Charles Johnson "Charlie" Lowry Sr., 92, Bristol, TN
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Charles Johnson "Charlie" Lowry Sr., 92, passed away Sunday, Feb. 17.
His faith in Christ defined his character and influenced every aspect of his personal and professional life. He founded the Charles J. Lowry Agency Inc. and the TCI Group Lowry & Foster Inc., and worked in real estate throughout the Tri-Cities area for over 50 years. The statement "Christ is the Answer," which appeared on his stationery, gave witness to his faith in his every transaction throughout those years.
Charlie was born on April 30, 1915, in Green Springs, Va., to Robert Keller and Bessie Ritchie Lowry. He graduated from Cleveland High School and attended Abingdon Business College. His desire to travel led him to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1933 at 19 and his traveling adventures began in earnest when he was sent to Peiping (Beijing), China, where he served with the Embassy American Guard 1936-38. He was there when the Japanese occupied the country and loved to tell of his adventures during this time. He returned to China in 1945 during a second tour with the Marines and was called to active duty a third time in 1950. He was proud of being a Marine and the discipline he learned stayed with him for the rest of his life.
When Charlie returned to Bristol he worked for Armour & Co. until he joined the Bristol Virginia Police Department in 1940 . He enjoyed police work, especially the investigative and identification aspects. He graduated from the FBI National Police Academy in Washington, D.C., in 1942 and afterward corresponded on a long-term basis with J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, regarding security issues. In 1942-43, Universal Molded Products Corp. requested his services to develop their protective force at their Bristol Aircraft Division, and he took leave from the police force. Later, he was asked to participate in developing the security force at the government's new facility at Oak Ridge, Tenn., but rejected the offer since he did not want to leave Bristol. In 1952, he performed a similar function when he briefly took leave from his real estate business to accept a position with the Sperry Farragut Corp. as its security manager, with responsibility for setting up their security force.
Charles Lowry was a visionary and a professional. In 1946, he began his real estate career and over the next 50-plus years he developed 29 subdivisions and 54 commercial and industrial sites on both sides of Bristol. He helped found the Bristol Board of Realtors in 1948, served twice as president and was the recipient of its first "Realtor of the Year" award in 1957, again in 1968 and in 2003. Just last month, the Bristol Tennessee/Virginia Association of Realtors inducted him into their Hall of Fame. In 1996, the mayors of Bristol Virginia and Tennessee proclaimed April 12 "Charles J. Lowry Sr. Day" in recognition of his decision to dedicate his life to service to the community in both his business and volunteer capacities. He was a member of the Virginia and Tennessee State Realtors Associations, the National Association of Realtors, the Bristol Home Builders Association, the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, and the International Real Estate Federation. He was respected by his peers and an advisor for many who were just starting out in the business.
He was equally active in his community and was presented with the Distinguished Service Award and named Bristol's "Young Man of the Year" for 1949 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was a member and past director of the Chamber of Commerce and active in many other civic organizations. Charlie enjoyed working with young people and was generous with his time. He helped found the Bristol Boys and Girls Club and was a recipient of a Man and Boy Award in 1950. In 2005, the Boys and Girls Club honored him for his 50 years of service. He was a charter member of the Christian Business Men's Association and one of the founders of the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission. He was active in the Bristol Youth for Christ movement and a founding member of the Haggai Institute. He was a charter member of Edgemont Presbyterian Church and for many years active in their youth activities.
His life was not all work. He loved to be with his family, travel and play baseball. Charlie and his wife, Daphne, attended meetings and traveled for fun as often as possible. They spent their 25th anniversary at an Atlanta Braves game. Charlie played with the service team when stationed at Camp Miramar and threw the only no-hitter pitched against the aircraft carrier Yorktown. He sponsored and played with his Charles J. Lowry Real Estate softball team in Bristol and won several city championships. In 1987, at 72, he played on a Parks and Recreation "senior" softball team.
Charlie Lowry was a loving, strong and generous man and will be missed.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Irene Millard "DeeGee" Lowry; stepson, John Vance; his granddaughter's husband, Jens Horn; brother, Robert K. Lowry Jr.; and his parents.
He is survived by his wife, Daphne Marshall Vance Lowry; his children by his first marriage, Holly McReynolds Chaffee and her husband Arthur Wolf and Charles J. "Johnny" Lowry Jr. and his wife Angeline Lowry; stepdaughter, Amy Vance and her husband H.B. Beverly; grandchildren, Jack McReynolds and his wife Valerie Connaughton, Charles J. "Chuck" Lowry III and his wife Twyla Lowry, Marika Kimerer and her husband Jeffrey Kimerer, Elizabeth Horn, George Lowry and his wife Shirley Lowry and Nancy Boubaker and her husband Naoufel Boubaker; stepgrandchildren, Ryan Vance, Sarah Vance, David Branson, Kristy Branson and Nicholas Branson; and 14 great-grandchildren. Other survivors include many relatives in the Lowry, Marshall, Millard and Vance families.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Oakley-Cook Funeral Home. The funeral service will be conducted Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 3:30 p.m. at Edgemont Presbyterian Church, with the Rev. Larry Stallard and the Rev. Morse Up De Graff officiating. Graveside services will be private.
Pallbearers will be Keith Foster, Wiley Webb, George Bell, Jim Anderson, Grady Hensley, Elvin Bolling, Bob Harrison and Ben Talley. Honorary pall bearers are R.K. "Bobby" Lowry III, Kenny Thacker, Herbert Peters, the Edgemont Presbyterian Church Session and all grandsons and stepgrandsons.
The family wishes to express special appreciation to his caregivers, Pat McGlocklin, Tina Phillips Jolee Ramsey and Jordan Hammond and to the all the staff at Hospice House.
Flowers or contributions to Edgemont Presbyterian Church, the Boys and Girls Club, Haven of Rest Rescue Mission and Wellmont Hospice will be appreciated.
Mr. Lowry and his family are in the care of Oakley-Cook Funeral Home.
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