‘He was a light’: Kyle Whittingham and the Utes say goodbye to Aaron Lowe at Texas funeral

The Utes’ defensive back was laid to rest Monday afternoon in his hometown in Texas

(Brandon Wade | AP) Friends and family pay their respects to Aaron Lowe during a funeral service at Family Cathedral of Praise, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Mesquite, Texas. Lowe, a student and football player at the University of Utah, was was shot and killed on Sept. 26 at a post-game party.

Dallas • Aaron Lowe spent much of his life wearing a football uniform whether he was playing for the Lil Chiefs, G-Men Tigers or West Mesquite High School.

That is how Lowe will rest, too.

With friends, family and his University of Utah teammates in attendance, the 21-year-old Lowe was laid to rest in a white University of Utah uniform with red numerals, white pants, calf-length white socks and red cleats. A football with an NFL logo will be tucked under his left arm forever.

“He approached life with clear eyes and a full heart,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Monday afternoon at Family Cathedral of Praise, where Lowe’s funeral was held.

“We won’t get over it, but we will get through it.”

Jaime R. Carrero| Special to The Tribune Members of the University of Utah Football team serve as pall bearers for their teammate Aaron Lowe who was shot and killed in Salt Lake City on September 26, 2021. The funeral services took place at the Family Cathedral of Faith in Mesquite Texas. Lowe was a former player at West Mesquite HS.

Lowe was shot and killed during a Sugar House party early on Sept. 26 after a fight broke out when uninvited guests were reportedly asked to leave the party. Lowe had been invited to the party and was said to be an innocent bystander in the shooting.

A suspect has been arrested.

Lowe, a reserve defensive back with the Utes who played primarily on special teams, is survived by his parents, three brothers and a sister.

The Utah football team, which left Salt Lake City this morning, arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport about 12:30 p.m. and took four buses to the funeral.

Before they arrived, a video montage of photos played on a loop, while Dietrich Haddon’s “Well Done” played in the background.

Utah’s players, coaches and support staff arrived about 2 p.m. They walked somberly through the church’s foyer, which was filled with images of Lowe.

On the left were two eight-foot tables filled with pictures of Lowe, and as they walked into the sanctuary they were greeted by four more large photos of Lowe, each sitting on an easel.

As the players entered the sanctuary to view their teammate, brother and friend for the final time, they filled up the left half of the sanctuary. Five footballs rested in front of the casket and on the dais was a red, white and gray Utah helmet, two red Utah jerseys, two large photos of Lowe and a huge red ‘U”.

(Brandon Wade | AP) Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham memorializes Aaron Lowe during a funeral service at Family Cathedral of Praise, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Mesquite, Texas. Lowe, a student and football player at the University of Utah, was was shot and killed on Sept. 26 at a post-game party.

After Lowe’s teammates sat down, Lowe’s family then filed in and filled up the right side of the sanctuary.

Many wore white T-shirts with Utah’s red interlocking U’s on the front. On the back of the shirt was Lowe’s name and number — 22 — and a Bible verse. Romans: 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Lowe was described by his teammates as a loyal friend and more than one player said Lowe was the big brother they always wanted.

But he was known throughout the Utah program for his infectious attitude and ready smile. As Whittingham fought back tears, he raised the program in his right hand and stared at it.

“Just look at that smile,” he said. “Aaron, we love you and we miss you.”

University president Taylor Randall said, “A few days ago, we had a vigil for Aaron on our campus and we lit the “U” we do that when we have victories. We lit that for Aaron because his mom told me he was a light in everyone’s life.

“When he walked in that room, you saw his smile and he lit it up. For me, I like to look at a life that was well-lived, a life that was lived with family and community — and a life that meant something to me. Even though, as the president of the university, I didn’t know that young man very well, he was a light. I can see his smile.”

Jaime R. Carrero| Special to The Tribune University of Utah Cornerback Aaron Lowe’s mother Donna Lowe, is supported by her two sons during the funeral for her son at the Family Cathedral of Faith. Lowe was killed in Salt Lake City on September 26 , hours after their victory over Washington State. Lowe was a former West Mesquite HS football player.

This has been a difficult 10 months for Utah’s football program. The Utes lost star freshman running back Ty Jordan last December on Christmas Day in what Denton, Texas, police ruled an accidental shooting.

Now, they’ve lost Lowe.

Lowe and Jordan grew up together in Mesquite, Texas, 20 miles east of Dallas, where they played high school football together at West Mesquite High School.

Lowe, a sophomore, who wore No.2, had changed to No. 22 this season to honor Jordan.

Lowe had been the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a student-athlete who exemplifies the inspiring qualities that Jordan displayed through his work ethic, positivity and perseverance through adversity.

“Ty made everyone around him better,” Lowe said after receiving the scholarship. “He made me better. My friendship with Ty means a lot because he was always pushing me to be my best. He never let me settle for less. I want to make sure his legacy lives on through me.”

Whittingham said like Jordan, a scholarship has been created in Lowe’s name at Utah. He also said No.22 will be retired.

Cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Sharrieff Shah spoke passionately about what Lowe meant to him. He said Lowe embodied three things.

“He was intensely optimistic,” Shah said, “He always asked me at the end of a conversion, ‘Do you still love me coach?’ and he always said, ‘I’ll do better.’”

The optimism, said Shah, helped Lowe fight through the adversity that life inevitably presents every person. And Lowe always wanted to know the love Shah had for him wasn’t that conditional. Finally, when presented with criticism, Lowe always pledged to improve and he’d tell Shah his plan to get better.

Lowe, who had a 3.6 GPA last semester, received his communications degree posthumously.

“He was so curious about his communications degree. He took such care of the people that were behind him,” athletic director Mark Harlan said. “He was a special young man. Thank you for sharing him. Thank you for letting him be a part of us for the time that we had.”