Cover photo for SFC James "Big Jim" Fowler, U.S. Army (Retired)'s Obituary
SFC James "Big Jim" Fowler, U.S. Army (Retired) Profile Photo
1953 SFC James "Big Jim" Fowler, U.S. Army (Retired) 2023

SFC James "Big Jim" Fowler, U.S. Army (Retired)

January 9, 1953 — August 30, 2023

St. Pauls

In Loving Memory of James Ronald Fowler

It is with heavy hearts, and profound sadness, that we announce the passing of a beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, James Ronald Fowler, who left us on August 30th, 2023. Jim was not only a retired military man but also a beacon of love, humor, and friendship in the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Jim was born on January 9th, 1953 in Portsmouth, Virginia to Wilfred Fowler and Helen Marie Babbin Fowler. He is preceded in death by his parents, and by his brother Milton Francis Spencer, and he is survived by his brother John Robert Fowler and sister Patricia Lee Fowler Kellogg.

Jim was a devoted husband to Karen Elizabeth Gibbs Fowler, cherishing his devoted wife for fifty years, and creating a lifetime of wonderful memories together. 

Jim was a loving father to Kathleen Fowler, James Ronald Fowler II, Sara Caroline Forrest, Kristina Marie Clemente, Joshua Remington Fowler, Miranda Jean Peterson, and Emily Ardell Lefevers. He was also a very proud grandfather to eighteen grandchildren, and great-grandfather to five great-grandchildren. He was a pillar of strength and a source of wisdom; he was a legend. He shared a deep bond with his family, filling their lives with unconditional love, and guidance. 

Jim grew up in a military family, having many adventures in the canyons behind his home in San Diego and was enrolled in ROTC for three years at Madison High School. He became a true hero in his unwavering commitment to his country, which led to his distinguished twenty-one years of service in the United States Army. His sense of duty and sacrifice left an indelible mark on those he served alongside, earning him the respect and admiration of many. He served in many trainings and deployments including Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989-1990) and in Operation Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), with his family standing by his side. He taught his children the importance of patriotism and loyalty; respect and love for their country. These values inspired the development of another generation of proud military families. 

But beyond his military service, Jim had a true gift for bringing joy to the lives of those around him. His sense of humor was infectious, whether it was a well-timed prank or an inappropriate joke, he had an uncanny ability to make everyone smile. Jim had a variety of passions and interests, from guns and car mechanics to farming and gardening. He loved taking his family to church and enjoyed reading historical novels, watching sci-fi movies, and spending time with his beloved dogs. Additionally, he had a strong intuition and faith in God that led him to serve many years in the LDS church in a large variety of capacities. He found great peace in the teachings of the scriptures. 

One of Jim’s most notable attributes was his ability to be a creative thinker. He liked complex problems and enjoyed a good challenge. As a young man, he made the most of situations and would study up to find solutions, reading many books, and taking trips to the library until he found a solution. He thrived on planning projects like building a canoe, and creating new adventures like hiking through the caves of Mount Saint Helens. He also followed his passion for ranching and created a property rich with varying livestock and crops over the past decade. This homestead became a gathering place for many wonderful family adventures.

He was a man's man, who worked hard to earn his master’s degree, became a professor of Communication Studies, and moved on to work for innovative companies such as IBM, Pyxis, Duke University, and Shippensburg University.

Jim will forever be remembered for his witty humor, his generosity, and his pride in his family.  He possessed the rare gift of making deep and lasting connections with people from all walks of life. His kindness, loyalty and willingness to lend a helping hand endeared him to countless individuals. He was always there when you needed a friend, a brother, or simply someone to share a laugh with. In our grief, let us remember the joy he brought into our lives. He leaves behind a legacy of love, laughter and camaraderie that will live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know him. May Jim’s soul return to his bride and family, and may his memory continue to light our way in the darkness until we meet again.

A funeral service to honor the life and legacy of James Fowler will be held at Hudson Funeral Home on Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 2:00 p.m., with a Visitation held an hour prior from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Officiating will be Rev. Todd Going. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

 In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to a GoFundMe that was set up in his honor. https://www.gofundme.com/f/honoring-the-life-of-james-fowler

To send flowers to the family in memory of SFC James "Big Jim" Fowler, U.S. Army (Retired), please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, September 23, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Hudson Funeral Home and Cremation Services

211 S Miami Blvd, Durham, NC 27703

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Funeral Service

Saturday, September 23, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Hudson Funeral Home and Cremation Services

211 S Miami Blvd, Durham, NC 27703

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Saturday, September 23, 2023

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