Green Turtle Cay lost a much-loved stalwart of the community with the recent passing of Iva Lowe Scholtka.

Born on June 13, 1935, Iva was the second of four children and the only daughter of Albert Lowe and Annie Curry Lowe. She was a happy, outgoing child who loved to read and write, and was rarely spotted without a book in her hands.

Amy Roberts All Ages School circa 1950
Iva Lowe (third from left) with her classmates at the Amy Roberts All Ages School. Teacher Amy Roberts is second from left, headmaster Jack Ford is at the back right, and Iva’s brother Alton is in overalls in the front row.

“Iva was very smart and popular,” says her younger brother, Alton Lowe. “She was a real doer and an organizer, always gathering friends together for beach outings and parties. She and Alice Gates Albury would organize dances.” And, with the help of local commissioner, Mr. Gerassimus, Iva and Alice arranged Saturday night movies for the community.

“She loved sewing,” Alton says, “and she was a master at it. In addition to making her own outfits, she would sew clothes for Leonard and me.”

Green Turtle Cay's Iva Lowe (at right) and Alice Gates, in dresses they made specially for Coronation Day festivities.
Alice Gates (left) and Iva Lowe wearing dresses they made for Green Turtle cay’s Coronation Day festivities.

After graduating from Green Turtle Cay’s All Ages School, Iva attended night school classes with her friends. She also worked at Neville Key’s ice cream parlour on the New Plymouth waterfront, serving hotdogs, hamburgers and ice cream.

Whereas most girls Iva’s age married young and focused on homemaking, the outgoing and progressive Iva dreamed of moving to Nassau, furthering her education and establishing a career.

Iva and her friends. Left to right: Lionel Hodgkins, Iva Lowe, Ann Roberts, Alice Gates, Zettie Roberts, Jeanie Saunders and Roswell Sawyer

At the time, Alton says, young, single women relocating to the “big city” needed a friend or relative to stay with. So, at twenty-one, Iva moved in with her aunt and uncle, Irene and Bernice Curry, in Nassau. Later, she would live with cousin Bernard Curry and his wife, Virginia.

It didn’t take long for the industrious Iva to land a job at the public records office. In the evenings, she studied accounting.

Within a year, she was hired by Taylor Industries, where she worked for many years, eventually being named head of their accounting department.

Always gregarious, Iva made many friends in Nassau. “When you met her at Taylor Industries and walked with her down Bay Street, it took forever,” Alton says. “She knew everyone and was always stopping to chat with friends and acquaintances.”

In Green Turtle Cay and later in Nassau, Iva was a devoted member of the Methodist church.

Like her father, Iva believed deeply in the importance of family. She sent goodie boxes, stuffed with candy, cookies, books and other items not available on Green Turtle Cay back home to her brothers.

Career girl, Iva Lowe, with her first car
Career girl, Iva Lowe, in Nassau with her first car

When Iva learned of Alton’s love for painting, she made sure he had the necessary art supplies. And she brought Alton and Leonard to Nassau regularly for doctor and dentist appointments. “She was ten years older than me,” says Alton, “so she felt more like a second mother than a sister.”

As Alton’s art career blossomed, Iva was instrumental in helping him plan art shows in Nassau. She compiled mailing lists, served as a hostess, coordinated client appointments and attended to countless details.

Iva (second from left) was a hostess for many of Alton's Nassau art shows
Iva helped organize many of Alton’s art shows in Nassau. Left to right: Ivy Gates, Iva Lowe, Diane Cole, Sherry Pinder, Alton Lowe, Alice Gates Albury, Carmen Pelaez, Iris Lennard and Iris Lowe.

She was equally enthusiastic and supportive when he launched the Albert Lowe Museum, arranging invitations and transportation for the many dignitaries who flew in to attend the museum opening.

Iva Lowe and her father Albert Lowe (for whom the museum is named) at the opening of Green Turtle Cay's Albert Lowe Museum.
Iva and her father Albert Lowe at the opening of Green Turtle Cay’s Albert Lowe Museum.

The museum would remain a constant source of pride and joy for Iva who, until her very last days, sought updates from Alton and offered advice and suggestions.

When her brothers Vertrum and Leonard married, Iva was a devoted aunt to her nieces and nephews, and the grand-nieces and -nephews who came later.

