Oswego resident and longtime family doctor Earl William Lowry died at the age of 97 last month. Well known in the community, Lowry delivered 3,400 babies during his time as a physician.
Born in 1921, Lowry grew up in Quincy, where he sold newspapers on the corner at age 6. A graduate of the University of Illinois’ Medical School, he served in the Army Air Corps and United States Air Force as a military medical doctor, stationed in Iowa, Arizona, California and Mississippi.
In 1950, Lowry and his family moved to Oswego, where he would practice family medicine until his retirement. During his time in Oswego, Lowry worked closely with several organizations including the YMCA, Oswego Bank, Kendall County Health Board and the Shriners. For 45 years, Lowry was also a close partner with Rush Copley Medical Center, then called Copley Hospital, and Mercy Center Hospital, now called Presence Mercy Medical Center.
“He could take out your gallbladder, your kidney, he delivered all of those babies ... he could do it all,” daughter Rose Lowry said.
Lowry described her father as extraordinary in diagnoses and as a counselor to his patients who also gave back to the community and those in need. During his time in Oswego, Lowry frequently volunteered as a sideline doctor for the Oswego High School football team, and provided free physical examinations to students who may not have been able to afford the appointment that would allow them to participate in school athletics.
“He was always for the underdog,” Lowry said. “He just really believed in giving back.”
According to Lowry, about one-third of her father’s patients never paid a dime. Her father, Lowry said, was a believer in the Thornton Wilder quote, “Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”
In an obituary published in the April 26 edition of the Ledger, Lowry was described by friends and family as, “incredibly friendly... generous,” emphasized by the saying on his obituary: “Life is Beautiful.”
When asked about what he left behind, Lowry said that she hopes that her father’s legacy is one of “Generosity... giving back, and being a positive person.”
“He lived a good life,” she said.