Eric M. Lowery, a leader of the effort to erect a statue of Frederick Douglass on the Talbot County Courthouse grounds, died of complications of cancer and pneumonia May 12 at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton. The former Baltimore resident was 71.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Madison Lowery, a civilian Army employee at Fort Meade, and his wife, Irene. He was a 1966 graduate of Baltimore City College and studied computer science at the Community College of Baltimore County. He served in the Army and attended its School of Data Processing.
Mr. Lowery was assigned to Vietnam in 1968 to 1969. He was awarded a Bronze Star. He later served in the Army Reserve and left military service in 1990.
In 1969 he became a Baltimore Department of Public Works land surveyor. He was later a computer technician and programmer analyst.
He lived for many years in the Moravia section of Northeast Baltimore and was a member of St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church.
“Eric and I moved to Easton in 1998 and he immersed himself into the culture and life of the Eastern Shore,” said wife, Harriette Whaley Lowery. “He was a veteran of the Vietnam War who lived with post-traumatic stress syndrome. We were looking for a quiet, peaceful and slower pace of life. He also wanted to embrace the community and try to make a difference.”
In 2008, he began to speak with others who were willing to work to honor Talbot County’s famous native son, Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and social reformer, with a statue on the lawn of the courthouse.
In 2009, Mr. Lowery became the president and a primary advocate for the Frederick Douglass Honor Society.
On June 18, 2011, the statue was unveiled in the presence of hundreds of gatherers, including then-Gov. Martin O’Malley.
His wife said the placement on the court house lawn was appropriate. Slaves were once sold at the spot.
In 2014, Mr. Lowery sought a seat on the Talbot County Council.
“Coming to the Eastern Shore really opened my husband’s full potential,” his wife said. "Eric saw the lack of diversity on the council and in different areas of the community and wanted to make a difference. With the support and encouragement of others, he ran on the platform of preserving the environment and supporting educational opportunities for the youth.
“He lost the election, but his campaign made an impact by the number of people who voted in that election.”
From 2002 until this year Mr. Lowery worked at Chesapeake College as a technology support analyst, computer programming instructor, and instructor of motorcycle safety and driving.
Mr. Lowery enjoyed sports and was a Ravens season-ticket holder. He fished, bowled, did photography and was a member of the Buffalo Soldiers Cavalry Scouts motorcycle club.
Mr. Lowery was a member of the Talbot County NAACP. He was a lifetime member and vice president of Chapter 648 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
He was a member of Blake-Blackston American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a former board member of the Choptank Habitat For Humanity. He had served on the board of Historic Easton Inc. and was a former member of the Talbot County Historical Preservation Commission.
Mr. Lowery’s other memberships included the Maryland Democratic Central Committee, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area.
Survivors include his wife of 46 years, a Chesapeake College first-year student coordinator; his mother, of Easton; a son, Bomani Lowery of Abingdon; two sisters, Rhonda Crosby of Westfield, Massachusetts, and Sharon Thomas of Baltimore; a special aunt, Laura Myrtle Richards; and two grandsons.
A service of remembrance will be held at the March Life Tribute Center in Randallstown at a later date.