Ralph Lowell chose to pursue a career in banking and finance, as his family had a long history in business and banking in Boston. He eventually became president of the Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company. And in 1955, Ralph received an LL.D. from Bates College.
Ralph was appointed as the sole Trustee of the Lowell Institute, in 1943, upon the death of his cousin, Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell. Lowell would serve as Trustee of the Lowell Institute for the rest of his life and named his son, John Lowell, to succeed him.
"In 1973, Lowell was one of seven citizens officially recognized as 'Grand Bostonians' for lives that 'mirrored the spirit and dignity that have made Boston and its people so extraordinary.' The years of Lowell's philanthropic and civic works paralleled significant transformations in the political, social, and cultural landscape of Boston, and his remarkable achievements reflect his key role in the making of a 'New Boston' during the mid-twentieth century." (Gelfand 1998)
Ralph Lowell died in Boston on May 15, 1978, of pneumonia at the age of eighty-seven and was buried in the Old Westwood Cemetery in Westwood, Massachusetts.