Firefighter’s wife, aunt and friend killed hours before his funeral

Authorities in New York said a volunteer firefighter’s wife, aunt and friend were killed hours before his funeral. (Source: WWNY)
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 7:10 PM EDT
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RICHVILLE, New York (WWNY) - Hours before a volunteer firefighter’s funeral, his wife, aunt, and a friend were killed in a crash. To make matters worse, the wreckage was discovered by his uncle, who lost his own wife in the crash.

The amount of loss in the Gouverneur, Oxbow, and Richville communities is overwhelming. It begins with the recent sudden death of a 29-year-old volunteer firefighter and continues with a weekend crash killing 3, including his wife. They were just back in town for his funeral.

Jayson Lowery, who died suddenly from a brain condition, was laid to rest Saturday. He was a volunteer with the Oxbow and Richville fire departments and an emergency medical technician for the Gouverneur Rescue Squad.

Hours before his funeral, a vehicle filled with his loved ones crashed, killing his wife, his aunt, and a family friend.

To make matters worse, his uncle, Jim Henry, was the one to find the wreckage. Henry’s wife and daughter were in the vehicle.

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

Henry came across crash debris on Chub Lake Road in the town of Fowler early Saturday morning. He spotted a vehicle on its roof in the creek below.

He could hear his 14-year-old daughter, Joy, screaming for help. A volunteer with the Richville Fire Department, he sprang into action.

“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,” said Henry.

He pulled his daughter and 33-year-old Mark Hubbard of Rochester out of the wreckage. His daughter is fine, but Hubbard was badly injured.

Henry’s wife, 34-year-old Jackie Henry, and her best friend, 25-year-old Lorraine Stevens of Hermon died at Gouverneur Hospital.

His niece, 32-year-old Desiree Lowery of Potsdam, the wife of Jayson Lowery, was pronounced dead at the scene.

All of them had been driving back from Rochester, where they picked up Hubbard so he could attend Jayson Lowery’s funeral.

One of the first to arrive on the scene was Richville Fire Chief Corie Farr. Jayson Lowery and Jackie Henry were volunteers with the fire department.

“Just couldn’t believe that that could be happening, you know, to have a brother fireman that we’re laying in the ground that day and the to respond to a call and his wife and aunt were both in that vehicle...you just couldn’t wrap your mind around it,” said Farr.

Just hours later, Farr and his fellow firefighters attended the funeral for Jayson Lowery.

“It’s almost not just one person’s funeral. It was four people’s funeral,” said Farr.

There are now seven children who have lost parents. Jackie and Jim Henry have 4 daughters. Jayson and Desiree Lowery had three girls.

“We have to get the seven of them, the kids, to grieve together and to stick together and everybody will get through this,” said Virginia Lennox, Jayson Lowery’s mother.

The Lowery children will be placed in the care of an aunt.

As for what caused the crash, state police are still investigating.

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