… described as
“a woman of substance”
The “Celebration of Life” for Evelyn Gibson Lowery begin on Monday, Sept. 30 where she laid in state from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta, GA; Ivy Beyond the Wall was held on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m. at Davage Auditorium (Haven-Warren Hall), Atlanta, GA; culminating with funeral services on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 11:00 a.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA.
The final celebration was a most notable occasion, with tributes given by: Hon. Kasiim Reed, Mayor, City of Atlanta; Cicely Tyson, actress; (Amb) Thandi Kuthuli Geabashe, Durban, South Africa; Rev. Al Sharpton, founder/president, National Action Network; and Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States. With the sermon by Bishop Woodie W. White, Bishop in Residence, Emory University; Board Chair, The Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights at Clark Atlanta University.
Some of the persons included as honory pallbearers were: Ralph Abernathy, Bernice A. King, Martin Luther King, III, John Lewis, Jesse Jackson, Sr., C.T. Vivian, and Andrew Young, Active Pall Bearers were the Lowery grandchildren and the active Flower Bearers were: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., and Cascade UMC Celebration of Life.
Mrs. Lowery was born in Wichita, Kansas, February 16, 1925, to the Rev. (Dr.) Harry B. Gibson and Mrs. Evelyn Gibson. Her parents were involved in the life of the Methodist Church, civic and community organizations. Because her father had also served as president of the Memphis, TN NAACP, she was introduced to social activism while in her teens.
She attended Youngstown University and Clark College, where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Following graduation her plan was to become a social worker.
The young Gibson was introduced to a young man –who would later be mentored by her father — by her younger sister. That young man was Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery. The two were married May 5, 1946.
It appears that her social work became her ministry, as a pastors wife of one who pastored Warren Methodist, Mobile, AL; Central United Methodist for 18 years and Cascade United Methodist for six years in Atlanta, GA. Testimony has come from many that she was “a woman of noble character who worked tirelessly in support of her family.”
Mrs. Lowery worked in the movement for justice and civil rights along side her husband. Because she understood that many times the contributions of women, in the movement, often went unnoticed, she set her sites towards that problem, following Dr. Lowery’s election as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
In 1979, Mrs. Lowery, passionate about the issues impacting women and children, summoned a group of woman to her home. From that gathering, the SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. (Women Organizational Movement for Equality Now) was born. The not for profit organization is not worldwide with members from different denominations; and excepting girls and women of any race, nationality, or culture. Mrs. Lowery served as national convener until her death.
Recently, aware of disparaging health issues affecting African Americans, Mrs. Lowery began to address the issues of AIDS/HIV education. In addition to conferences to educate the African American community on AIDS, she spearheaded the development of sermons, litanies, and other aids for the religious community.
Mrs. Lowery transitioned this life on September 26, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery; her daughters, Yvonne Lowery Kennedy; Karen Gale Lowery, Cheryl Jo Lowery, a sister, Geraldine Gibson Bynum (husband, Claude), 8 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.