Mike and "Ralph" Stowe

Mike and Judy “Ralph” Stowe moved to Boyne City full time more than 30 years ago when they decided to relocate Industrial Magnetics, Inc. from the Detroit area.  They loved skiing and were here many weekends in the winter already.  Mike was also hopeful that they’d find good, hard-working employees in the Boyne City area.  Both Mike and Ralph emphasize that Boyne City was welcoming to them as they moved their industrial business up north: “They embraced us and it made all the difference,” notes Ralph.  Even after they sold the business years ago, Mike and Ralph stayed engaged in the area.  Mike enjoys mentoring young people with an interest in cars.  In fact, he has helped many local people advance in their careers through Great Lakes Motor Works, where he pursues his passion for restored and rebuilt cars.  John McLeod showed particular promise and passion; after John identified a niche business, Mike purchased Classic Instruments with the intent to sell it to John after three years.  He did, and many years later, Classic Instruments is a successful, growing business in Boyne City.  “And a charitable one, too,” notes Mike.


The Stowe’s history with the Community Foundation dates back to around the time they moved to the area and to the very beginning of the organization: Mike was a founding director and went on to serve as Board Chair for two years – 9 years in all.  When asked why they have chosen to give through the Community Foundation to support Boyne City and Charlevoix County, Ralph’s answer is simple: “it’s our home”.  They also love the people here and the relaxed, down-to-earth attitude in Boyne City.  The Stowes have had a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation for their personal philanthropy for years.  “You know, I think I get more from giving than from earning,” says Mike.  “And I trust the Community Foundation to help us with that giving.  They know where to put the dollars in the community and how to manage their own expenses,” he explains.  Just recently, Mike and Ralph shared that they have also included the Community Foundation in their estate plan.  It seems fitting that this committed couple will establish the Stowe Family Fund for Boyne City so that their legacy will continue in this place they have made their home.