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Wife of civil rights leader Joseph Lowery dies after stroke

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Evelyn Gibson Lowery, the wife of civil rights leader Joseph Lowery and a social activist in her own right, died at her Atlanta home early on Thursday after suffering a stroke last week, her family said. She was 88.

Her husband was a former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an Atlanta-based civil rights organization formed in 1957 by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders as bus boycotts across the U.S. South signaled a new era in the movement for racial equality.

In 1979, Evelyn Lowery founded a sister organization, SCLC/Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. to focus on the rights of women, children and families.

"She was a wonderful mother and wife and I thank God that she didn't suffer any pain and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidant and my best friend for close to 70 years," Joseph Lowery said in a statement. "I will miss her each and every day, but as a man of faith, I know that she is with her God."

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Bob Burgdorfer)