Mrs. Mary-Rose Lowry, 91

Mary-Rose Lowry died of congestive heart failure on December 11, 2018.  It was six weeks before her 92nd birthday.  Her remains were cremated and will be interred with those of her husband Bernard (Bernie) at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado at a later date.

Mary-Rose was born and raised in Akron, Ohio.  She was a first-generation American, the daughter of immigrants whose families fled central Europe to escape the impending violence of World War I.  After completing high school, she attended the University of Akron and graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  At the time, fewer than 5% of American women held college degrees.

At the University of Akron, Mary-Rose met and married Bernie Lowry.  He was her husband and best friend until he died 63 years later, in 2012. 

Mary-Rose began her teaching career in Akron.  She transferred to the Dayton, Ohio school system when Bernie took a position as a civilian engineer with the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  When her son was born, she paused her career for 12 years to raise him and two daughters until the youngest was in school.  She then returned to the first-grade classroom in the Kettering, Ohio school system and pursued her passion of teaching children to read.  Its importance to her was expressed in the saying, “Children spend three years learning to read and the rest of their lives reading to learn.”

As a life-long learner herself, Mary-Rose took a sabbatical in 1975 to attend the University of Dayton, earning a master’s degree in education with a specialization in counseling.  She rejoined the Kettering school system and served as an elementary school counselor, assisting children and their families with situations ranging from inadequate reading readiness to the death of close relatives.  After her retirement, Mary-Rose continued to counsel family and friends, both informally and through the Stephen Ministries program.

After retiring in 1983, Mary-Rose and Bernie moved to rural upstate South Carolina, where they built and lived in their dream house on Lake Hartwell for nearly 25 years.  They were delighted when Mary-Rose’s brother Paul and his wife Gloria retired and built on the adjoining lot.

Serving as a Stephen Minister was only one aspect of Mary-Rose’s lifetime of volunteerism.  She was active in the church in every community where she lived and sang in her church choir from childhood until her late 70s.  At various times, she also served as a church deaconess and Sunday school teacher, and as a member and officer of the Beaverdam Baptist Association in South Carolina.  She help found the Oconee (SC) Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and was active in it as an officer or member for 20 years.  Some of her other volunteer organizations included the League of Women Voters, Girl Scouts USA, Gideons International, and Hall County School District, where her tutoring for several years assisted the successful mainstreaming of special needs children.

Mary-Rose and Bernie began their many years of family tent camping on a deserted island in an Ontario, Canada lake the summer they were married.  With their dedication to learning and discovery, vacations with their children focused on month-long camping trips across the nation to numerous historical sites, national parks and monuments, and centers of government.  Retirement gave them more time for travel, adventure, and exploring both in the U.S. and multiple European countries, where their focus was museums, cathedrals, and ancient castle sites.  Lengthy, guided horseback trips into wilderness areas of New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana contrasted with immersion in urban and small-town cultures while visiting communities from Port Townsend WA to Narragansett Bay RI and Los Angeles CA to Daytona Beach FL.

Mary-Rose and Bernie moved into Lanier Village Estates (LVE) in May 2005, joined First Baptist Church, and took an active part in local activities and lots more trips.  These included regular trips to Colorado to visit their children.  There, Mary-Rose’s activities ranged from house- and pet-sitting during the kids’ vacations to joining in monitoring of the nesting success of bald eagles.  She also stayed active in numerous governing, religious, and social activities at LVE, including assisting the chaplain and at least weekly games of bridge and mahjongg. 

Mary-Rose was predeceased by her husband Bernie, her parents Paul and Mary Gauder, and her brother Paul Gauder.  She is survived by her son Scott Lowry (Megan) in Denver, Colorado; daughters Janet Snyder (Bruce) in Golden, Colorado and Julianna Williams (Robert) in Fort Lupton, Colorado; two grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Mary-Rose requested that, in lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland MT, the Gainesville GA First Baptist Church, the Trust for Public Land, or the charity of your choice.

A celebration of Mary-Rose’s life will be at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, January 5, 2019 in the chapel and auditorium of her home at Lanier Village Estates.  The address is 4000 Village View Drive, Gainesville, GA 30506.  This will be a time to engage in singing, remembering, and praying with Rev. Bruce Fields of First Baptist Church and LVE chaplain Rev. H.W. “Duke” Walker.

Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA  30504 is in charge of arrangements.

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