New Haven Teacher Gives Back
Mary Established a Fund in 2016 to Honor Her Parents
|Photo Courtesy of Mary Lowery
“It was a given that I would go to college,” said Mary Lowery, reflecting on her family and her career as an educator. Though her parents were not college-educated, they thought education was very important for their only daughter. Indeed, that education was the beginning of her 35-year tenure as a New Haven teacher and administrator. Mary’s parents, Edward and Mary Maher Lowery were from Hartford, where the family lived in a two-family house on Tower Avenue. Both were employed for many years by Aetna and Travelers, her father for 46 years.
Upon the suggestion of Mary’s uncle, a Catholic priest, Mary learned Spanish while attending Mount St. Joseph Academy and St. Joseph College (now the University of St. Joseph) in the Hartford area. Her natural linguistic abilities led to a Spanish-English teaching position at New Haven’s Hillhouse High School just after college graduation in 1957. Mary lived in a Westville apartment in those days, sparking a life-long love of the New Haven area. From Hillhouse, she went on to become the chair of the Foreign Language Department at Lee High School. She retired from Lee in 1992, leaving only for a brief time in between to be an assistant principal at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School.
At the request of her former New Haven Public School colleague, Tim Shriver, Mary put her energy and language expertise to good use in retirement by becoming the volunteer language commissioner for the Ninth Special Olympics World Summer Games in New Haven in 1995. Mary worked 20 hours a week for three years organizing the training for volunteer interpreters for the Game’s 7000 athletes from 143 countries. After that, Mary devoted her time to the Cupboard Thrift Shop for the SARAH Foundation
, which helps children and adults with intellectual and other disabilities. SARAH's Cupboard Thrift Shop is located in Branford, the town to which Mary moved in 1985. She loves her coastline town and enjoys almost-daily walks at Branford Point.
The Lowery Family Fund established by Mary in 2016 in honor of her parents will support the New Haven Scholarship Fund. As a teacher, Mary knows the value of this all-volunteer organization that provides college scholarships for New Haven students. Mary chose The Community Foundation to carry out her wishes in perpetuity on the advice of her attorney, Chris Edmonds. Recalling her tenuous start as a premature baby (she was only three pounds at birth), Mary said, “I was lucky to be born and I’ve been lucky with my career and a family inheritance. I feel my fortune requires I give back.”
In addition to the Lowery Family Fund at The Community Foundation, Mary Lowery created a scholarship fund at her alma mater, the University of St. Joseph, and is a regular donor to the Community Fund for Women & Girls. Mary has also remembered these organizations in her estate plans.