Jimmie Reese Lowry

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jimmie Reese Lowry of High Point, N.C., after fighting a courageous battle with cancer, died on June 13, 2010 at Hospice of the Piedmont. He was 65 years old.

He was born in 1944 in Lumberton, N.C., the first of four sons to Harvey and Myrtle Lowry.&bsp; After receiving what he would later term a priceless education both in the classroom and in the cotton fields of Robeson County, he matriculated at North Carolina State University, where he graduated with honors with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering. Before graduating, he married his high school sweetheart, Phyllis Ann Locklear, of Pembroke, N.C., in 1964.

After graduating, he and his wife moved to Marietta, Georgia in 1966, where he began his career as an Aircraft Research Engineer with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Though he enjoyed the challenging nature of his work, his interest in the pursuit of other opportunities never waned, and culminated in his hiring by General Electric in 1969. Though his background and expertise were technical, he quickly immersed himself in GEs corporate ethos and was identified as a rising star in the company. By 1973 he was GEs district sales manager for North and South Carolina.

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Always interested in owning his own business, when an opportunity at a small dealership in Tryon presented itself, he and his family made the difficult decision to leave GE and move to Tryon.&bsp; There he became dealer/owner of Lowry Chevrolet, Inc., from 1977-1987. From 1982-1983, he also served as state purchasing officer under Governor Jim Hunt. In 1987, at the request of High Point businessman George Lyles, he became vice president/general manager of the Lyles Companies.&bsp; In 1992, he became owner/president of Lowry Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac-Chevrolet-Geo, Inc., in Thomasville, N.C.&bsp; In 1998, he became president of High Point Chevrolet Jeep, LLC.&bsp;&bsp; No longer an owner after 2002, he spent his remaining years as an automotive consultant.

Leaving the automobile business allowed Jim to devote more time to other endeavors which were of tremendous personal importance. In 2001, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He was elected chairman of the board in 2006.&bsp; His involvement with the board served as a time of exceptional growth and experience, not only in terms of his edification, but in terms of his contributions to the board and the establishment of particularly significant relationships with other members of the board. He approached his tenure in this capacity with the same zeal with which he approached every challenge, and he cherished his opportunity to play even a small role in helping the Federal Reserve shape monetary policy.

Jim also was able to devote more time to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. As a proud member of the tribe, he cared deeply about its members, and particularly the people of Robeson County.&bsp; Upon his appointment by Judge Howard Manning as chairman of the Lumbee Self-Determination Commission, he played an integral role in the establishment of a tribal constitution. With the mechanisms of a tribal government more formally established, he then turned his attention to issues of great importance to the tribe, including federal recognition and economic development/empowerment. &bsp;

Recognition of his leadership came in the form of a number of appointments and awards: chairman of the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs (1977-1984); member of the North Carolina State University Board of Visitors; member of the General Motors Minority Dealer Advisory Council; member of the Wachovia Bank & Trust Advisory Board, High Point, NC; Lifetime Achievement Award by the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association; Distinguished Service Award by the Lumbee Regional Development Association; The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, awarded by Governor Jim Hunt in 1981; and The Order of the Old North State, awarded by Governor Beverly Eaves Perdue in June, 2010.

However, Jims life was never about personal enrichment or personal gainit was always about the passionate practice of selfless service. He never turned away from an opportunity to help other people, and felt it was his duty to give more than was asked of him. His love for and commitment to Covenant United Methodist Church, Tryon United Methodist Church, his career, his friends, and his charitable and civic responsibilities were superseded only by his love for and commitment to his family.&bsp; At times an impassioned leader, at times a stoic sage dispensing advice when his counsel was solicited, he held steadfast to one guiding tenet of his life: Putting the interests and needs of others before his own. &bsp;

Family and friends alike will remember a man who cared deeply about the people of Robeson County; a man who loved and served God with all his heart; a man who couldnt hide the sparkle in his eye the first time he saw his granddaughter ride her bike, or the last time he saw his wife of 45 years; a man who loved and cherished his friends, and the people with whom he worked; a man who handled his illness with magnanimity; and a man who saw life not as a series of inexorable obstacles to overcome, but as a series of opportunities to try to enrich the lives of other people.&bsp; For all the reasons he will be so warmly received in his next life are the very reasons he will be so deeply missed in this one.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis Ann Lowry, of High Point; daughter, Jayme Burmeister, and her husband, Paul, of High Point; son, Chad Lowry, of High Point; brother, Robby Lowry, of Rowland, N.C.; brother, Harvey Lowry, Jr., of Maxton, N.C.; and beloved granddaughter, his namesake, Reece MaryAnn Burmeister.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Rev. Dr. Jerry Lowry of Sanford, N.C.; and parents Harvey and Myrtle Lowry of Rowland, N.C.

A private burial for family was held at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Rowland, N.C.

A memorial service honoring his life will be held at Covenant United Methodist Church in High Point, N.C., on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.

The family wishes to express their sincere appreciation for the numerous inquiries and calls of support received during this difficult time. &bsp;

In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Jim Lowrys memory can be made to Hospice of the Piedmont, 1803 West Chester Dr., High Point, N.C. 27265.

McDougald Funeral Home and Crematorium of Laurinburg is serving the family (www.McDougald.com)