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Remembering Judy Lowe

Del Ray loses a friendly neighborhood icon.

There aren’t many people left in Alexandria who remember Willard Kane. He was my grandfather who lived just up the road from Del Ray on E. Taylor Run Parkway. “Grand Bill” has been gone for more than 20 years now, but Judy Lowe told me she knew him. Judy knew everybody. 

Sadly, Judy is gone now, too, and Del Ray must cope with the loss of a beloved neighborhood icon and an important link to what used to be.

I can’t recall the moment I met Judy, but it was probably at a Del Ray Citizens Association meeting shortly before the launch of this website. She was the first person who made me feel welcome in this community. I couldn't believe a woman in her 70s could show so much interest in an online news publication. After learning she had worked for the government agency that helped develop this whole Internet thing, well, her web prowess just made sense.

She could surprise you like that.

In truth, Judy was the first ombudsman of Del Ray Patch. Every time I ran into her, she would tell me plain and simple what was incorrect, what she thought could have been done better and when she believed meetings of the Alexandria Republicans were featured too prominently in the events section on the site. Of course, this was all after she gave me a big hug and said she was worried I was working too much and needed a girlfriend.

But when someone has called Del Ray home since 1958, you listen. Her perspective was valuable, not just to the editor of a community news site but to mayors and other city officials. She had seen Alexandria and Del Ray change through the years and she helped make some of that change happen. She never let us forget the goal, which is to make this community and city a better place.

I only knew Judy for a little more than a year. Others certainly knew her much longer, but I still learned from her.

The biggest lesson I took from Judy was about kindness and how not to be shy with it. She was always armed with kind words and sweet stories. She had a way of making people feel comfortable and better about themselves, even when she wasn’t having the best of days. It was her love of people—all people—shining through.

One morning not too long ago she left this message on my Facebook wall:

“Drew - I adore that smiling face picture. I can be down in the dumps and notice that picture and it makes me grin. Thanks and thanks for all your hard work on Del Ray Patch.”

If that doesn’t make a guy’s day, I don’t know what will.

In my almost 30 years, I haven’t met many people as quick and free with words so kind as Judy Lowe.

Like many others, I will miss her immensely. I will miss her perspective. I will miss the way she lit up the auditorium at DRCA meetings. I will miss her emails and her news tips, even the ones that sent me on wild goose chases. I will miss seeing the stuffed bear on her porch wearing a "Moran for Mayor" visor. And I will miss her laugh—a cackle so grand it could put all of Mt. Vernon Avenue at ease.

Judy was profiled in a Del Ray Patch story written by Becky Sirpis last October. To give it a read, . Adam Gerard spoke with Judy in December about her dog Casey. To read his article, .

Judy’s viewing will be Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Everly Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 W. Braddock Road. The funeral will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Del Ray United Methodist Church, 100 E. Windsor Avenue.

If you have any memories of Judy you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section.

Maggie Rivers December 01, 2011 at 04:55 AM
I moved into 15 W. Mt Ida in April of 1974. She was the first person on the street to greet me and my family. I was a young mother who really needed a friend. she was there for me always. Judy and I had a long and wonderful friendship. We had so many wacky moments that I sometimes felt like "Lucy and Ethel". Obviously there was the civic-minded, hard working woman---but she was so much fun to be with. Go to a party with Judy and you were guaranteed a good time. She knew most people and made a point to introduce herself and make a friend of those she didn't know. She loved her life here and I'm glad she was able to pass away in her home quietly here in Del Ray. I'm sad to lose her. I'll miss her dearly.
Lin Hiley December 01, 2011 at 08:10 PM
How sad to hear about Judy's passing. I met Judy the first time on the corner of Mt. Vernon Avenue & Randolph to cheer for the turkey-trotters one Thanksgiving morning. I returned every year because of her friendliness and expert cheering. She was a friendly, familiar face. What a legacy, to be remembered by so many this way - for gentle kindness in passing.
Nancy Rowe December 02, 2011 at 05:27 PM
When John and I first moved here from Massachusetts, we were lucky enough to purchase our first home at 13 West Mount Ida Ave. We met Judy right away. She helped us connect to and feel part of the community but also part of the Del Ray family. It was 1975 and we brought two little boys home from the hospital into the warmth and love of caring and committed folks who worked hard and helped one another renovate their homes, celebrated together, laughed together, and pitched in to make Del Ray the thriving sought after place that it is. Judy was the person who encouraged me to become the treasurer of the Del Ray Citizen's Association when Anne Martone was president and my dear friend Jim Moran was Vice President. We laughed heartily when people kept mixing us up- "Judy Lowe and Nancy Rowe-" one of the highest compliments I have ever received! I feel so lucky to have shared coffee with her at St. Elmo's just a few weeks ago... Judy was my dear friend of 36 years and I will miss her smile and wonderful laugh so very much! Nancy Rowe
Paul & Patrice Linehan December 04, 2011 at 11:44 PM
Judy was - and will forever be - our very dear friend and Mother to us in Del Ray. When we came here in 1995, she welcomed us and introduced us to so many wonderful friends and the best neighborhood in the world. She was there to share so many good times with us; always a warm, loving, and smiling face at Del Ray, ADC, and parties. She informed us, supported us, visited us on the birth of our sons, and shared in a wonderful last birthday party for Ms Kate Daniels - another dear friend and long-time Del Ray icon. Her lasting memory and spirit will forever be part of Del Ray in all that it was, is, and will become. We are blessed to have spent time with her, and will always cherish our memories. Judy leaves a legacy that teaches us the importance of community and caring for one another. With all our love and heartfelt condolences. Paul, Patrice, Kai and Cade Linehan
missmelanie_02@yahoo.com May 20, 2013 at 11:08 PM
I must tell you all, thank you from my whole heart for sharing your memories of our Mom. She sure is "one of a kind" and each of us, Stephanie, Chip and I have learned, put together, we might equal her one day. It warms my heart more then words can show the depth to which Mommy meant to so many and the ways she touched everyone in Del Ray. OH yes Del Ray IS HOME. And mostly made so by all the friends we have there.

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