Firefighting comrades join family, friends in tribute to former chief

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
One of Hillsboro’s longtime public servants was laid to rest on Wednesday at the funeral services with tributes from former coworkers as well as family and friends.

Wayne Lowry, a member of Hillsboro volunteer fire department for 38 years and fire chief for 26 before retiring in 2001, died Jan. 6 after suffering a stroke this summer.

Lowry was honored at his funeral service with full rites from the Chanute Fire Department Honor Guard as well as Masonic rites as the service concluded with a final firefighter’s call from the Marion County Communications Center.

The funeral procession was led by a Hillsboro fire truck driven by Lowry’s successor as fire chief, Ben Steketee.

He also was honored with a flyover by the Midwest Life Team Air Ambulance.

The funeral procession was escorted by longtime friend, Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Ottensmeier, on its journey to Livingston Cemetery in rural Abilene.

Lowry also was honored as the funeral procession passed through the city of Abilene. Members of local fire department donned black patches over their badges in memory of Lowry and saluted the procession as it passed by.

A graduate of Chapman High School, Lowry married Elaine Neaderhiser in 1956. The couple had two sons, Robert and Dale, in their 49 years of marriage. They and their families survive him.

The family moved to Hillsboro in 1957. Wayne Lowry worked for Tip Top Dairy, Hillsboro Industries and the city of Hillsboro.

Lowry was Army veteran, having served in Korea for 13 months.

An avid promoter of fire prevention, Lowry received great personal satisfaction conducting talks and programs.

A member of the Kansas State Firefighters Association and a life member of the Kansas State Fire Chiefs Association, Lowry was known to say of his fellow firefighters, “I would not expect any one of them to do something that I wouldn’t do.”

Lowry was a member of the Hillsboro United Methodist Church, Centre Lodge #147, Scottish Rites of Salina, and was an Isis Shriner, belonging to the clown unit.

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