Making a Difference
The value of life can be measured in many different, yet profound ways. The life of Hazel Lowry was consumed with a rich value to her God, her family, her friends and her employers that today remain somewhat indescribable and difficult to put into words.
“Our grandmother was not the traditional modern feminist – she was not a wall-street broker, breaking down barriers or shattering glass ceilings,” said Hazel’s granddaughter, Paula Deemer.
She was born Hazel Marie Sandlin in Gays Creek, Ky., in 1913 (Perry County, near what is now known as Buckhorn Lake) and grew up attending Riverside School and the local Baptist Church in Chavies, Ky. She attended Berea College before she and her parents relocated to Scott County, Ind., in the early 1930’s, settling in Johnson Township near the Sunnyside School. A few years later she met her husband, Lowell L. Lowry, Sr.; they were married in 1937. She was a housewife, doing all the motherly things from canning vegetables in the summer to sewing and making clothes for her three children, of which many shirts and skirts were made from feed sack material from the local feed mill in near-by Deputy. After her children were teenagers, she worked at the Scott County Auditor’s office as a secretary, the Scott County Welfare Department as an assistant to the director, and at Scott County School District 2 as the junior high principal’s secretary until her retirement in 1985.
At the age of 57 Hazel became a widow after 33 years of marriage. For the next 14 years she continued to live on the farm, moving from the Sunnyside area after her husband’s death to Double-Or-Nothing Road when eminent domain took the Sunnyside farm for the Lake Hardy project. She never asked for much help but continued to work her job, tend her own garden, and continued to drive back to her home church, Alpha Baptist, each Sunday for worship and Vacation Bible School. She was treasurer of the church for many years and a member of the Women’s Mission group.
“She loved her family and friends and enjoyed the company of many,” shared her children, Patsy, L.L. and E.E. “There was never a time that she related that she was ever really afraid of much of anything, or that there was anything in her daily life that she felt like she couldn’t do. She had some help in cutting grass and tending to some tasks, but by and large she was a modern, independent woman, blazing a trail unprecedented by women of her generation. And this is how we knew her…amazingly independent and always so loving, kind and thankful for everything she had and for anything anyone would ever do for her.”
“As she aged, she did it so gracefully…moving to town, retiring from her job, accepting with pride each chapter of her life as she entered and left it,” said her children. “The impact that she left with those individuals in each chapter and the values she exemplified in her lifetime is an example of what a strong woman can be in this world – all by herself while carrying the responsibilities of a caring mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, a loving aunt to many and a dear friend to all.”
There are many happy memories of her long, beautiful and extraordinary 97-year life. Many of those memories and stories were shared at her 80th birthday celebration in February 1993 where over 100 friends and family members came together at the Alpha Baptist Church to honor her. Then on her 95th birthday, family members contributed writings to a book in her honor of favorite memories and thoughts stretching from her deviled eggs and oatmeal cake recipes to teaching grandchildren how to crochet along with her favorite sayings and memories mostly related to her not being fearful of what may lie ahead, but of her continually being the ‘Captain who calmed the ship.’ On Nov. 20, 2010, there were over 160 people in attendance at her ‘Celebration of Life’ service memorializing her life.
As a young mother she taught her children to work, not by requiring much from them but by working hand in hand with diligence herself along beside them.
“She always sang as she worked and during the early summer morning hours you could find her hoeing the garden and that was after she had milked the cows and cooked a big breakfast – later in the day she would possibly go blackberry picking or attending to other chores,” said her daughter Patsy. “She never seemed to get tired or weary and worked overtime being sure that her three children were treated equally. She was so easily pleased which made being around her such a joy. She always put her children first, fried a chicken every Sunday, passing the platter around to all others before helping herself and pretending she preferred the wing. In her lifetime she saw the world develop from when the Titanic sailed – and sank – to the fast-paced computer age, and she aged along with and accepted the change so gracefully sometimes asking, ‘What does all this www.com stuff mean on TV?’”
“Faithful, genuine, sincere – one of a kind to say the least….loyal, trustworthy and honest to her many friends, this is just who she was,” said her son, E.E.
Hazel’s family has established a fund in her memory in the Scott County Community Foundation’s Forever Tree Society. The memorial and tribute program allows donors to support the mission of the Community Foundation now and for generations to come. The Community Foundation also has a few thousand dollars remaining for donations in its dollar-for-dollar matching program.
It is the wish of her family that the inspiration of Hazel Marie Sandlin Lowry continue to bless the many lives she has touched and may the contributions to her memorial funds provide assistance to those in the years to come as she would have wanted it to be.