Evelyn Lowery dies from stroke-related complications

5:23 AM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Evelyn Lowery, wife of civil rights leader Dr. Joseph Lowery, died Thursday morning. Mrs. Lowery suffered a massive stroke last weekend. She was 88.

MORE | Evelyn Lowery dies from stroke-related complications

Arrangements for services for Mrs. Lowery were announced Friday afternoon.

There will be a public viewing at Cascade United Methodist Church, 3144 Cascade Road from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday. A second viewing will take place Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. The Homegoing Celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, also at the King Chapel on the Morehouse campus.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made payable to either SCLC/Women, Inc., Evelyn G. Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Educational Tour, 328 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303 -- or -- Joseph E. Lowery Institute, PO Box 92801, Atlanta, GA 30314.

The Lowery family said Wednesday doctors told them damage from the stroke was "irreversible" and had brought her home from the hospital.

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The Lowery family released a statement Thursday morning:

In the early hours of the morning, surrounded by her family and husband of close to 70 years, Mrs. Evelyn Gibson Lowery made her transition in the comforts of her home. Having suffered irreversible damages after experiencing a severe stroke on last Wednesday evening, Mrs. Lowery returned home on last evening, having been under the constant care of medical experts at a local Atlanta hospital. After having received guidance from the medical experts that there was nothing more medically that they could do, the Lowery family returned their beloved Evelyn home to peacefully rest around those she loved.

"My beloved Evelyn was a special woman, whose life was committed to service, especially around the issues of empowering women. She was a wonderful mother and wife and I thank God that she didn't suffer any pain and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidant and my best friend for close to 70 years. I will miss her each and every day, but as a man of faith, I know that she is with her God," stated Rev. Lowery. "My entire family has been overwhelmed by the continuous outpourings of love, support and prayers that have come from across the country and we ask for your continued prayers over the next few days."

Mrs. Lowery was the founder of S.C.L.C. Women, Inc. the sister organization to the historic civil rights organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the creator of the annual Drum Major of Justice Awards that is held annually in April in Atlanta, GA. Funeral announcements are yet to be announced.

In a statement Thursday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed celebrated Mrs. Lowery's life, calling her a champion for human rights.

"On behalf of the City of Atlanta, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Rev. Joseph Lowery. Today we remember Mrs. Evelyn Lowery, a remarkable woman in her own right, who dedicated her life to promoting equality, liberty and justice for all people. We are all a direct beneficiary of her sacrifice, service and work as a champion for human rights. Her legacy will continue to encourage many individuals, like me, to live with integrity, pride, courage and faith."

Rev. Bernice King, CEO of the King Center, released a statement regarding Mrs. Lowery's death Thursday afternoon:

"I am deeply saddened by the death of Mrs. Evelyn Gibson Lowery, and my heart goes out to her husband, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and their three daughters, Yvonne Kennedy, Karen Lowery and Cheryl Lowery-Osborne. We are never prepared to say "goodbye" to a loved one.

"Evelyn Lowery was not only the beloved wife and active partner of one of America's greatest civil rights leaders, but one of the most admired and respected veterans of the American Civil Rights Movement. She was a dedicated and energetic leader in her own right. As founder and chair of SCLC/Women, Mrs. Lowery provided tireless leadership to empower women, protect and educate children and nurture families. She further led the way to making a difference in the world by establishing the Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner, the Evelyn G. Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour, and the Bridging the Gap -Girls to Women Mentoring Program.

"The King Center joins the civil rights community in mourning the loss of our dear sister, Mrs. Evelyn G. Lowery. But we celebrate her life as a good and faithful servant of God and humanity, whose indelible contributions will continue to inspire us as we carry forward the struggle into the future." 

Evelyn Gibson Lowery was born February 16, 1925 in Memphis to the Rev. and Mrs. Harry Gibson. Her father was a major presence as president of the local chapter of the NAACP. Before the age of 18, young Evelyn committed herself toward a future of working for the future of those around her.

On May 5, 1946, she joined her life with that of Rev. Joseph Lowery as the two of them began their long and loving marriage.

In 1979, seeing a special need for women and families, Mrs. Lowery formed SCLC/Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now as an offshoot of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

In 1980, she founded the Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner. In 1987, Mrs. Lowery founded the Evelyn G. Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour, a two-day motor coach tour across Alabama.

In 1995, she created the Bridging the Gap - Girls to Women mentoring program. Later that year, she led to the purchase and renovation of the historic Tabor Building on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, which now houses the offices and resources of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N, Inc.

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