William "Terry" Fowler

william fowler
William Terry Fowler (USAF, Retired), 77, of Fairfax, VA, and Norfolk, VA, passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on Thursday, September 8th at his home in Fairfax, VA. Born April 26th, 1945, in Norfolk, VA, he was the son of the late Bill and Carolyn Fowler.

Graduating from Norfolk Catholic High School in 1963, Terry went off to the Virginia Military Institute joining the class of 1967. “If ever there was a party man, “Fatty Cool-Fireplug” was one. From the swamps of Tidewater to the hills of Lexington.” Throughout his cadetship he was always involved in Institute and cadet activities, Swimming, Dive Team, Intramural sports, and clubs. Terry graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1967 and began his active-duty career with the United States Air Force. His first assignment was Roanoke Rapids Air Force Station in North Carolina, where he met and married his wife Brenda Cranford Fowler.

Terry served in the United States Air Force for 25 years. He attended Air War College in 1988 and was promoted to Colonel, "Below the Zone," one year early. Some of his many commendations include Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, AF Commendation Medal, AF Achievement Medal, AF Organizational Excellence Award, and National Defense Service Medal.

He was a member of the Military Officers Association, Knights of Columbus, and American Legion (Post 177). Terry was an active member of the Catholic Church, Mayor of Mavis cul-de-sac, and loved by all his neighbors and friends.

Surviving besides his beloved wife of 52 years, Brenda Cranford Fowler, are three sons, Kelly Fowler, Ryan Fowler, and Brennan Fowler; two daughter-in-laws, Kelly Fowler and Holly Fowler; four grandchildren, Kaelyn, Collin, Ivy and Zoe; his dog Ginger; three sisters, Ellen Moore, Margaret Kurtz, and Kay Hempel.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, September 21st at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 41685 Corpus Christi Dr., Aldie, VA 20105. The viewing will start at 10:30am, 11:00am service and Catholic Mass.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline

Guestbook

  1. Captains together at Seymour Johnson AFB North Carolina. He stayed Air Forcei and I retired early for other adventures but we always kept in touch. I was just chatting with him Tuesday and he is gone on Friday. Still in shock. God rest his Soul.
    Hank Hannigan
    Retired Attorney at Law

  2. During one occasion, Terry and Brenda joined Debbie, me and Sweetie, neighbors across the street in having dinner at the Ft. Myers officer’s club in Arlington, VA. It was Valentine’s Day of maybe 2015. There was a wonderful live band and Terry asked Sweetie to dance. Of course, it was a slow tune. But, Sweetie at 96 had not danced in many years. Yet, silver tongue and silky smooth talker, Terry, somehow managed to get her to the dance floor, where they dazzled the three of us looking on. I am convinced that Terry could sell evil to the devil, not that he’ll get the chance, undoubtedly having already talked his way beyond the pearly gates.

  3. A nearby neighbor’s wife was battling long term cancer and there were bills piling up. Her husband was retired at 75 and had to go back to work. Terry brought this to our neighbors appealing to their humanity and generosity. From “the hat” he retrieved about $1,500 and presented it to our friend in need. Terry did not flinch with the possibility that he might not be successful going door to door. And who could refuse that smile and face, and of course his bountiful use of calming words.

  4. Debbie and I moved across the street from the “Mavis Ct Mayor” in June 2012. Later, a few weeks before Christmas, we began outside decorating for the holiday. Prior to moving to Mavis Ct, we had always enjoyed plentiful decorating outside. I had decorated a large dogwood with thousands of mini-lights. Naturally, I continued this practice in our new home. In lieu of a dogwood, we have a very large Crape Myrtle tree which was much more difficult to decorate. I worked on it for over two weeks, daily, mostly after work. On day one, Terry arrived and said to me, ”Jack, we don’t do lights and decorations on this court, no one really is into that.” The implication being, “don’t do that for us, the neighbors won’t care.” My reply was “Well Terry, I’ve been doing this for thirty years, and I don’t give a sh__t what anyone else thinks…I do it because it gives Debbie and me pleasure, when complete; I will continue to do it until that is no longer the case or if I become physically unable. So, everyday Terry stood on the street and watched. After many days of watching me struggle (this was not an easy task, on a ladder 12 feet in the air, on a sloping yard) he yelled over, “Jack, I’m a believer; you must really love to do this.” I remained silent. When complete, after awhile, he and others began to love viewing the tree laden with nearly 5,000 lights. In fact, at a party we hosted, he presented us a framed photo of the tree, the only one I have. A few years later, on an uneven ladder that toppled over fours time, I splatted on the yard and the concrete driveway…resulting in a hip replacement. Yet, in the intervening years, one by one every house began adding outdoor lights and decorations. Now, we have one of the most beautifully lighted cul-de-sac in the area. A similar case can be made for adding flowers. Terry said with tongue in cheek, “Jack, before you moved in, we husbands in retirement, lived simply, with our honey-do list at a minimum. Now, because of you and Debbie we have to spend our fixed income on such things as shrubs, flowers, and holiday decorations, and get all hot and sweating taking care of them in the hot summer; thanks a lot, Jack” But, I knew he liked the changes; couch potatoes slimmed down as did the cash in their wallets. I smiled as I looked across the street at his beautiful flowers and colorful holiday adornments. I will keep one lighted candle in a window to remember my dear friend, who I am sure is smiling down at Mavis Ct, especially at Christmas.

