Bobby Lowther

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Robert Carswell "Bobby" Lowther, Sr.

(Basketball player for Louisiana State University, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and the Waterloo Hawks: NCAA Men's Basketball
All-Americans in 1946)

Bobby Lowther of LA.jpg

Born December 14, 1923
Houston, Texas
Died May 23, 2015 (aged 91)
Alexandria, Louisiana

Alma mater:
Bolton High School (Alexandria)
Louisiana State University

Spouse Merriam Hanesworth Lowther

Children:
Robert "Rob" Lowther (deceased)
Bradley Hanesworth Lowther
Martha Merriam Burns
Parents:
Alexander Carswell and Jeanette Pippin Lowther

Religion Episcopalian

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army
Air Forces
Rank Lieutenant (bomber pilot)
Battles/wars World War II

Robert Carswell Lowther, Sr. (December 14, 1923 – March 23, 2015), was the only two-sport All-American athlete at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1946, he garnered the recognition in basketball and track and field.[1]

Early life

Lowther was born in Houston, Texas, to Alexander Carswell Lowther and the former Jeanette Pippin. In 1931, he moved with his family to Alexandria in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. He was reared on 13th Street in Alexandria. He and a brother, Buster, and best friend, Ace Higgins, staged mock track meets, which set the stage for his later demonstrations of athletic prowess. He graduated in 1941, while he was still seventeen, from Bolton High School in Alexandria. At LSU, he majored in English and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.[2]

His education at LSU was interrupted by World War II. In 1943 and 1944, he was a United States Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot with the rank of lieutenant.[3]

Athletic career

Because he averaged fifteen points per game as a forward at LSU, Lowther was named to the Helms Athletic Foundation All-America basketball team. He also finished in second and fourth places, respectively, in the javelin and pole vault in the National Collegiate Athletic Association championships. In 1995, on the occasion of his induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in downtown Natchitoches, Lowther told the Alexandria Town Talk that his success in javelin and pole vault was unusual because most athletes can excel at only one of the two competitions. Heavier athletes have an advantage with the javelin, and slimmer ones with the pole vault. He was 6'5" and weighed 185 pounds.[3]

Upon Lowther's death of a lengthy illness in Alexandria at the age of ninety-one, his long-time friend Frank S. Brian (born May 1923) of Baton Rouge became the lone survivor of the original five starting LSU players in the consecutive winning teams from 1945 to 1947. LSU had its best winning percentage (83.3) in those two seasons. The Tigers won fifty-three of sixty-four games when Lowther was on the court. In 1946, Lowther and four players from the University of Kentucky Wildcats were named to the five-man All-Southeastern Conference men's basketball first team.[3]

In another 1946 triumph, Lowther was named the triple-jump champion at the national Amateur Athletic Union competition. In 1947, he was voted "Best All-Around Athlete" at LSU, having prevailed over Y. A. Tittle, Al Dark, and Joe Adcock.[4] In 1978, he was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the LSU chapter of the National "L"etterman Club. In 2005, after surviving lung and brain cancer, Lowther was honored as Southeastern Conference] "Living Legend" for his basketball prowess.[3]

Lowther placed third in the 1946 AAU decathlon and would have competed in the Olympics had he not broken a leg at an SEC meet in Birmingham, Alabama. He was still seeded in 1948 ahead of Bob Mathias of California, the Olympic champion in the trials who competed in 1948 and 1952. Lowther could not compete because his leg had yet to heal.[3]

For several years, Lowther played professional basketball for the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, now the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta, Georgia,[2] and the defunct Waterloo Hawks in Waterloo, Iowa.

Later years

Lowther was a businessman and an inventor of fishing lures and board games.[2] While in his seventies, he worked with youngsters at numerous area high schools and Louisiana College in Pineville to demonstrate his knowledge of athletics.[3]

Lowther outlived by a year and a half his namesake son Robert "Robby" Lowther (1948-2013), who like his father graduated from Bolton High School and LSU, from which he received a basketball scholarship, and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The junior Lowther also played baseball and golf. He held a Juris Doctorate from the Louisiana State University Law Center. For a time while he resided in Many in Sabine Parish in western Louisiana, he practiced law and owned The Sabine Index weekly newspaper. He established a horse farm, "Beau Salael," in Blanchard north of Shreveport in Caddo Parish, where he raised thoroughbreds. He subsequently relocated to Covington in St. Tammany Parish, where he continued to practice law.[5] Lowther and his wife, the former Merriam Hanesworth (born March 1926), have two surviving children, Bradley Hanesworth Lowther (born November 1950) of Baton Rouge, divorced from Cynthia Chaudoir Lowther Cortello,[6] and Martha Merriam Burns (born c. 1956) and husband, Michael Eugene Burns (born c. 1952), of Pearland, near Houston, Texas..[5]

Lowther died at an Alexandria nursing facility at the age of ninety-one after a lengthy illness of Alzheimer's disease. Memorial services were held on March 27, 2015 at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Alexandria.[2] Four months after Lowther's death, his family sustained another loss when grandson Brian Joseph Lowther (1978-2015), died in Metairie at the age of thirty-seven.[6]

Lowther's younger brother, Charles A. "Buster" Lowther (1926-2015), was also a Houston native and graduate of Bolton High School, at which like his brother excelled in basketball and track and field. At LSU, from which he graduated in 1949, Buster Lowther was all-SEC in the pole vault and affiliated like his brother with Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Charles Lowther enlisted in the United States Navy in World War II and was an Air Force officer in the Korean War. An insurance agent and member multiple times of the Million Dollar Round Table, Lowther was also an orator, singer, and stage actor, with the ability to voice nearly any accent. He was long involved with the Alexandria Little Theatre. He was the father of five children.[7]

References

  1. Bobby Lowther, two-sport star at LSU, dies at age 91. The Baton Rouge Advocate (March 25, 2015). Retrieved on March 25, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Services Friday for LSU legend Lowther. Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on March 26, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Bob Tompkins (Sports editor). Bobby Lowther, LSU's lone two-sport All-American, dies. Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on March 24, 2015.
  4. Bobby Lowther: Induction Year 1995. lasportshall.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Robert Carswell "Robby" Lowther, Jr.. Alexandria Town Talk (September 4, 2013). Retrieved on March 24, 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Brian Joseph Lowther. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on July 24, 2015.
  7. Charles A. "Buster" Lowther. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on August 28, 2015.

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