The military life of Ernest C. Lowery
By Dan Ellis | AFRH-G Resident
Ernest Calvin Lowery was born April 23, 1945 to Lester and Etoyl Lowery in Hollandale, MS. Beginning at age four, Ernie worked in the cotton fields until the fall of 1963. He graduated from Indianola High School in Indianola, MS in 1964. While still in high school, Ernie began working in a printer’s shop silkscreen printing department in which he continued until 1978. He then became a salesman for the Arkansas Paper Co. and was in charge of opening a new territory for the company.
While still in his final year of high school, Ernie enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard in October 1964. After having matriculated to the rank of E-7 in 1979, he became a full-time National Guard Recruiter. His recruitment duties covered the middle Mississippi counties. In 1991 he was awarded for his successes as “Recruiter of the Year” and was presented a citation in Washington D.C. with his family in attendance. Ernie retired from the National Guard in September 1996 with 20 years active duty.
He then began selling cars, followed by a two-year stint as a farmer. In 1999 he was employed at the Boll Weevil Eradication Program with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce until October 2005. The success of the program was evident when the boll weevil was declared eradicated from Mississippi cotton fields in 2009.
Following his retirement, Ernie began sporting his Safari hat and became an official full-time angler on Lake Washington in Chatham, MS. On weekends, Ernie would go home to take care of his family business and his religious duties: attending church, serving as a Sunday school teacher, singing in the choir, and filling the role as a deacon in his church.
He continued this routine until 2017 when he was unable to continue sustaining his desired quality of life while staying at his fishing cabin. Ernie’s health condition is service connected due to a fall from a moving armored tank. This resulted in him developing rheumatoid arthritis affecting his back and joints, thus resulting in four surgical processes to his back and one to his neck, which has affected his overall posture and stature. These ailments led to a permanent foot-drop in 2010 that is irreparable and requires him to wear a brace.
Back in 1968 Ernie married his wife, Linda. They had a daughter named Tracie and a son named Mac. In May of 2021, Ernie’s wife passed away. His daughter reminded him about the AFRH in Gulfport. After filling out his application, he moved in to AFRH-G on September 23, 2021.
Through the years, Ernie had written down in a notebook many of his interesting encounters When he completed this notebook, his son and daughter had published it and the book is entitled “Fixin to Move,” a compilation of vignettes of Ernie’s lifetime as a sharecropper’s son.