Austin Lowrey, III, passed away Friday, September 29, 2017, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from complications of diabetes.
Austin was a descent of many early settlers of western Iowa including the Fairbanks, Chaffee, Baker and Deuel families as well as the Nelson and Erickson families of Bode. Iowa. An Army “brat”, Austin was born October 19, 1933, in the Panama Canal Zone. He graduated from Coolidge High School in Washington, DC, and received his BS, 1955, and MS, 1956, degrees in physics at the University of Hawaii. While he worked toward his Ph.D. in Theoretical Nuclear Physics at MIT, the Army approached Austin to become active duty under Project 200, a program designed to recruit 200 scientists in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik.
After graduation, Austin’s military career included nuclear reactors, underground testing of weaponry, and electro-magnetic pulse research. From 1970 to 1973 he taught Physics at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York. He supported the Poseidon and Pershing programs and the Strategic Defense Initiative, a.k.a. “Star Wars”. He served as Commander, Harry Diamond Laboratories. During his career, Austin received the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Meritorious Service medal. After 28 years active duty, Austin retired in November, 1982, with the rank of Colonel. He then worked as a consultant for several contracting companies.
Austin was active in Community Theater and served as lay reader, usher and Vestry member of his Episcopal Church. He also served as a Cub Scout Den Dad for two of his sons and later coordinated activities for a Senior Scout troop through the Army Nuclear and Chemical Agency. He held memberships in Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi as well as the Fairfax, Virginia, Elks Club and the Cosmos Club, Washington, DC.
Austin is survived by his wife of 48 years, Elizabeth [Betsy] Brown Lowrey; three sons, John Andrew, Geoffrey Austin and Vanhsai Robert; two daughters, Amanda Renee and Taylor Ritheavy, five granddaughters and three grandsons; sister Carolyn Jeanne Matthews and her family of Encinitas, California and many other relatives and friends.
The family will gather for burial of his ashes in the Lowrey area of the Woodbine cemetery on August 9, 2018, at 10:30 with a luncheon following at a local church. All friends and family are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests any memorial offerings be given to your preferred charity.