain comfortably at home and to Gateway Hospice, who helped in so many ways these last months.


Barbara is survived by her daughters Eliza Frazer (Barry Hood) of Helena, Montana and Bobbie Franks (Tyler) of Richmond, Virginia, grandson Jack Hood of Helena and twin brothers William Coleman Bitting and George Capen Bitting of St Louis, Missouri. She is predeceased by her brother Kenneth Hills Bitting, Jr., her husband John Gilfillan Frazer, Jr and second husband Dr. Charles U Lowe. A private service will be held.


Contributions in her memory may be made to Botany In Action, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1 Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 or

online at phipps.conservatory.org/donate or by phone at (412) 622-6915, ext. 3701.

Contributions may also be made to an animal rescue organization of your choice.

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