  5. A Spirit Lives On

    I lost a really great friend today
    His heart against the odds gave way.

    I feel his smile, and see his laughter
    Awash with tears the morning after.

    The sense of loss yields not to despair
    ‘Cause In that moment I saw your image there.

    danced with Sweetie, you cared for Hazel
    But most of all seeking Brenda’s appraisal;

    Dispatched in love to her one and only: “Fatty Cool”
    Eternally yours; the only diver in her pool.

    He knew success as a “zoomie” implied
    Ensuring the brass remained satisfied.

    He kept the troops happy; more importantly
    The wives knew his word was their warranty.

    The Colonel gave up wing command to run commissaries
    Still besting those fliers and all contemporaries.

    With just a bit of bourbon we shared often;
    Confided he did, a secret carried to his coffin.

    Leaned forward I did to unwrap this puzzle
    From his lips to my ears; but first a short guzzle.

    “I learned the value of adaptation;
    Without yielding my values in frustration:

    Observe the peanut butter jars perfectly aligned
    On shelves and in life, imagination unconfined.”

    How many times have we heard “I understand”
    While listening to words spoken out of hand?

    As he pondered conciliatory choices
    Disarming most contemptuous voices

    More than these impressive qualities
    Enriched his soul, with all possibilities.

    While admirers saw a “rat” or “Fatty Cool”
    I saw a man who loved the golden rule

    As I sit in my “staff meeting” alone on the porch
    My glass in hand I reached to His chair and lit the torch

    In memory and love for the man I knew
    We’ll meet again if I can make it through.

  6. For the years of their beloved dog Lilly, nearly everyday Terry would take her outside in the front and/or back yard and “play ball” with Lilly. Terry had this wooden sling-like device that would toss that ball hundreds of feet, so Lilly could run till she dropped, retrieving, dropping the ball for the next throw. Unfortunately, Lilly’s life was cut short. All the neighbors loved her. You could set your watch at noon each day when the two would hit the field. As Lilly never let Terry forget his responsibilities for this daily event. When Lilly passed away, I penned this poetic tribute to both Lilly and Terry, and presented it framed along side a photo of Lilly.

    Situation Report (SITREP) From Lilly
    Sweet mommy and daddy, I only have time for a short SITREP
    I’ve just been so busy since my recent arrival
    As a newbie in dawg heaven, I don’t want to overstep
    But wanted you to know I’m havin’ a wonderful revival

    With George, Scotty, Molly, and Casey
    And I do believe around me ran Magic
    Even while I never knew them you see
    They wanted me to know my dying was not tragic

    I do miss my family and friends
    But most ‘specially my 12 noon date with Terry
    When I could chase the ball into Audi’s yard without amends
    Or ride the wind to a throw way out of the ordinary

    Nothing could touch the magic of lake house trips
    The smells of the woods; the refreshing swims in the lake
    Lazing on the patio while mom and dad drank beer and ate chips
    I often dreamed about maybe one day you’d make me a steak

    I do think I’ll be happy here in dawg heaven
    Where there’s no end to the days
    And I don’t have to think about if I’ll turn seven
    I can swim, chase my tail, or simply take in the rays

    I am forever grateful for all your love
    That filled me up with such wonderful emotions
    And I am still watching you from here above
    Giving thanks for the gifts I was given during our daily devotions.

    Please don’t be sad for too long
    I am happy and healthy and having the time of my death
    Mixing the then and the now in my endless play along
    And loving all of you with every last breath
    Situation Report (SITREP) From Lilly

    Sweet mommy and daddy, I only have time for a short SITREP
    I’ve just been so busy since my recent arrival
    As a newbie in dawg heaven, I don’t want to overstep
    But wanted you to know I’m havin’ a wonderful revival

    With George, Scotty, Molly, and Casey
    And I do believe around me ran Magic
    Even while I never knew them you see
    They wanted me to know my dying was not tragic

    I do miss my family and friends
    But most ‘specially my 12 noon date with Terry
    When I could chase the ball into Audi’s yard without amends
    Or ride the wind to a throw way out of the ordinary

    Nothing could touch the magic of lake house trips
    The smells of the woods; the refreshing swims in the lake
    Lazing on the patio while mom and dad drank beer and ate chips
    I often dreamed about maybe one day you’d make me a steak

    I do think I’ll be happy here in dawg heaven
    Where there’s no end to the days
    And I don’t have to think about if I’ll turn seven
    I can swim, chase my tail, or simply take in the rays

    I am forever grateful for all your love
    That filled me up with such wonderful emotions
    And I am still watching you from here above
    Giving thanks for the gifts I was given during our daily devotions.

