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Wife, aunt, family friend die in car crash hours before funeral for NY firefighter
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Wife, aunt, family friend die in car crash hours before funeral for NY firefighter

Turns out, the tragic death of a young volunteer firefighter was just the beginning of the heartache and grief for the community of Fowler, New York, about two hours northeast of Syracuse.

Jayson J. "Jay" Lowery, a volunteer firefighter for the Oxbow and Richville areas and a volunteer EMT for Gouverneur, was just 29 years old when he unexpectedly passed away from a brain condition early last week. WWNY-TV announced his death in the afternoon of July 13 and shared information about his family and the upcoming funeral arrangements.

That information now reads like a haunting foreboding. On Saturday, July 16, just hours before Lowery was to be laid to rest, his wife, aunt, and a family friend were all killed in a car crash, a car crash that was discovered by Lowery's uncle, Jim Henry, whose own wife and daughter were among the passengers in the ill-fated vehicle.

As he was driving down Chub Lake Road, Henry noticed considerable debris in the roadway and an upside down vehicle in the creek below. Henry, a fellow volunteer fireman, raced to the scene, only to hear the screams of his 14-year-old daughter Joy begging for help. Henry moved quickly and was able to extract Joy and another family friend from the car.

“There was a lot of adrenaline and stuff. When I jumped in the water, like, it didn’t even cross my mind. It was just automatically getting the people out,” Henry said.

Henry's wife Jackie, her best friend Lorraine Stevens, and Lowery's wife Desiree were not so fortunate. Desiree Lowery was pronounced dead at the scene, while Jackie Henry and Stevens died later at Gouverneur Hospital.

“I couldn’t believe this was happening. To have a brother fireman that we’re laying to rest and to respond to a call involving his wife and aunt. You can’t wrap your mind around it,” Richville Fire Chief Corie Farr said.

“Don’t take life for granted. You never know when it’s going to end,” Henry said.

Jay and Desiree Lowery had three children, who have lost both parents in a span of a few days. They will remain with an aunt until permanent arrangements can be made. Jim and Jackie Henry have four children, who have now lost their mother and their aunt, uncle, and friend.

Jay's mother Virginia Lowery offered a small message of hope amidst the sadness: "We have to get the seven of them, the kids, to grieve together and to stick together, and everybody will get through this."

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News. She has a Ph.D. in Shakespearean drama, but now enjoys writing about religion, sports, and local criminal investigations. She loves God, her husband, and all things Michigan State.
@cortneyweil →