Thomas Irvin Lowry

8 septembre 19341 août 2020

Surgeon. Sportsman. Gentleman. Thomas Irvin “Tim” Lowry died August 1, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Tim was born in Laredo to a long line of Lowry physicians. Both of his parents, as well as his grandfather and great-grandfather, were doctors. His father, Dr. Willis Lowry, died when Tim was two and his mother Dr. Ruby South Lowry then began a full-time practice to support the five Lowry children, of whom Tim was the youngest. Growing up in a small community where everyone knew the family he was given a great deal of freedom. His natural tendency was to be outside, ideally hunting or fishing. His older brother Todd was blind and Tim accompanied him on many adventures. Tim had a donkey (appropriately named Ketchup as he was so hard to get going) that he rode around town, no doubt a precursor to his love of horseback riding. As a teen he shared a bond with his sister Mary and he found mentorship and father figures among family friends who shared their love of the outdoors and guidance in all things.

Tim left Laredo at sixteen to enter Baylor University and after graduating in three years he entered Baylor College of Medicine. He received his Doctor of Medicine followed by an internship and residency in orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. College summers were spent working at a resort in Evergreen, Colorado—an experience that sparked his love of the mountains.

His education was interrupted by a period of service in the U.S. Army from 1962-63 when he served in peacetime Korea as the chief of surgery at a MASH hospital. There were only occasional injuries, so he spent a lot of time practicing with the I-Corps pistol team and competing on other bases in Korea and Japan.

After the army, Tim returned to Houston where he completed his residency and was invited by Dr. Paul Harrington, a pioneer in the field of spine surgery and developer of the Harrington rod device, to continue training in corrective spine surgery. He trained for six months under Dr. Harrington and spent three months training in Florence, Italy and Edinburgh, Scotland respectively.

Having completed his fellowship, he settled in Austin in 1967 and began a family with his wife Kathy. He joined Austin Orthopedic Clinic with Dr. Joe Abell, Dr. Jerry Julian and, later, Dr. Laura Flawn. Dr. Lowry was the first orthopedic surgeon in Austin to specialize in deformities of the spine and one of the early members of the international Scoliosis Research Society, where changes in surgical technique were advanced. Tim often said he liked practicing medicine so much he would have done it for nothing, and the success of his practice reflected his commitment to the highest standard of care. He often did pro bono work on children with spina bifida, and he enjoyed improving all of his patients’ quality of life. Trusted and admired by his fellow physicians, he served on the ethics committee for the Travis County Medical Society.

As serious and deliberate as he was, Tim also had a penchant for fun. He enjoyed a good joke and had many up his sleeve (Venir y le digo!). It was his idea to bring a full skeleton home from the office to hang inside the front door to frighten trick or treaters on Halloween, made all the spookier by his deep voice speaking from behind a curtain. He loved Willie Nelson and he was a smooth, if unconventional, dancer. “Pops” elevated skipping rocks and building fires to an art and could play Uno and Operation for endless hours with his grandchildren.

An outdoorsman at heart, Tim was happiest with friends or family on horseback, river rafting, fly casting, or exploring the Sierra Nevada mountains or the Montana countryside, where he found a second home and spent many of his days.

Increasingly over time, the steady hand that held the target pistol and guided the scalpel could be found stabilizing a telephoto lens. Wherever Tim traveled, his camera was with him. He would often start early or come in late so that he could photograph the landscapes and interesting patterns he found along the way. He insisted he was not much of an artist, but all who saw his work could see that he was.

Tim never turned down an opportunity to travel and one of his last and best trips was to Antarctica. Frequent weekends at Middle Creek Ranch with family were treasured, with days spent swimming, fishing, shooting skeet and evening drives up to sunset hill looking for wildlife.

In 2005 he married Ann Turnbull, a partner with whom he shared many joyous times and who took exceptional care of him throughout his long decline.

For many years Tim struggled with dementia and aphasia, diseases that robbed him of memory and speech. Through every stage he carried the grace and dignity that defined his character so that everyone who cared for him found a man who, while altered , still reflected those qualities that endeared him to others in better times. He will always be remembered for his integrity and humanity.

