11/21/2011 - Passing of Dr. Jack Fowler - Obituary and Dr. David Potts' remarks
The Judson community has been saddened by theloss of a long-serving professor, Dr. Jack Fowler.
Dr. Thomas Jackson “Jack” Fowler, of Marion, wasborn on August 13,1933 in Panola,Alabama to the late Travis Emmettand Juanita Davidson Fowler. He passed away on Thursday, November 10, 2011 atthe age of 78.
Funeral services were held on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 1p.m. at Siloam BaptistChurch in Marion with the Rev. John Nicholsonofficiating and Kirk Funeral Homes directing. Burial followed in Pine CrestMemorial Gardens.Pallbearers included Thomas J. Fowler, II, Albert Barkmann, Albert Barkmann,IV, Erica Barkmann, David Drummond, and Jimmy Johnson, Jr. Honorary pallbearersincluded Dr. Doug Hallbrooks, Dr. William Shane Lee, and the faculty and staffof Judson College.
Below are remarks made at the funeral service by Judson President Dr. David Potts:
We extend the condolences ofthe College to Maxine, the children and the entire family.
A Devoted Professor andFriend
An invitation to ThomasJackson Fowler was extended by Dean Smart on March 28, 1966 to join the facultyas Department Head of Psychology at JudsonCollege.
That invitation has its rootsin decisions and study in favor of his calling, dreams and ambitions from muchearlier moments in Dr. Fowler’s life.
Graduating from Greene CountyHigh School, he was admitted to Livingston State Teachers College on December1, 1951, graduating with honors, (in my opinion – although not indicated ontranscript).Enrolling in University of Alabama, earning two Master of Artsdegrees in 1957 and 1964, and completing the Doctor of Education degree in Counselingand Guidance in 1966. His dissertationtitle was – “Counselor Effectiveness in Relation to Role Concept andPsychological Needs.”
Because of his academicachievements, he was inducted into both Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Delta Kappa at Uof A.He was a member of the American Psychological Association. He was published in the journal, Applied Psychology, The Phi Delta Kappan, TheAlabama Baptist, the AlabamaConsortium for Humanities and Public Policy, and Judson’s own Scrimshaw.
Thankfully, Dr. Fowleraccepted the invitation of Dean Smart.He and Maxine arrived in Marionin the summer of 1966 to begin his teaching career that fall semester. In 1969, he was promoted to Chair of theSocial Science Division of the college, a position that he held for the next 35years, spanning five decades. Duringthis time, he would serve the college in many other ways, chairing importantcommittees (including self-study committees for accreditation), serving on theAcademic Council, chairing the faculty and staff components of majorfundraising campaigns, and leading the faculty and the college as InterimAcademic Dean.
Dr. Fowler was a wonderfulteacher. His students and his peerswould recognize him on multiple occasions for classroom teaching. He received the Mary Gibson Thompson Awardand the Holley Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching, the highest awardsgiven by Judson College for such recognition. Students for more than forty years were introducedto creative internships in mental health settings, taught about human behavior,and instructed in methods to improve the human condition. Jack would say that “it is our nature tonurture.”
He once wrote an article atthe request of the editor of the AlabamaBaptist, entitled “Why I Teach at a Baptist College.”
“Recently I was asked why I teach at a Baptistcollege. My reasons can be summed up inthree words – fairness, fellowship, and fulfillment.
By fairness, I mean what is traditionally known as academicfreedom in the academic world and the college community. I genuinely believe that I have a muchgreater measure of academic freedom teaching at Judson Collegethan I would have at almost any other college or university I know, includingboth private and public, denominational and secular.By valuing academic freedom this way, I do not refer tothat which many people unfortunately equate with academic freedom – the licenseto do nothing, lack of conviction, lack of loyalty, atheism, and general irresponsibility,among other things.
When the college promotes academic freedom, it demonstratesits trust in the professor or teacher. It assumes the person will exercise responsibility in the discharge ofhis duties, and that he will behave responsibly and maturely in the academiccontext to which he has committed himself. Only under these conditions may the person experience therelease of his most creative potential and resources.By fellowship, I mean the opportunity to be associated withcolleagues – faculty, administration, staff, and students, as well as communityand constituency, whose values and belief systems complement and enhance myown.
Further, I mean the opportunity to be part of a fellowshipunited in Christian purpose and action, which is, in part, the emergence of theJudson woman, the whole woman, physically, socially, intellectually, andspiritually sound.
I became a Christian about the age of 12, and I have alwaysbeen a part of Alabama Baptist endeavor. One of my richest experiences of fellowship has been the sharing ofChristian experience with others, and the development of deep, lasting,personal friendships.
This kind of fellowship, among other things, provides thesense of fulfillment.
Teaching is my “first love.” And having the chance to make a contributionby teaching in a Baptist college is a uniquely gratifying experience. JudsonCollege allows me to growintellectually, to pursue my interests, to grow personally and professionally,and to know fulfillment in a variety of ways.The highest fulfillment, of course, is being in the will ofGod. If one is called to Christianservice as a professor in a Baptist college, then I am convinced that myidentification with JudsonCollege has been trulyand richly blessed, and I am grateful for this.”
Jack Fowler was our colleague,our mentor, our teacher, our friend. Inthe finest of Judson’s traditions and in the words of Milo P. Jewett, he was“of Christ.”
We thank God for every remembrance of him!