Unsung Hero #7

Tom Lowrie is Westport’s Mr. Pickleball.

The 89-year-old retired architect is the man who pushed the Parks and Recreation Department to create a court for the quickly growing sport at Compo Beach in 2015.

A member of the Parks & Rec Racquets Advisory Committee, he’s now advocating for courts at the Doubleday complex behind Saugatuck Elementary School too. He is proud to be Westport’s ambassador to the USA Pickleball Association.

Tom Lowrie posed for the Westport Library’s “I geek…” campaign with — of course — pickleball gear. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

But pickleball is not Lowrie’s only passion.

A longtime volunteer since moving to Westport in 1966, he was a charter member of the Sunrise Rotary Club. He received Rotary’s Service Award, and serves as the group’s unofficial historian. Though nearly a nonagenarian, he can be seen at every Sunrise Rotary event, doing the thankless work that helps them raise and distribute tens of thousands of dollars for good causes.

Tom Lowrie and a duck — a promotion for the Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race.

Lowrie’s contributions to Westport buildings include converting the downtown firehouse to the former Westport YMCA fitness center, and modifications to the Masonic Temple at the corner of the Post Road and Imperial Avenue.

Lowrie is also a longtime Westport Weston Family YMCA member. He’s also active with the Y’s Men. His pickleball and other activities — like golf at Longshore — help him say in great shape.

A Pittsburgh native, he graduated from Princeton University in 1950. He served in the Navy, earned his graduate degree from the Columbia University School of Architecture, and began working for Philip Johnson.

Lowrie married Jean Sammons. They raised 2 children here: Dave and Anne.

Most “06880” readers who know him will not believe Tom Lowrie is 89 years old. But all will agree he is a worthy honoree as this week’s “06880” Unsung Hero.

(Know of an unsung hero we should celebrate? Email details to dwoog@optonline.net)

In 2012, Tom Lowrie was runner-up in the Longshore Men’s Golf Association President’s Cup.

10 responses to “Unsung Hero #7

  1. Bob Stalling

    Worthy indeed!
    Great man, great family and truly wonderful neighbor for many years…
    A Westport Gem.

  2. Great story about a great guy. Tom is selfless and
    Persistent. He does not accept ‘NO’ easily and
    Resultingly he has accomplished a great deal for
    us. And he is lovable along the way.
    Brian Strong

  3. Michael Calise

    Tom also served on the Architectural Review Board he is a pleasure to work with and a great citizen, Great article about a great guy!

  4. Wendy Crowther

    I had the pleasure of meeting Tom Lowrie when I worked at the YMCA in the 1980/90s. His architectural design for the Y’s new fitness center (the converted firehouse) was brilliant. It evoked a “wow” feeling when you first walked into the room, and that experience helped make it the leading fitness facility in the area at that time. I got to live in that beautiful fitness center daily because I was lucky enough to become its first director. Tom’s design created a gorgeous sense of scale, space and light, and yet he was able to retain the sense of “firehouse,” particularly by incorporating the original fire pole into the two-story design. The fire pole had been long gone but it was found, donated to the Y, and Tom placed it in it’s original location in the room. Brilliant.

    Tom was also an enthusiastic participant on the Y’s former racquetball and squash courts. It’s a natural progression that he is now an ambassador for pickleball. Both of his kids, Dave and Anne, worked at the Y’s front desks and in the pools. Anne painted a mural in the Brophy Pool that remained until it was torn down for the Bedford Square Project

    Today the Fitness Center is a restaurant – its firehouse and fitness center references are long gone. I recently asked David Waldman what had happened to the fire pole. He told me that he thinks they donated it to the fire department. I hope so.

    Congratulations, Tom, on your “Unsung Hero” status, and thanks for all you’ve done for this community and for the Westport YMCA. I love bumping into you now and then – always a fond reunion. Say hi to your kids for me.

  5. Jeff Wieser

    A stellar unsung hero and a classy volunteer for all of Westport. Bravo, Tom!

  6. Thank you Tom for all you’ve done for the many organizations you’ve served and helped. Thank you Dan for acknowledging a great guy who has always cared about our community.

  7. Ed Stalling

    Tom Lowrie! Wow, how great to see this well-deserved recognition. Tom, whenI was 12 or so I stood up on my bike seat with my hands in the air flying downhill past your house. I’ll never forget your look of surprise just before I crashed. Thank you for taking me to the hospital. You were great neighbors that would do anything for the neighborhood, you raised two great kids, and unlike another neighbor, you never called the cops when I played my drums with the garage door open. Awesome to see this, you look terrific!

  8. Dave Stalling

    A nice tribute to a wonderful man!

  9. Bravo Thomas. Well done.

  10. Richard Jaffe

    Congratulations, Tom! You’re a Westport hero, but to me you’ve never been unsung.