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Jack Dwight Lowrey

February 1, 1933 ~ January 4, 2018 (age 84)
The lights went out in the theater for the last time for Jackie Dwight Lowrey on Jan. 4, 2018. Born on Feb. 1, 1933, Jack was the only child of Dorothy "Big Dot" Frazier and John Lowrey.

Survivors include his husband, Tim Johnston, who stood lovingly by Jack's side since 1976; and Jack's son Todd Lowrey of Greenwood.

Jack was a 1952 Russellville High School graduate. While in the RHS Band, he played the alto saxophone and also marched with the Arkansas Tech Band. He loved music and later marched with the Arkansas Razorback Band while attending the University of Arkansas as a journalism major. After college, he joined the family business, which owned and operated movie theaters in the Arkansas River Valley.

Jack's father, John, would travel to check on the theaters, which included a theater in Bentonville, where he would often visit with Sam Walton. Later, Jack would perform this task and visit The Joy in Dardanelle, The Lowrey, The Main, and The Ritz in downtown Russellville. The Ritz was bought from Malco Theaters and was quite exciting for the family. Jack was a trailblazer in his industry and desegregated The Ritz in 1958 by closing the colored entrance to the balcony. The opening night of the Picwood in 1971 showed "Fool's Parade" with Jimmy Stewart and "Support Your Local Gunfighter" with James Garner and Jack Elam.

Named for being the "picture in the woods," the Picwood was a state-of-the-art theater with J.O. Buckley oil painting murals in the lobby of celebrities, a crystal chandelier, motorized cascading velvet curtains, and the best popcorn popped on site. The Picwood box office greeters of Big Dot and Rubynelle Dunn left an impression on many a youth. The original two theaters expanded to three in 1977, and then to seven in 1988, and then to 11 in 1991, before selling to UEC Theaters.

Jack was well known in the movie business, having been the president of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association of Theater Owners.

A celebration of Jack's life for friends and family will be conducted from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10 at Todd Sweeden's Belle Helene Bess at 214 East 5th St., Russellville.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Human Rights Campaign or the River Valley Arts Center. Online obituary and guestbook may be found at

Cemetery Details

Rest Haven Memorial Park
2500 S Knoxville
Russellville, AR, 72802

Celebration of Life

JAN 10. 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Belle Helene Bess, Todd Sweeden's Home

214 East 5th St

Russellville, AR, US, 72801

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