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Virtual memorial for Richard "Omar" Lowry to be held Friday morning

Virtual memorial for Richard "Omar" Lowry to be held Friday morning
Photo credit:
Rikke Photography

A virtual memorial will be held this Friday, May 8 at 10 am to honor the life of Richard "Omar" Lowry, who passed away Monday morning after a long battle with an illness. The virtual event will include the lowering of the Hillcrest Pride Flag to half staff in Lowry's honor.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Lowry was a trailblazer in San Diego's LGBT community. He was elected the first emperor of the Imperial Court de San Diego in 1973, alongside the legendary Empress I Tawny Tan. He was also a former owner of popular Hillcrest bar Number One Fifth Ave. until he sold the bar in 2019. Lowry also owned Club San Diego.

As an incredibly generous member of the community, Lowry regularly contributed to numerous charities and helped out whenever he could. In fact, the Imperial Court de San Diego created "Emperor Omar's Closet" in 2018 at Florence Elementary School, a room that stores free school supplies, clothes, canned food, hygiene supplies, shoes, and more for children and their families in need.

Rikke Bahena, who served as general manager of Number One Fifth Avenue for several years up until Lowry sold the bar, said that Lowry was a communty pioneer.

[Omar] was one of the very first pioneers to build, defend and help the amazing community we are now ... I just want to say thank you for being such an amazing friend, boss and a father figure for so many years. For being generous, kind and understanding. For letting me be in charge of your business for almost ten years. For giving us the freedom to demonstrate how exceptional and successful we were and embracing my ideas because you believed in me. For always being supportive in so many ways and being such a good story teller. Always having a good joke from the good old days. For caring so much about the community. For being there when I needed you. Thank you Omar! I know you had a great life... I will always cherish all the great moments with you. I love you always and I will be forever grateful.

Nicole Murray-Ramirez, Queen Mother of the International Imperial Court and close friend of Lowry's for decades shared that when she spoke to Lowry shortly before his passing, he relayed to her that he had no regrets and had lived a great life. 

"My heart is broken but I know he is at peace," said Murray-Ramirez.

A larger community celebration of life will be held at a later date but community members are encouraged to tune in Friday morning to honor Lowry.

The live stream event can be viewed on San Diego Pride's Facebook page or at sdpride.org/live.