(Editor’s Note–Judge Sam L. Lowery LTC Retired, U.S. Army was born Nov. 8, 1942 and passed away Monday, Mar. 29, 2021 in Baton Rouge. Lowery, who wore many hats as a soldier, teacher lawyer, judge, minister but none meant more to him than husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.)
Sam started his young career writing obituaries for The Advocate newspaper. His whole life he enjoyed the art of the obituary, always taking time to notice the nuances and details of each one (and sometimes disappointed in the lack thereof … oh, if only he had authored it). Somehow his family thought Sam would write his own obituary so he could use his own words, which were always the very best words, to tell the story of his remarkable and interesting life. He started his final heavenly adventure where you could frequently find him – working on a cross word puzzle on Mar. 29th.
Born in 1942 in Goldonna, to Avis and Sammy Lowery, Sam grew up in modest means which would forever shape his life’s perspective. He had a kind heart, a curious mind, and a love of reading. He admittedly didn’t love school, but he loved reading and he loved people. He would go on to graduate from Baton Rouge High where a school counselor was less than encouraging about his potential academic success. That didn’t bother Sam in the least as he intended to see the world. He enrolled at LSU and became a member of the ROTC, which would set him on an incredible journey.
Upon college graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and shortly thereafter served in the Vietnam War. Over the years, his military career would take he and his beloved wife (Krista Perkins Lowery) to twenty-one states in twenty-one years. Their adventures included North Carolina, Kentucky (where daughter Amy Camille was born), Germany (where daughter Sarah Elizabeth was born), New Jersey, Illinois (where Sam earned his Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University Southern Illinois), The United States Military Academy at West Point (where he taught English to bright-eyed cadets and enjoyed hosting them for dinners), and Texas. New York is where he was introduced to and fell in love with art. Sam and Krista made frequent trips to NYC to visit art galleries and museums, and Sam accumulated many artistic posters over the years, many still hanging in their home today.
Although he loved military life, he sensed a new calling and retired at the age of 42 as a Lieutenant Colonel and moved his family back home to Louisiana. He initially thought that teaching high school would be a good second career, but a short stint as a substitute teacher quickly disabused him of that notion. In the fall of 1988, Sam enrolled in the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU in Baton Rouge. Although the family lived mostly apart for the three years, he would regularly escape the grind of law school to return home on weekends and holiday breaks. It was difficult for him to be away from his wife and growing daughters that much, but they persevered through it all and made it work. After graduation, he was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association and became a practicing attorney.
He ultimately found his dream job as a Western Division Judge for the Office of Workers’ Compensation in District Three, situated in Lake Charles. There, Sam thrived. He loved every minute of being a judge, considered it a privilege and honor and never had a case appealed … well maybe just one or perhaps two. It was at the parking lot of this office where he found his beloved dog Sugar who came around to visit and needed a home. As an avid lover of the theatre of politics, he collected political memorabilia over the years and we often joked that his office needed a velvet rope as it had a museum-style feel to it with so much history on the walls.
While living in DeQuincy, he became a Lay Minister in the United Methodist Church. We lost count of how many eulogies he delivered. Because of his world travels, he could deliver a unique and very personal eulogy. And speaking of history, he knew so many things! There was no beating him in Trivia Pursuit, but he also was not that savvy with technology. Many people who accidentally received Face Time calls from Sam can attest to this. He simply said he was “gifted in other areas.”
After retiring again, he and Krista moved again and built their dream retirement home in the heart of Baton Rouge and soon rescued their second beloved dog, Candi. Of late, Sam was spending his days with his amazing green thumb making his yard, new home, and new porch beautiful. He was trying out new restaurants and new bourbons and rums.
He was 100% treasuring his grandsons. He picked up RH from school every week and went to his games. He called Cade every night and they had a ball test driving cars together. He shared his love of history with Ty and they made frequent trips to Best Buy together. He was always running errands or taking care of something for someone. He volunteered at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center visiting with cancer patients and their families and at Baton Rouge Hospice where he performed pinning ceremonies for terminally ill Veterans.
He was always collecting items for his beloved Salvation Army, and for many years he rang the Salvation Army bell at Christmas, greeting every single person with a smile and a hello. His humble beginnings gave him a deep, deep affection for the underserved and he never wanted anyone to go without. He wanted everyone to know they had value and purpose. And he wanted people to have fun, to know joy. And that was our Sam. The never-reluctant life of the party, the master storyteller, the only man we ever knew who didn’t complain when he got sick.
We now picture him reunited with his mom and dad in heaven as we know he missed them dearly. We picture him at total peace looking down on us telling us to not be sad, to read a good book filled with satire, and to always look on the bright side of life. We hope we did you justice, daddy/Big Sam/Colonel/Judge.
First Corinthians 13, 4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Sam is survived by his amazing wife of 54 years, Krista Perkins Lowery; daughters, Amy Benton and husband Robert Benton and grandson RH Benton; Sarah Blanchard and husband Shorty Blanchard and grandsons Cade and Ty; brother Raymond Lowery (who could make him laugh like no one else) and wife Beverly, the entire Lowery and Perkins families, including numerous, very much loved, nieces and nephews, and hundreds of friends. And, of course, Sugar and Candi.
We will miss seeing daddy/Big Sam/Colonel/Judge greet us at the door any time and every time we came home (even from running an errand), no matter what. We will always see you there.
Services were held on Saturday, Apr. 3 at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, located at 825 Government St., Baton Rouge. Visitation was from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a service following at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donating to the Hospice of Baton Rouge at www.hospicebr.org. Or, donate your gently used books to people in need, preferably humorous ones.