    Please don’t be sad for too long
    I am happy and healthy and having the time of my death
    Mixing the then and the now in my endless play along
    And loving all of you with every last breath

  7. Q: How did you meet William?

    A: I joined the USAF in 1987 and my first assignment was Ramstein Air Base which is where I began in early 1988 assigned to AFCOMS (Air Force Commissary Service). As a young airman I met Colonel Terry Fowler who was my commanding officer who represented authority, integrity, and true professionalism. It was not too long after my assignment that it was evident that Terry was not only my Commander but I picked up early that he was much more in that he was approachable, personable, and had a great sense of humor. The working relationship between Terry and I was top-notch and in a short time a mutual admiration and friendship was established. I have never met anyone in my military career who supported me in achieving my goals and aspirations and who provided me guidance as Terry had done with me as a young airman – he was my mentor then and up until his passing this month.

    When Terry and his family left Germany back to CONUS my path kept me in Germany for many more years where Terry and I had always stayed connected. My career and personal goals over the last 40+ years progressed and on occasion through social media Terry still took the time to reach out to me to ask of my well-being and say how proud he was of my progression over years as we exchanged messages, that is the kind of man Terry was – a class act.

    Upon receiving the terrible and unexpected news of Terry’s passing it left me with a feeling of shock and loss, he was such an admirable man. Specifically to Brenda but to all of the Fowler and extended family members you have my deepest sympathy during this difficult time

    My sincere condolences,

    Mike Engelhardt

  8. I met Terry and Brenda through my son, Scott Shirey. Scott and Brennan Fowler were best friend in high school. They remain close, all of these years later. The Fowler’s took Scott in and provided a home for him at a complicated and difficult time. Mr. Fowler was a tremendous positive influence on Scott, and a mentor/father figure. Scott enlisted in the Navy. He went on to work at the White House. He later did officer training, and Terry participated in his pinning ceremony. I love this family. I’m so sorry for this loss. This wonderful man made a difference. God bless this family as they grieve.
    My deepest condolences.
    Judy Becker

  9. We loved Terry and Brenda as our neighbors for over 31 years. We referred to him as “the Mayor of Mavis Court.” He was the best friend you could ever have. He was a great American who loved his family and his country. There will never be another Terry Fowler. May God welcome him into glory!❤️??✝️

  10. If ever there was someone I was proud to call “Friend” it was Terry. RIP, Brother Rat….save me a seat in the mess hall.

  11. If ever there was someone I was proud to call “Friend” it was Terry. RIP, Brother Rat….save me a seat in the mess hall.

  12. Terry was a dear friend. Not just as a Brother Rat while we were together at VMI, but throughout our “adult” years. He always reached out expressing sincere interest in how my life was going and updating me on his. He will be greatly missed among all his BR’s and those who were fortunate to call him a friend.

  13. Terry was a dear friend. Not just as a Brother Rat while we were together at VMI, but throughout our “adult” years. He always reached out expressing sincere interest in how my life was going and updating me on his. He will be greatly missed among all his BR’s and those who were fortunate to call him a friend.

  14. To the Fowler family. We were neighbors of Terry and Brenda for 20 years on Mavis Court in Fairfax. We experienced a wonderful relationship with them. Terry was a great guy and we enjoyed his humor and friendly nature. He fascinated us by always being involved in some kind of business project related to his USAF experience. He would often tell us about some new deal he was exploring. Prior to our move to Williamsburg in 2004, we had garage sales to downsize our household items. Terry was one of our best customers. One day he purchased something and asked if we would keep it until Brenda was out so he could take it home. She did not want him to load up on “stuff”. He was very funny arranging this deal. We made our move to Williamsburg May 2004, and I (Dave) stayed in touch with Terry by e-mail weekly for several years. When we heard he had passed, we were in a state of shock. We will remember the good times with him and our prayers are with his family. Respectfully, Dave and Ann Willey

  15. You have always beern a very close friend and and boss of mine. Your family was always part of my family and we loved and respected each other. Rest in peace my friend

    Bart Lopardi


Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools
hide