Tim was a mentor to many and a father to three: Maria Lowry; Ben Lowry and his wife Alison (Emma and Helen); Anne Lowry Elton and her husband Jeff (Eva and Owen). In addition, Tim is survived by his wife Ann, siblings Mary Boone Ervin and Stanley Todd Lowry and former wife Katherine Sangster. His family also included Ann’s children Ellen and David Lake (Andrew and Annie), and Bill and Carlotta McLean (William and John Henry). He is preceded in death by his brothers Willis Edwards “Bill” Lowry, III and Ira South “Jack” Lowry.

Dr. Lowry was a member of the Travis County Medical Society, the Scoliosis Research Society, Tarry House, Middle Creek Ranch, University Presbyterian Church and was a former member of the Argyle Club and the Austin Admirals Club.

The family wishes to offer special thanks to the staff at Belmont Village Westlake and Hospice Austin whose kindness and care provided comfort to Tim and his family in his last years.

A virtual service will take place August 10. Memorial contributions may be made to University Presbyterian Church or the charity of one’s choice.

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Thomas Irvin Lowry

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Thomas Irvin Lowry


Judith Bader Jones

4 septembre , 2020

I am from Tim's Troudale in the Pines Days. We were college kids working during the summer. He taught me to Tango, and we shared the wonder of nature in Evergreen, Colorado. Time took us on our separate paths. He was already on his way to helping many. He became a physician. I became a nurse and a poet. I liked reading all of the memories, and rest well to know his life was filled with love and family. Youth offers many gifts. Tim I. Lowry was one of those gifts in my early life. I am so sorry for this loss in the lives today of his wife, Ann and his children and grandchildren. I am glad they have special moments he shared with each one of them.

Bruce Malone

19 août , 2020

Tim was a wonderful surgeon and good man. His remarkable mother was his example, pillar of the community and doctor’s doctor. I worked with Tim for over 28 years. I was the “new guy” on the Medical Executive Committee at Brackenridge , when he was chief of staff. Gentleman is the first word that comes to mind when you thought of Tim. When Laura Flawn came to Austin, I really wanted her to join our group, but then thought “ she needs to be with Tim” . Both of them were great fiends and fellow surgeons. Laura’s tragic death haunted Tim and all the medical community. Godspeed Tim. See you on the other side.

Alex Sheshunoff

14 août , 2020

I knew Dr. Lowry only as the parent of my friend Anne, but he was always kind and thoughtful and sincere, yet also always ready with a wry grin - just the kind of parent figure I'd like to be to my own children's friends as well. He will be missed.

Amin & Michelle Habibnia

13 août , 2020

Ann, we extend our deepest condolences to you and to the broader family as well. We were so grateful to get to partake in Tim's beautiful service this week and to share in the celebration of his life. We cherish having known both of you through UPC and will pray for your continued comfort. Sending you our love, Amin & Michelle.

Natalie Thurman

11 août , 2020

My fondest memory of Uncle Tim is when he took me to shoot skeet for my first time while we were at Middle Creek Ranch. He was a calm, patient teacher with clear direction, which resulted in me shooting better than everyone else there that day (other than him, of course).

Barbara Koepp

10 août , 2020

Dr. Lowry was the surgeon who performed scoliosis surgery on me in June 1991 at Brackenridge Hospital. I really appreciated his consistently warm and caring bedside manner. It was very comforting to me, especially during my 9 day hospital stay. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

John Parker

10 août , 2020

Tim shared Middle Creek Ranch with us for the UPC men's retreat and introduced me to skeet shooting. One evening a few years ago at his home he shared pictures and stories about Patagonia and inspired Suzi and I to go there. He was a giving person and we miss him.
John and Suzi Parker

Jesse and Patti Thompson

10 août , 2020

There are so many great memories I have of Tim, Visiting him at the emergency room at Jeff Davis Hospital on Thanksgiving day, playing basketball in my parent's driveway in loafers wearing out the soles of our shoes, going to reunions at middle Creek Ranch, and putting my brother and me onto a 1960 experience of lifetime, 7 day horseback trip at Doc Campbell's New Mexico ranch in the Gila Wilderness. Jesse Thompson

Danya McIntyre Bogart

10 août , 2020

God Bless to y'all. You now have a forever angel in your corner. By now, I am sure Tim and Mac have rattled up their 'Boone & Crockett' deer. And without empty beer cans. God speed!Danya McIntyre Bogart

Roscoe & Johnnie Overton

10 août , 2020

Ann and Family,
May you find comfort through the love of God and friends, and joy in remembering the life you shared with Tim.