FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 1996; 9:30
Helen Lowry, mother of Gov. Mike Lowry,
OLYMPIA -- Helen Mary Lowry,
mother of Gov. Mike Lowry, passed away tonight at her residence
in Olympia. She died peacefully at 6:31 p.m. of kidney disease
at the age of 82. Both Gov. Lowry and his sister, Sue Ellen,
were at her bedside.
Mrs. Lowry was born Oct. 21, 1913 in St. John in Whitman County
where her family originally homesteaded in 1882.
She married Robert Mitchell Lowry in 1933, and they lived in Endicott,
also in Whitman County. Robert and Helen were married for 58
years, until Robert's death in 1991, also at the age of 82.
The Lowrys had three children: Mike Lowry, Sue Ellen Lowry (Hibchman)
of Bethesda, MD, and Beth Lowry Vertrees, who died in 1990.
While she was still caring for her youngest children, Helen Lowry
entered college at the age of 47 and graduated from Washington
State University (the alma mater of her three children) with a
major in education in 1966. She taught elementary school at LaCrosse
School (16 miles southwest of Endicott) for 10 years.
In 1976, she and her family moved to Kettle Falls in Stevens County,
and she continued to do substitute teaching at area schools.
"My mother was a wonderful person who I loved very much,"
Lowry said. "She was an excellent person, a loving mother
and I'm very grateful for the tremendous life she had."
Lowry recalled that it was very unusual for a 47-year old woman
to enter college in the mid-1960's but that his mother did it
and she did it with great success. "She was an excellent
teacher and respected by everyone around her ."
"The passing away of both of our parents signals the passing
of the pioneer generation," Sue Ellen Lowry said. "My
mother's father walked with a wagon train from California to homestead
in eastern Washington and my father arrived on an immigrant train
from Missouri at the age of four. They both lived in a different
time that really shaped them."
Mrs. Lowry moved to Olympia in mid-1993 and lived with her son
and his family in the Executive Mansion. She later entered Olympics
West retirement home in Tumwater.
Mrs. Lowry is survived by two sisters, Jean Repp of Spokane and
Edris Bonnadelli of Moscow, Idaho; four grandchildren, Diane Lowry
of Renton, Matthew Hibchman of Bethesda, MD, and Ann Vertrees
and Keith Vertrees; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 20, in Spokane at a location to be announced. In lieu of flowers, the governor and his sister request that any donations or gifts be sent to the Union Gospel Mission or the Salvation Army in Spokane.
For more information, please call the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.