Edward Bennett Lowry, 78, of Charlottesville, VA, died peacefully at home with his family by his side on December 6, 2023. He was born in Washington, DC, in 1945 to Albert Griffiths Lowry and Alice Dinsmore Lowry. He grew up in Alexandria, VA, where he met the love of his life, Carolyn Ann Petitt, in 5th grade. The two attended school and church together. Their parents saw a glimpse into their future when they participated in a mock wedding at a church event. They ultimately began dating the summer after their sophomore year at Mount Vernon High School. Their yearbook quotes, “Carolyn Petitt and Ed Lowry were obviously selected as the most PERFECT COUPLE in the Senior Class.” The two were married August 20, 1966, in Alexandria, VA. They later welcomed children Joshua, Megan, and Molly, though his favorite role may have been as “Poppy” to his beloved grandchildren.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Albert G. and Alice Lowry, his brother, Albert D. Lowry, and is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and children, Joshua (Leslie) Lowry and grandson Isaac, Megan (Chris) Buczkowski and step-granddaughters Audriana and Elaina and grandson Matthew, and Molly (Clint) Shifflett and granddaughter Isabella and step-grandchildren Kendall and Landon.
After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1971, Ed spent his entire half-century career with the Charlottesville law firm of MichieHamlett. He was beloved by all who worked at the firm as a trusted mentor and exemplary role model.
While his intellectual curiosity and talents challenged him to pursue cases in many disciplines of the law, Ed was preeminent in the fields of commercial transactions and negotiations and an unparalleled trial attorney. His sense of justice often led him to devote his talents to the underdog, the underprivileged and the under-represented members of the community.
His service to the legal profession was also a lifetime commitment. Ed served as President of the Virginia State Bar, served as co-chair of the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents, and was President of the Charlottesville Albemarle Bar Association. His professional accolades include his inclusion as a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Bar Foundation, and the Virginia Law Foundation. He was an adjunct professor at UVA Law School where he taught a trial advocacy class and was a frequent lecturer for the Virginia State Bar at numerous Continuing Legal Education seminars. Ed generously dedicated his time and expertise to countless community endeavors, charitable concerns, and pro bono activities with the Building Goodness Foundation, PACEM, Love, Inc., and as a Board Member of the Ronald McDonald House to name a few. Most significantly, he served as a Board Member for the Legal Aid Justice Center and was passionate about the years spent supporting the organization and community through countless Pro Bono initiatives.
Ed’s remarkable accomplishments and accolades only partly capture his enormous contributions to the legal profession and his lifetime commitment to the pursuit of justice. Ed’s colleagues---in his firm, in the local bar, and across the state—revered him as the epitome of a “counselor at law.” Ed exemplified all the qualities that phrase encompasses—wisdom, judgment, honesty, empathy, patience, and compassion. Anyone facing a difficult legal issue, a delicate ethical dilemma, or a trying personal matter sought Ed’s sage advice. Ed was known for being unflappably calm in times of perceived crisis, and for his ability to empathize while still offering clear-headed analysis and guidance. His office door was always open, and he willingly and graciously devoted his valuable time to ease others’ burdens.
Ed’s Christian faith was evident to those who met him, whether in the courtroom, at social events or through his interactions with those with whom he met and cultivated friendships. His commitment to and involvement in University Baptist Church (UBC) was impressive by any standard. Ed’s quiet and objective way of solving problems made him a “go-to person” when important theological, administrative, or staffing decisions needed to be made. Ed was a natural-born leader, rarely seeking the role due to his unassuming nature but always ending up there anyway simply by leading by example. During his membership at UBC, Ed taught Sunday School and chaired or served on virtually all its committees and councils. Of all the many rolls at UBC, Ed was most proud of having been elected a deacon for over 25 years. Ed’s skills as an administrator and leader were also recognized by the church as evidenced by his many roles as church moderator, chair of church council, chair of deacons, parliamentarian, trustee, and his leadership and participation on several important ministerial search committees.
Ed loved music, and singing bass in the church choir was one of his passions. Choir members would periodically seek him out and stand close to him when they did not know their music since Ed was a quick learner and proved to be a great teacher, even as he sang. Members of the congregation loved to watch Ed beam with pride as Carolyn superbly sang solos during worship services.
Always taking a high road, and consistent with his legal career, Ed was a strong proponent of equity, diversity, and inclusion at work, in his community, and at his church. Despite his many natural talents and senior positions of leadership in the church, Ed was a humble man who lived by and practiced the Christian tenants in which he believed. Ed’s spiritual life can best be summarized by a statement he once made… “Through every phase of my life, the members of the church have nurtured me, corrected me, encouraged me and upheld me. Every important event has been shared with and either celebrated by or mourned with the people of God around me.”
In his free time, Ed enjoyed many hobbies. He was known for sketching pictures just about everywhere he went, of colleagues at firm meetings, adversaries and judges at trial, and congregational members while sitting in the choir loft at church. He loved all types of music, painting, writing poetry, maintaining travel journals, researching family history, completing crossword puzzles, and spending countless hours at his workbench making canes.
He loved to laugh, and loved his family and friends more than anything, often stating that love is what life is all about. In his final days he said, “I’ve lived a charmed life. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Ed’s family gives its heartfelt thanks to Samuel A. Florescu, D.O., Deborah Okyere, AG-ACNP and the staff of UVA Hospital; Garrett Hickmon and Stephanie Marlowe of Interim Health; and the staffs of Encompass Health; Trove Home Health, and Heartland Hospice for their support and guidance.
A memorial service will be held on January 13, 2024 at 11:00 a.m., at University Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to University Baptist Church or the Legal Aid Justice Center.
Condolences may be shared with his family on the Tribute Wall.