Joseph Cullen Stowe, Jr.

May 27, 2022

CHARLOTTE – Joseph Cullen Stowe, Jr., passed away Friday, May 27, 2022.  Joe was born in Bennettsville, SC, on July 6, 1944, and grew up in Hamlet, NC.  He was the son of the late Joseph Cullen Stowe, Sr. and Minnie Scott Stowe.  

Following graduation from Hamlet High School, Joe attended North Carolina State University and earned a degree in Mathematics.  Joe spent fifty-three years in the utility industry.  He was a plant superintendent and utility director in several places, ultimately serving as Director of Utilities for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Utility Department from 1982-1993 before entering the private sector as a utility management consultant. His awards and accolades are numerous, and his impact on the utility industry was immense.

He prided himself on working with and mentoring other utility professionals and served on the executive boards of several regional, national, and international professional organizations. In 2000-2001, he was the president of the Water Environment Federation (WEF).  In this capacity he traveled the world with his wife, Kay to help protect water supplies and public health.  In recognition of a lifetime of service to the water and wastewater industry and its people, WEF named him an Honorary Fellow and Charlotte Water named the Stowe Regional Water Resource Recovery Facility after him, currently under construction in western Mecklenburg County.

Above all else, Joe was a husband and a father.  He married Kay, his high school sweetheart, in 1966 and doted on her for the fifty-three years they were married.  Joe was a loving father, steadfastly caring for his three sons.   He loved to spend time with his family at Lake Junaluska in western North Carolina.  His favorite activity was doing nothing, except for walking around the lake across the dam bridge, spending time with friends, playing tennis, hiking, eating, doing puzzles, and playing board games (but mostly doing nothing).

Joe was a committed member of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte.  Among other activities, he taught Sunday School, served on many committees, and was a Stephen Minister.

Joe is survived by his sons, Jay and his wife, Elaine of Jacksonville, FL, Jim and his wife, Kristin of Matthews, NC and Graham and his wife, Jen of Buffalo, NY; four grandchildren, Emma of Lexington, KY; Caroline of Matthews, NC, and Hank and Sam of Buffalo, NY and sister, Myra Stowe Jackson of Burlington, NC.  He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of fifty-three years, Catherine Conner Stowe and two granddaughters, Lucy and Margaret Stowe.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, June 20, 2022 at Providence United Methodist Church.  The family will receive friends following the service at the church.  The service will also be livestreamed at for those unable to attend in person.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Joe to Lake Junaluska Assembly Inc., The Office of Development, PO Box 67, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745 or Providence United Methodist Church, 2810 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28211 or Water for People, PO Box 3179, Harlan, IA 51593-4179.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences may be shared at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Luis A Concha

    I deeply respected and admired Mr. Stowe. I was one of his superintendents during his inspiring administration at CMUD and will never forget his mentoring, his kindness and humanity. He was an exemplary leader and a creature of God.

  • Bobby Crenshaw

    Joey and I grew up together in Hamlet all way thru High School.
    He was friend and always one of easiest going guys. I am sorry for your loss but sure he will always be remembered
    Thoughts and Prayers
    Bobby Crenshaw

  • Mohamed Dahab

    Dear Joe Stowe family:
    Please accept our sincerest condolences on the passing of Joe. I first met Joe many years ago when he visited Kearney, NE, to attend and participate in the Nebraska Water Environment Association's annual conference representing the Water Environment Federation in which has was an officer. Joe was the type of person that one would taking an instant and tremendous liking. He was always so warm, so sincere,and so friendly. Our relationship grew over the years as I became involved in WEF at the national level, first in the Board of Directors, and later a member of the Executive Committee, and later yet, as an officer of the Federation. Over the years Debra and I enjoyed the fellowship and friendship of Joe and Kay through the many meetings, conferences, etc.
    More than anything else, I consider myself very fortunate to have benefited so much from Joe's mentoring and guidance. Like many of the other WEF officers, I went to Joe for questions, for advice, and council, and he was always understanding, sympathetic, and very kind.
    We can only imagine the magnitude of your loss, but please know that your loss is also our loss and the loss of the WEF extended family which Joe so ably and generously supported with the gifts of his time, dedication, knowledge. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
    May God bless you all very kindly,

    Mohamed and Debra Dahab
    Lincoln, NE

  • Dawn Royston Cole

    To the family of Joe and Kay...Your parents and I go way back. We celebrated our birthdays together my twin brother and I were also early July birthdays. My brother is Perky Royston ..he and Joey were good friends and Kay and I were good friends and often Joey and Kay were both visiting us at the same on our farm in the country. We also all were active in the Methodist Church . We all enjoyed growing up together in Hamlet. I am so glad to have grown up with such great kind friends. It does not surprise me that they married each other and had such a good life helping many! I know they are happily reunited in Heaven. I pray God will bless and comfort each of you! You surely were blessed with wonderful parents!

  • Dawn Royston Cole

    To the family of Joe and Kay...your parents and I go way back. Kay's birthday was July 1st, Joey's was the 6th of July, and Perky, my twin brother and I celebrate our birthday on July 11 th..for many years we always celebrated all our birthdays together when we were young and growing up in Hamlet. Our parents were all friends and we all were

  • Teresa York

    Dear Jay, Jim, Graham and families, your dad was very special to me! I truly enjoyed seeing and talking to him on a daily basis at the clubhouse (until he moved to the main campus). Thank you for sharing Joe with me, he truly blessed my heart ❤ He was such a kind, sincere man and I'm grateful that God brought our paths together at Matthews Glen. My prayers are with you all for comfort and peace. Love, Teresa

  • Ed and Judy Brett

    Joe and Kay quickly became good friends after having met them both at Matthews Glen. For the few years we shared, they were easy to be with wonderful friends. Through them we made many other wonderful friends because they were well known and well loved. Both are and will be missed. But we are better for having known them! Surely there’s no better legacy than leaving the world a better place because you were here. May they and the family feel the peace their love brought to so many others.