Quite often the special stories of the police bonding process only emerge when we lose one of the brothers or sisters.
So it was with Senior Police Officer Bill Jeffrey and his “brother” – his brother – Officer Paul Lowrey.
Officer Lowrey delivered one of two special eulogies at Jeffrey’s memorial service Sept. 27 at Grace Church. Another testament of the closeness of Jeffrey and the Lowrey family came when the Rev. Charles Lowrey, the officer’s father, delivered the scriptural message at the fallen officer’s celebration of life.
The senior Lowrey said Jeffrey was like a son to him, an individual dedicated to God, his family and his chosen calling as a Houston police officer. Lowrey is pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church near Crockett.
After the service, Paul Lowrey told the Badge & Gun the story of the development of this special brotherhood. They both graduated Spring High School in 1985, having that “ton of fun” high school kids are known to engage in. They were both religious and believed in strong family units.
Lowrey said a growing number of Spring High graduates have chosen the Houston Police Department as the stomping ground for their calling. He estimated there have been at least 10 or more over the past few decades.
Currently, he said, there are five from the Spring High Class of 1985. Besides Jeffrey and Lowrey there are Averest Gilliam, Mitch Callahan and Jay Wiseman. This is quite a number of officers from the same high school class. It far outpaces a one-time tradition that Houston’s Waldrip High School had for producing HPD officers.
Lowrey said there was no reason that he and Jeffrey would become so close. After all, they were polar opposites in many ways: “I just told an Army buddy two week ago I never liked anyone from New Jersey. I found out last Wednesday Bill was born there. God has a sense of humor, I think.”
Other differences: Army (Paul), Navy (Bill). Southern. Northern. Introvert. Extravert.
“We were the odd couple and really were closer than brothers,” Lowrey said.
They were both patriotic. And Lowrey said it was more than the fact that both of these brothers almost being born on the same day – the Fourth of July. Lowrey was born July 1, Jeffrey on July 3 – 54 years ago. Every year they celebrated on the same day. (We have in this edition a picture of the two when the celebration was held at Minute Maid Park at an Astros game).
“We saw each other every Christmas and spoke to each other every birthday since 1981,” Lowrey recalled. “We’re the godfather to each other’s children too, and were at all the kids’ baptisms.”
As for HPD, Jeffrey entered 31 years ago in Cadet Class No. 140. It took Lowrey longer. He felt the urge about that same time but entered the oil business instead. Then came 2004 and Class No. 204. Lowrey said his dad discouraged him from going in about the same time as Bill Jeffrey but later changed his mind, becoming an encourager.
The Rev. Lowrey pinned the Houston Police badge on his son at graduation. The brothers in blue!
“Bill was something else. My family loved him just like me and my brothers. They are devastated.
“My sons are devastated because Uncle Bill was their playmate. He was their favorite and stopped everything he was doing to spend time with them. He was at their births and I was at Lacie’s.”
Lowrey said here awhile back Jeffrey grew concerned, appearing to be angry at his close friend during a get-together with their wives.
At the time of his death, Jeffrey and his wife Susanne, a retired HPD officer, were in the process of completing construction of their dream retirement home near Huntsville. Jeffrey was concerned that Lowrey and his wife were planning to build theirs too far away for his liking. He wanted them closer.
Lowrey said his plans changed, deciding to locate the couple’s retirement abode closer to the man he called his brother.