Competing nationally in the Senior Games, and giving back

90-year-old Lowery Smith makes fitness and his Y community a priority.

In June, Lowery Smith headed to Albuquerque, NM, for the National Senior Games. Lowery qualified at the 2018 Minnesota Senior Games to compete in four events at the National Senior Games: Discus, Shot Put, Singles Racquetball and Doubles Racquetball. And this isn’t his first time—he also competed in the same events at the 2017 National Senior Games.

In terms of preparing for the National Games, Lowery does regular strength training at the Y. “If you show up, good things happen,” he says.

Good things indeed. Lowery brought home three medals from the 2019 National Senior Games—2 gold for Singles and Doubles Racquetball, 1 bronze for Shot Put, and a fourth-place finish in Discus.

A fan of fitness

“Sports are a passion for me—I’ve been a spectator at several sporting events, including the 1976 Olympics. I’ve always had an interest in track and field, which I participated in during high school and college,” Lowery explains.

Just having turned 90, physical fitness has been a regular part of his life for years. Lowery started going to the Minneapolis YMCA in the early 1960s. He started doing water aerobics with his wife, Mary Ann, in 1991 to work on strength and cardio health. They still attend Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes at 6:45am. When Lowery retired, he started his own business with an office next to the St. Paul Midway Y. And he’s been playing racquetball for many years.

Why the Y?

When asked what keeps him coming back to the Y, he says it’s the friendships he’s built with Y members. “I see guys I’ve known a long time at the Y, and we still give each other a hard time,” he laughs.

Lowery has served on the Midway Y board, and today, he is working with other Y volunteers and leaders to promote planned giving for the Y. He is inviting people to consider bequests and estate gifts for the YMCA—through a will, trust or retirement account beneficiary designation. These gifts are typically directed to the YMCA endowment, which supports the community for generations.

The Smiths want to see the Y mission and programs continue to grow, and the community continue to thrive. The Y is an important part of their lives, which is why they made a significant financial contribution when the Midway Y was rebuilt a few years ago—and why they have designated their own planned gift to the YMCA.

How to make a planned gift to the Y

To designate your own gift to the Y in your will or as a retirement account beneficiary:

  • Indicate the YMCA branch or camp endowment fund toward which you are directing your planned gift.
  • Also include: YMCA of the North*, 651 Nicollet Mall Ste. 500, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (Federal Tax ID 45-2563299).
  • Please contact a YMCA planned giving team member at for more information or to share your giving plans..

*The YMCA of the North is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and serves as the legal entity for all YMCA branches and camps.