But her generosity extended far beyond her family. For years after she left Green Turtle Cay, Iva mailed Christmas cards to virtually every family on the island.

She sent beautifully wrapped gifts to many of the island’s young people and senior citizens.

And she was always there to lend a hand to community members in need. “She did many things to help people,” Alton says, “But she never told anyone.”

As often as she could, Iva returned to Green Turtle Cay for Christmas. “She would charter Shirley Roberts to fly us over,” says Alton, who was, by that time, studying art in the United States. “Shirley was an excellent pilot and it was always a fun flight.”

During the early 1970s, Alton helped his sister realize a longtime dream, taking Iva and family friend, Iris Lowe, on a tour of England and Scotland. One highlight of their trip was a visit with Iva’s former headmaster from Green Turtle Cay, Jack Ford, whose tales of England first sparked her interest in that country.

Later, ever the consummate organizer, Iva got her former school mates together and they arranged to give Mr. and Mrs. Ford a trip back to the Bahamas for celebrations in Nassau and on Green Turtle Cay.

Mr. and Mrs. Jim Scholtka on their wedding day.

In 1977, Iva retired from Taylor Industries to marry Jim Scholtka and move with him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Not surprisingly, she made many friends in her new hometown. And she kept in close touch with Bahamian family and friends through frequent phone calls and regular visits.

Iva Lowe Scholtka (1935-2018)
Iva in her garden in Milwaukee

Throughout her life, Iva remained an avid reader. She loved gardening and was a gourmet cook, equally comfortable making Bahamian and North American dishes. “She loved baking cakes,” says Alton.

Iva Lowe Scholtka (1935-2018)
Iva Lowe Scholtka (1935-2018) (Photo courtesy of Kristi Lowe)

After Jim’s retirement, he and Iva moved to Boca Raton, where they lived until Jim’s death in 2017.

“Nobody was a stranger to Iva,” Alton says. “She was at ease with people of all ages, from all backgrounds. And she saw her friends as family.”

In May 2017, Iva suffered a fall and was hospitalized. In hospital and later, in a rehabilitation center, she remained as sociable as ever, striking up friendships with caregivers and receiving an endless stream of visitors.

Her room was filled with flowers and her telephone rang frequently with calls from friends and family.

Sadly, following a series of complications, Iva passed away on August 6, 2018. At her request, no funeral was held.

Instead, family and friends will celebrate her life at a memorial service on Saturday, September 22 at 11:00 a.m. at the New Plymouth Gospel Chapel on Green Turtle Cay. All are welcome.

9 thoughts on “A Sad Loss for Green Turtle Cay

  • September 10, 2018 at 6:09 am

    Amanda and Alton, the lovely fragrance and love-light that Iva’s spirit shed to all stays with us.

  • September 10, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Beautifully written Amanda. Thank you for devoting your time and effort in showcasing the amazing woman my Aunt was. She may be gone but will never be forgotten, and will live on in my heart forever.

    • September 10, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks, Kristi. I’m so glad you like it. Iva was such a kind, caring and generous woman, and I wanted to share a bit of her life with blog readers. You’re right — she will never be forgotten.


      P.S. Thank you for the lovely recent photo of her.

  • September 10, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Amanda, thank you for this beautiful article. I was fortunate to meet Albert and Alton about 30 years ago on my first visit to Green Turtle Cay. The Cay was the birthplace of my great-grandfather, Thomas Wilson Lowe who was a brother to Albert’s daddy. I only remember meeting Iva once, at the Island Roots Festival, not sure what year. My father did not want to walk around the festival in the sun so found a shady spot to sit. There, on someone’s front porch, the 2 cousins met for the first time. I have a picture of them together, somewhere. I appreciate all of your articles. (I wish I had just a smidgen of your talent!)

    • September 11, 2018 at 11:51 am

      Marvine, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you liked the post. And if you come across that photo of your father and Iva, send me a copy. I’m sure the family would love to have it.


  • September 10, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I read this beautiful story of Iva’s life, what a beautiful person she was and led a wonderful life! Iva also worked at Taylor Industries, which was owned by my Uncle Archie Taylor. Also my grandmother was from Green Turtle Cay. Eugenia Taylor nee Saunders

  • September 11, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Thank you so much for the beautiful tribute I share.


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