GAINESVILLE, FL — (01-16-23) — Craig Lowe, Gainesville’s first openly gay mayor and major advocate for human rights was found dead Saturday morning, he was 65.

Craig Lowe’s untimely death went viral around town over the weekend, with former colleagues and friends sharing their memories of the iconic former elected leader.

“There are few people in Gainesville who were stronger, more thoughtful advocates for a difficult cause than Craig Lowe,” said Pegeen Hanrahan, former Mayor of Gainesville who served with Lowe for two terms and preceded his time as mayor. “Craig was prepared, hardworking, strategic and understood how to get things done.” said Hanrahan.

Lowe spent much of his early life in the Atlanta region, where he attended the University of Georgia and earned a degree in soil science.

In 1982, Lowe moved to Gainesville and began his studies at the University of Florida, earning a master’s degree in zoology.

In 2003, Craig Lowe made history becoming the first openly Gay politician elected to the Gainesville City Commission for District 4.

Lowe made history once again when he was elected as mayor in 2010. As part of his LGBTQ activism during that time, Lowe was proactive about ensuring that LGBTQ individuals had equal opportunities for employment, housing and other public accommodations.

“Craig Lowe was one of the smartest policy minds the city has ever had,” said Lauren Poe, former Gainesville mayor who served with Lowe. “He was humble and always focused on how to help the most vulnerable. Our community is so much better for his service.” said Poe.

Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward added…“Craig Lowe was a dedicated, progressive public servant, and he loved this city and the people who live here. When I first ran for office I asked Craig for advice, and I always appreciated his counsel.” said Ward.

Lowe is survived by his brother, Allan, and close friends.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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