James Stevens Fowler, 58, went to his eternal home following a courageous battle with bladder cancer on Saturday, May 18, 2013, with his wife and children at his side. Jim was born March 26, 1955, in Janesville. He graduated from Craig High School in 1974 and earned his bachelor of science degrees in math, political science and computer science from UW-Eau Claire in 1978. It was at UW-Eau Claire where Jim met Ann Mary Talbot while living in the same residence hall on lower campus. They were married on Jan. 26, 1980, at the Ecumenical Religious Center on the UW-Eau Claire campus and began their life together in Sheboygan.
Jim began his professional career as a systems analyst for the Kohler Company and went on to do systems consulting work for a number of firms in the Milwaukee area. After moving to Sheboygan Falls in 1981, Jim was active in the Sheboygan Falls Jaycees for a number of years before moving to West Bend with Ann and their son James, Jr. (born in 1985) in 1990. Daughter Katharine came along in 1991. After over 20 years in the computer systems world, Jim changed careers to become an in-home caregiver through Visiting Angels. Over the next 10 years, Jim helped quite a number of adults with various needs stay in their homes as long as they could. He also drove a medical transport van part time for Life Star for a number of years.
Jimís faith was strong and it directed his life. Jimís passion was being of service to people through his many ministries at St. Frances Cabrini parish and through the archdiocese of Milwaukee in a number of capacities. Being a caregiver all those years provided him with more opportunities to live out his faith and service to others. He was in the choir for many years, was a lector and an extraordinary minister of communion, did communion calls at St. Josephís Hospital, served on parish council, human concerns committee, sponsored a child for many years with their sister parish in Haiti, was an adult server and trained young servers along with daughter Katharine for a number of years. Jim and Ann worked with engaged couples for a number of years and were sponsors for the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program at St. Frances Cabrini. He was also a volunteer for Family Promise when St. Frances Cabrini hosted. He was an active member of Voices for Justice board, Catholics for Peace and Justice as well as the Washington County Peace Seekers. Jim served as honorary chairperson for the 2012 Relay for Life in West Bend, an event that he and Ann had participated in for many years as a cancer survivor. Jim served on the West Bend Community Library Board for three years, two years as its president, a role he thoroughly enjoyed and was well respected for his stand on a number of issues, most recently opposing concealed guns in the library.
Jim had a great sense of humor and had a gift for making people laugh. He was a good listener and sounding board for many. He also had a passion for politics, which he passed on to both of his children. Jim also wrote poetry and composed over 200 poems, many of which were put in cards and given to his wife Ann over the years for Christmas, Easter, Valentineís Day, their anniversary and her birthday. Jim was a lifelong Packer fan, played the piano, enjoyed watching reruns of M*A*S*H and Star Trek and was a huge fan of Red Skelton, Dick Van Dyke and Johnny Carson.
In addition to his wife Ann, he is survived by his son James (Julie) of Minneapolis, Minn., and daughter Katharine of St. Paul, Minn.; a grandson, Eero Fowler, his mother Ruth Schwartz of West Bend, one brother Ross Fowler of Memphis, Tenn., a sister-in-law, Carol Motluch, of Noblesville, Ind., brothers- in-law Mike (Jean) of Appleton, Patrick (Judy) of Cornell and Jack Talbot of Fond du Lac. He is further survived by nieces and nephews, and many friends.
He is preceded in death by his father, Ross Fowler, brother, Richard Fowler, nephew, Brian Fowler and his stepfather, Elmer Schwartz.
The family will greet relatives and friends at St. Frances Cabrini Church on Thursday, May 23, from 3:30-6:45 p.m. A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials to the West Bend Community Memorial Library Patrons Park, the St. Frances Cabrini Debt Retirement Fund or the American Cancer Society.
The Schmidt Funeral Home of West Bend is serving the family. Online guestbook and condolences available at www.schmidtfuneralhome.com.