RIP to Sean Lowe, always the toughest guy in the room
The disease he battled for the last six years finally won last week, claiming Sean Lowe's physical being. But in the immortal words of Jimmy V, cancer never touched his mind, never touched his heart and never touched his soul.
Sean Lowe — Ledyard High Hall of Famer and always the toughest guy in the room — was 44 last week when he died. There should be no words. But then, this is Sean Lowe. There would have to be words.
"He knew everybody. He was a talker," Lowe's cousin and former St. Bernard quarterback Ed Roderick said earlier this week. "Sean could remember stories. He always embellished. He'd tell the fish story and it kept getting bigger. We joked about it even when he was dying. He said, 'hey, nobody wants to hear about a small fish.'"
Lowe, an all-state wrestler, was perhaps better known in town as a centerpiece for the 1993 undefeated football team. Teammate and best friend Gary Pendleton called him "the toughest guy I ever met," and frankly, there are no arguments forthcoming from anywhere about that one.
"The toughest guy on the field or life in general," said Pendleton, also a member of the 1993 team. "He exceeded every time frame doctors gave him to live."
Lowe, who joined the military after his days in Ledyard, came back home and was a bartender and later manager of Lucky's and Shrine at Mohegan Sun. The perfect job for the people person. Life was pretty good. He had his sister, Megan; brother, Ryan; brother-in-law (and former Ledyard teammate) Myron LeAnna; niece Jaelyn; and nephew, Keegan. And all his Ledyard boys.
"Sean was always into his body. I'm not," Roderick said. "We lived together 12 years ago. He was always yelling at me, 'let's go run! You gotta eat better!' That's the most shocking part of all this. It turns out that the cancer was genetic."
Lowe died with family and friends around him.
"Multiple people were taking care of him. That's the kind of impact he had," Pendleton said. "Megan, Ryan and Myron were phenomenal. He got to be around his niece and nephew and I know that meant a lot to him."
Roderick: "It shows what he meant to everybody. People taking care of him shifts in his last weeks. They all have families and young kids. But the loyalty and the respect they had for Sean and for each other — it's really something."
Lowe was ever-quotable in his time at Ledyard, a senior in high school who was precocious enough to still be a kid but could carry on conversation (often hilariously so) with people considerably older. He was the go-to quote guy on the 1993 team, among the best this corner of the world has ever watched.
Ledyard defeated Fitch in Nov. 1993 in perhaps the best game in the history of the Eastern Connecticut Conference. It was 46-40. Pendleton made a fourth-down catch that may be the greatest single play in the history of a four-time championship program — a play all the Fitch guys still lament to this day.
But it was after Ledyard throttled Guilford in the championship game that Lowe made sure to say this while the cameras were rolling: "No disrespect to Guilford, but Fitch is WAY better than these guys!" he said, drawing laughs all around.
Pendleton tells a great story about the night before that Fitch game. They hatched a plan to get on Fitch's field and make Ledyard's presence felt.
"Two knuckleheads," Pendleton said. "When we got to Fitch, we found out that all the stories were true that we'd been hearing about an expanded police presence."
Friends and family plan a celebration of life later in the spring.
There is simply no explaining the death of a 44-year-old bon vivant who made the people in his sphere happier, just by showing up. He'll always be one of my favorites, too. Why you do this job in the first place. To meet kids like that and watch them grow into men.
"It didn't matter where we went," Roderick said. "Boston, Hartford, New York City. Sean always found somebody he knew. Or if he didn't, he'd find something in common with somebody else. He wasn't perfect. But a good person."
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
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