Sally Theresa Lowery

December 17, 1932 ~ July 9, 2021 (age 88)


Sally Lowery died peacefully on July 9, 2021 at the age 88 at her home in Moraga, California. To

her husband of 67 years, Bill, her four sons, 13 grandchildren and many friends, Sally will be

remembered for her kindness, curiosity, graciousness and irreverent sense of humor. But

above all, for her smile; there was really nothing like it. She loved to have fun, had a great

sense of adventure, and being around her always left you feeling better.

Sally Teresa Diefenderfer was born on December 17, 1932 in San Francisco to George and

Margaret (McGrath) Diefenderfer. Margaret and George’s marriage was short-lived, and Sally

spent her early childhood living in various remote California locations where her mother taught

elementary school and music. They eventually found their home in La Grange, California after

her mother married Joe Rosasco, a cattle rancher whose family had settled in the area in the

mid-1800s. It was here that Sally learned to ride and appreciate the beauty and solitude of the

outdoors along with her sisters Nona, Louise and Robyn. Seeking a better high school

education than LaGrange could offer, Sally moved to San Francisco to attend Saint Rose

Academy, where she lived with her mother’s sister Francis O’Brien Baxter and her husband

Terrence Baxter. She attended Modesto Junior College and graduated from the University of

Southern California in 1954 where she was a Kappa Alpha Theta. It was while attending

Modesto Junior College that she met and fell in love with William E Lowery (Bill); Sally and Bill

married in October, 1954. After a honeymoon trip through the southern States, the newlyweds

settled in Fort Benning, Georgia where Bill was stationed as an Army medic. Sally had her first

baby 12 months after tying the knot and, against the advice of her doctors, had three more

over the next nine years. After a few stops including Midland, Michigan and Costa Mesa,

California, the family eventually settled in Orinda, California in 1963.

In Orinda, Sally was in her element. As Bill traveled extensively for work, Sally took on most of

the responsibilities of raising four boys while actively participating in social and philanthropic

activities and becoming an integral part of the larger Orinda community. She was a loving

mother to her sons as well as the adopted mom to a cast of young characters who cycled in and

out of 4 Via Callados over the years. Sally always went out of her way to make others feel

comfortable, and she was genuinely interested in talking about almost anything with anyone.

She was beautiful inside and out, humble and gracious. She always encouraged the boys to

embark on new adventures and revelled along with them and their friends in their recounting.

And whether scaring off older bullies, calming overexcited parents, or running interference

from local law enforcement, her support for her children was unwavering.

Sally had many interests, which she pursued with joy and gusto. She loved music, learned to

play guitar in her 30’s, and eagerly contributed her beautiful soprano voice to the Orinda

Women’s Choral. Her great affinity for animals, especially birds, inspired her to work as a

docent for the Alexander Lindsay Jr Museum for many years. She and Bill shared a love for the

outdoors and athletics, a passion they passed on to their children and grandchildren. The

Lowery crew spent many weekends at Tahoe or Monterey, often with friends, and it is easy to

picture Sally skiing down a mogul run at Squaw, running on the beach, or returning a serve on

the Sleepy Hollow tennis court. Sally and Bill traveled extensively around the world, including

trout fishing in Patagonia and skiing in the Italian Alps. As the boys moved on to raise their own

families, Sally and Bill spent much of their time at their mountain house in White Hawk or in


Sally was very proud of her 13 grandchildren and enjoyed playing with them as children

watching them become adults. They considered her, in their own words to be a ‘pioneer’, a

‘queen’ and a ‘storyteller’ who was ‘powerful’, ‘courageous’, ‘witty’, ‘uplifting’, ‘rambunctious’,

‘resilient’, ‘patient’ and ‘inimitable’. She also remained close throughout her life with her

siblings including brothers George and Alex Diefenderfer and sisters Louise Rosasco

Cunningham, Robyn Rosasco Jensen, Lesley Diefenderfer Birch and Gretchen Diefenderfer.

Sally is survived by her husband Bill and sons Billy (Laurie), Bob, Mike (Mary) and J.P. (Priscilla);

daughter-in-law Elizabeth Lowery; her sisters Louise Jones, Lesley Birch and Gretchen

Diefenderfer; grandchildren Gavin Lowery, Connor Lowery, Brenna Lowery, Joe Lowery, Katie

Lowery, Sarah Lowery, Kristen Lowery, Brady Lowery, Molly Lowery, Colby Lowery, Liam

Lowery, Aidan Lowery, and Rowen Lowery, and many nieces, nephews and dear friends in

California and across the United States.

A celebration of Sally’s life will be announced at a later date.

To plant a tree in memory of Sally Theresa Lowery, please click here.


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