ATLANTA (AP) — Evelyn Lowery, the wife of civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery, died Thursday, a family spokeswoman said. She was 88.

Spokeswoman Diane Larche said Evelyn Lowery died in the morning at her home in Georgia. She had been hospitalized since Sept. 18 after suffering a severe stroke. She returned home Wednesday night, after medical experts said the stroke had done irreversible damage.

Evelyn Lowery

In this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006 photo, Evelyn Lowery, wife of fellow civil rights activist Rev. Joseph Lowery, poses for a photo at the SCLC Woman center which she founded and chairs, in Atlanta. (AP Photo /John Amis)


Evelyn Lowery devoted her life to serving others, her husband said in a statement to The Associated Press.

“My beloved Evelyn was a special woman, whose life was committed to service, especially around the issues of empowering women,” said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Evelyn Lowery founded SCLC/WOMEN Inc. in 1979. The group works to empower women, girls and families. She also created the Drum Major of Justice Awards held annually in April in Atlanta.

“She was a wonderful mother and wife, and I thank God that she didn’t suffer any pain and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidant and my best friend for close to 70 years,” he said. “I will miss her each and every day, but as a man of faith, I know that she is with her God.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Joseph Lowery, a former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and his wife were in Birmingham, Ala., earlier this month for the 50th anniversary of a racist church bombing that killed four black girls in 1963.

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