Pamela Lowry, who advocated for abortion rights before Roe v. Wade, dies at 77

Even worse was Newton’s doctor. “He was an alcoholic and drank during the procedures to stabilize his hand,” she said. “And that’s how he descended into the ranks of people who weren’t doctors and so on. It was kind of a terrible thing to see.

Ms Lowry, who later became a popular campaign worker for Governor Michael S. Dukakis, was 77 when she collapsed and died November 16 while volunteering at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

She and her husband, Allen Rozelle, had moved 13 years ago to Santa Cruz, Calif., where she wrote novels and focused her political talents on the shelter and its foundation.

“Pam was an all-around superstar and cheerleader for the shelter,” Erika Smart, the organization’s program and development manager, wrote in a tribute.

During her years as a Massachusetts political operative and women’s rights champion, Ms Lowry “truly was one of the unsung heroes of Dukakis’ return to power in 1982,” said John Sasso, a former political consultant and Dukakis’ top aide, who was elected governor in 1974, lost a Democratic primary re-election bid in 1978 and was re-elected governor in 1982.

“Computers were just in their infancy,” Sasso said of that time. “She held the lists and names of volunteers and small contributors as if they were gold, which they were. That’s a big part of what helped Mike build such a strong organization of field volunteers and statewide contributors – thanks to what Pam did.

After joining Dukakis’ campaign team in 1979 and serving as a senior campaign staff when he ran for president in 1988, Ms Lowry started her own political consultancy, which focused on l administration, compliance with election laws and fundraising.

“Everyone recognized the enormous value of what she was doing,” Sasso said. “And her deep belief in women’s health was at the heart of her commitment.

Ms Lowry remained politically active in Massachusetts until 2002, when she married Rozelle, whom she had known since she was at Wellesley and he was at Harvard College. She then moved to Switzerland, where he lived.

Six years later, they move into a house they bought in Santa Cruz, lured there for their retirement years by the proximity of close friends.

Since then, under author Lee Lowry’s byline, she has written three novels, ‘If You Needed Me’, ‘Judge Not’ and ‘The Lost Horse’, all of which drew on her expat experience in Switzerland. later. marriage in life.

Like the protagonist of her debut novel, “I gave up my career and moved to Europe to help an old love after he lost his wife to cancer,” she said in a meeting published on its website.

“Elements of this story are inspired by my personal experiences as an expat, second wife and in-law, but I also drew heavily on the stories of other people I met during my own adventure. “, she said. “As a friend remarked, ‘As human beings, we need to share our journeys.’ “

Over the phone, Rozelle described the novels as “fictional accounts of our return to Geneva. The names are all changed, but the events are recognizable, if you know what you’re talking about. And they are very good.

The second of five siblings and eldest daughter, Pamela Lee Lowry was born in New York on September 9, 1944.

His father, Donald Lowry, graduated from Harvard College and worked for Procter & Gamble, becoming vice president. His mother, Barbara Schueler Lowry, was from Boston and attended Cambridge School of Weston before marrying Donald.

Pamela grew up mostly in suburban Cincinnati, once her father’s job brought the family to P&G headquarters in Cincinnati.

In the family’s suburban homes, Mrs. Lowry developed her love of gardening.

“She and my mother shared an interest in wildflowers and together built a wildflower garden on the edge of the woods,” said her sister Sarah Lowry Ames of Boston.

Departing from the more conservative politics of her parents, “Pam was the liberal of the family. We all looked up to him,” said his brother Sam from Huntsville, Ala.

Much like her experience as a field hockey goalkeeper, Ms Lowry would be, in the political arena, “the person who would defend her team, her side to the end”, Sarah said. “She was completely committed to an ideal or a cause and there was no argument about it. She knew what was right and went out of her way to try to convince other people as well.

Ms Lowry studied at Wellesley for a few years before leaving. She worked briefly at the Design Research retail store in Cambridge before joining the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, where she chaired public affairs when she left in the late 1970s.

Before Roe v. Wade, she had also served as co-director of MORAL, the Massachusetts organization to repeal abortion laws, and later served on the executive committee of the National Abortion Rights Action League.

“She was very articulate, she was very beautiful, she was very friendly,” Rozelle said.

In addition to her husband and siblings Sarah and Samuel, Mrs. Lowry is survived by another sibling, Peter and Amy, both of Camden, Maine.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete at this time.

In her 1974 testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, Ms. Lowry recalled that on August 1, 1965, her first day as a Planned Parenthood staffer, the Massachusetts legislature defeated a bill “which, for the first time, would have legalized contraception”.

She added that “we could count the number of senators and representatives who voted against birth control whose women we knew were on the pill.”

The personal and the political have always been linked, she told US senators hearing testimony on abortion rights.

“I hope we’ll never go back to how it was 10 years ago when, with $187 in my pocket, I walked down Massachusetts Avenue, the seedy side of town, the seedy side of the lanes “said Ms. Lowry. noted.

“I won’t go into all the details, but it ended up in a chiropractor’s office and it’s the kind of experience that changes your life. It changed mine.

Bryan Marquard can be reached at [email protected]

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