Beverly Marine's body returns to Chicago

March 9, 2012 4:18:30 PM PST
The body of a fallen Chicago Marine killed in Afghanistan arrived Friday morning at Midway and was given military honors with a procession.

Conner Lowry, 24, from the Beverly community died March 1 while serving as a Humvee gunner on combat operations. The Department of Defense says his death is under investigation.

Family and friends say Lowry was the kind of guy that everyone looked up to.

"For him to feel he wanted to protect all of us and keep us safe, and we have our freedom due to young men like this and young women," said Noreen Paglia.

People who never met Lowry lined the streets to pay their respects.

"This could have been one of my children or nieces or nephews," said John Stoll. "I just think they are doing what they are told, and we need to be here to back them up."

Lowry's funeral procession wound through the Southwest Side where he grew up. "Taps" solemnly played at Brother Rice, where Lowry once played football.

The motorcade ultimately made its way to Saint John Fisher School and Church where Lowry's visitationwas set for Friday afternoon. The funeral will be there Saturday. Crowds of people stood united in prayer together holding onto American flags.

"It still hasn't fully hit. It's just unreal at this point. It's like we just saw him yesterday," said friend Jake Nolan.

Lowry's family says they were planning on having a welcome home parade for him when he returned home in July. Instead, they are welcoming him home in death as the community celebrates his service and sacrifice.

"Just last week he posted he had four months left in the Marines, and the next day I find out he passed away," said friend Mario Corrales.

The Chicago Police Marine Corps League donated $25,000 to Brother Rice to set up a scholarship in Lowry's name.

"Corporal Lowry is one of our own and we just want to come out here and pay our respects to him," said Dominick Kearns, Chicago Police Marine Corps League.

"It's not easy. Every Marine is like a brother, it's a family," said Jennifer Granados, whose husband served with Lowry. She flew in from Houston to support the family.

The motorcade went by Brother Rice and Mother McAuley High School. Lowry graduated from Brother Rice in 2006.

Lowry's family says he was a sports fanatic and a good athlete. He enlisted in the Marines in 2008.

A number of people attending the procession received parking tickets. The city has electronically voided the tickets.