Frank Addison Lowry, a Cape Girardeau attorney, took to the road in 1948 in his bid for the Republican nomination for Missouri Attorney General. He made the journey in a formerly wrecked automobile his two sons, David and Frank Jr., had rebuilt.
The race for AG wasn't Lowry's first choice for political office that year. In February he announced for the GOP nomination for the House of Representatives, an office to which he had been elected in 1938, 1940 and 1942. But by July 1948, when the article below was published, he had switched races to that of attorney general.
While I haven't been able to find a reason Lowry went from a House of Representatives hopeful to an attorney general candidate, I wonder if it may have had something to do with the entry of Cape Girardeau attorney Jack O. Knehans into the race for the House in April.
Published July 21, 1948, in the Southeast Missourian:
When Cape Girardeau's Frank Lowry entered the race for the Republican nomination for attorney general, it became a family campaign, with his wife, Viola, and their two sons entering wholeheartedly into the effort to make Dad Lowry the chief law officer of Missouri. In the picture they are shown about to take off on a campaign mission in the "Lowry for Attorney General" automobile the boys rebuilt from a wreck. Shown are, from left: David, 17; Mr. Lowry, Mrs. Lowry and Frank Jr., 20. (G.D. Fronabarger ~ Southeast Missourian)
LOWRY CAMPAIGN FAMILY AFFAIR
When an aspirant for public office is blessed with two sons who act as campaign managers and an attractive wife who likes to accompany him on political missions, it would seem he has a good start. And, when the sons not only drive for him, but even build the car in which he campaigns — then Frank A. Lowry, Cape Girardeau's candidate for the Republican nomination for attorney general, would seem to be on his way.
Mr. Lowry, local attorney and state representative for three terms, is nearing the end of a strenuous campaign, but one in which he has had a lot of family help. His sons, Frank Jr., 20, and David, 17, took turns driving for him and learning practical politics. Arriving in a town, one would go ahead, with posters and his best smile, explaining that "Dad will be in a little later," so that when "Dad" arrived he heard, "Fine son, Mr. Lowry; yes sir, a fine son!"
A good experience
The boys also kept track, reminding him if he missed seeing a county officer or some other important person. They took time off to fish in nearby creeks, if there was time, and learned a campaigner's lore of detours, flat tires and 14 inches of rain in one week, with not that many chances of dry clothing. As their father puts it, "It was their idea; they saved me money, and I am deeply indebted to them. But, I think it was a good experience."
The boys went along one at a time and there was a reason for it. Frank, a junior and pre-law student at State College, and David, to enroll for pre-medical work this fall, share a job driving a candy truck (for W.L. Perkinson Candy Co., 129 N. Water St., in Cape Girardeau). David is also the Servicycle agent, and repairs them in his spare time, with his father as legal partner. Perhaps it was his influence that persuaded Mr. Lowry to buy a car from an insurance client, which was a total loss, and which they have repaired, a piece at a time, until it lacks only chrome pieces, and runs better than the family car.
Former city attorney
Mr. Lowry, who served six years as (Cape Girardeau) city counselor, and has a special citation presented him for his work in the Legislature on the police bill during the Pendergast fight, was colonel in the last war, serving for a time in India as staff judge advocate, the chief legal officer, with the 10th Air Force Command. His office is lined with pictures of Army friends, one of which proved costly. David, then a boy, received an extravagantly autographed picture of Max and Buddy Baer and himself, showing him as the winner in a three-way bout. He was so impressed he ordered postcard duplicates made for all his Washington School buddies.
But, says the lawyer who picked Cape Girardeau 25 years ago, because "It is a good place to live, even if people don't fight enough to make a lawyer rich," "we had always lived in a state of comradeship in our home. The bank accounts belong to all of us. When I was stationed in California we all moved. Even the shirt I'm wearing is Dave's. I'm just thankful the only thing we don't share is my shoes!"
A second version of the above photograph. It's interesting to note that neither of these images is the one that was actually published in the Southeast Missourian. The negative for that photo hasn't been preserved. (Southeast Missourian archive)
While Frank Lowry went on to out-poll two other Republican candidates in the August primary in Cape Girardeau County, he wasn't able to replicate those results on a statewide basis. Herbert Douglas of Neosho picked up the nomination, followed by John M. Hadley of St. Louis, son of a former Missouri governor. Lowry was a distant third.
Lowry was recalled to active military service in January 1951. He retired as an Air Force colonel and was the recipient of the Bronze Star. Also around 1951, he moved his family to California, where he practiced law with the firm of Lyman and Lowry.
He passed away Sunday, Jan. 10, 1965, at Seal Beach, California. His obituary was published the next day on the Southeast Missourian's front page.
FORMER CITY ATTORNEY DIES AT SEAL BEACH, CALIF.
Frank A. Lowry, former Cape County representative and Cape Girardeau city attorney, died of cancer Sunday at his home at Seal Beach, California. He had been ill for several months.
Mr. and Mrs. Lowry left Cape Girardeau in the early 1950s for California, where he practiced law until his illness. They visited friends in Cape Girardeau about two years ago.
Born Oct. 14, 1898, at Monticello, Illinois, Mr. Lowry was educated in the LeRoy, Illinois, public schools and the Illinois Wesleyan Law School at Bloomington, Illinois.
He and Miss Viola Lee Reynolds of Commerce (Missouri) were married Feb. 20, 1925.
A lifelong member of the Republican party. Mr. Lowry took an active part in political campaigns in Southeast Missouri from 1924 until he entered the Army Air Force in World War II.
He was city attorney here from 1930 to 1936 and served as chairman of the Republican County Committee in 1938. He was first elected to the Missouri House in 1938 and served until 1944, including part of his last term while he was in the service.
In the General Assembly he served on committees on civil and criminal procedure, judiciary, pensions, military affairs, state teacher colleges, ways and means and appropriations.
Mr. Lowry was a second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, 140th Infantry, Missouri National Guard in 1925-1926 and was a captain in the Judge Advocate General's department, reserve. He also was a major in the 6th Missouri Reserve Military Forces on activation of the National Guard prior to World War II.
After wartime service, Mr. Lowry re-established his law practice here. He was a member of the first Municipal Airport Board when it was appointed to supervise the war-built Harris Field after it was taken over from the government.
Mr. Lowry is survived by his wife and two sons, Frank Jr., and Dr. David Lowry, both of nearby Long Beach.
The body is at the Mottell and Peeks Funeral Home at Long Beach. Funeral arrangements are not complete, but burial will be in Westminster Cemetery
That obituary overlooked several other survivors: a sister, Mrs. Epp Bailey; a brother, John Lowry, and four unnamed grandchildren.