Fallen marine laid to rest

Brother Rice grad died serving in Afghanistan

(From March 15, 2012)

Hundreds of people lined the motorcade route last Friday to honor fallen Marine Cpl. Conner Lowry, a 2006 graduate of Brother Rice High School.

Lowry, 24, of Chicago's Beverly community, was killed in action in Afghanistan on March 1, just two months before he was scheduled to return home. The cause of his death is under investigation, according to the Department of Defense.

Lowry was a gunner on a Humvee in the Kajaki District, and a member of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment out of Camp Pendleton near San Diego. He began serving in Afghanistan in 2008.

The motorcade began at Midway Airport and traveled to Brother Rice High School, where "Taps" was played. Members of the Chicago, Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, Crestwood, Burbank, Hometown, and Midlothian police departments participated in the motorcade, along with the Patriot Riders and Warriors Watch Riders motorcycle groups.

A $25,000 check to start a scholarship in Lowry's honor was given to the school by Jim Zangrili, a member of the Chicago Police Department's Gold Star Society. The society has in the past given scholarships to Brother Rice students in honor of Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty. Sons of marines will be eligible to receive the scholarship.

The motorcade then traveled past Mother McCauley, and headed down 103rd Street to St. John Fischer Parish, where Lowry's funeral Mass was held.

Flags flew at half-mast throughout the Evergreen Park and Beverly communities in Lowry's memory.

Karen Lanigan, of Evergreen Park, stood at the corner of 103rd Street and Turner Avenue, waiting to see Lowry's motorcade.

"He was a friend of my son, Jack," Lanigan said. "We just loved him. He was a happy-go-lucky, really nice kid. We loved having him around any time he was there."

Jack's older brother, Steve Lanigan, stood with a large U.S. Marines flag. His friend, Terry Holland, of Beverly, stood holding an American flag along the motorcade route.

Dave Arman, 22, of Beverly, wore a sweatshirt with the words "Conner's Parade" written on an orange, white and green shamrock. The back of his sweatshirt read, "In Memory of Conner Lowry."

"We went to St. Catejan's, and he went to Fischer, and everybody knew each other," Arman said.

On the opposite side of the street, hundreds of St. Christina School students lined the route, clad in winter jackets and red St. Christina sweatpants, holding American flags.

"I didn't know him, but we wanted to show support and thanks to Conner," said Joey Kelly, the mother of a St. Christina's student.

Also along the route was Brian Larkin, sporting a Brother Rice baseball cap and holding an American flag.

"I felt I needed to show support for Conner and for his family," Larkin said. "We wanted to show how much the community cared about Conner and his family - whether you knew him personally or not."

Conner was also honored at Sunday's South Side Irish Parade - a favorite event of Lowry's. The fallen marine's mother, Modie Lavin, kicked off the celebration in his honor by cutting the ribbon and marching with the Armed Forces veterans of the South Side, the parade's Grand Marshal. Hundreds of marchers wore sashes bearing Lowry's name, while another held high a placard emblazoned with a photo of Lowry in his Marine uniform.

The Brother Rice website has a page dedicated to Lowry's memory, where people who knew him can post their thoughts and share stories.

"I think the word crusader says it all," wrote Mike Fratto.

We should revere honorable, brave young men like Conner who choose to go into harm's way in order to safeguard the values of this great country," wrote Tom Cetera, a 1996 graduate of Brother Rice. "Revere