Roll of Honor

Robert E. Fowler

Robert E. Fowler

  • Spencerport Fire Department
  • New York
  • Year of Death: 1997

Submitted by Gail Fowler

Bob joined the Spencerport Volunteer Fire Department in 1974‚ shortly after we were married and made our home in Spencerport. He said he wanted to give back to the community. We didn’t live close enough for Bob to make the truck on most calls but he responded whenever he was home -even in the middle of the night for those dumpster fire ‘junk’ calls that nobody likes. When Bob became a 20 year life member in 1994‚ he could have cut down on the number of calls he made‚ but he didn’t. He felt that as a member he should be active.

Bob‚ not only went to fire calls‚ he also helped behind-the-scenes. He knew how important family support was to volunteer firemen and‚ therefore‚ how important it was for the fire department to support families. For many years‚ he organized the Christmas Party for the children of department members. He also worked on the annual Easter and Halloween Parties‚ including setting up the haunted house. Bob tried to be there when he was needed.

Friday‚ February 21‚ 1997 was an unusual day in Monroe County -the temperature rose to a pleasant 73 degrees! But overnight the temperature dropped drastically causing the winds to pick up. We were having a typical Saturday morning when‚ around 9 AM‚ the fire radio went off. The 70 mile per hour winds had blown out the windows of a store in the village. Bob and Tim‚ our 15 year old son‚ who was a fire explorer‚ jumped in the car and headed for the firehouse. As they headed for the firehouse a 40-foot tree was blown over by the wind and fell onto the length of the car‚ crushing it. Tim‚ sitting in the passenger seat‚ had ducked down and the airbag covered him‚ partially protecting him from the force. Bob‚ however‚ took the full blow and died instantly.

Bob was very outgoing. He enjoyed being a teacher. At 6’3”‚ he often towered over his sixth grade students. His mild manner and infectious smile‚ however‚ dispelled all fears. He brought fun into his math and science lessons. His classes checked out the number of each color of ‘M & M’ in a bag to learn fractions and probability. They hatched chicks. When the sixth grade studied the Middle Ages‚ Bob was willing to dress up as a court jester. Besides his teaching‚ he organized the school spelling bee‚ helped with kite making and flying‚ and even collected cross country skis so that he could take students skiing on the school campus after school. When he died‚ Bob was in his thirty-first year of teaching and many called him the ‘Gentle Giant’ of Byron-Bergen.

Bob‚ our two sons‚ Alan and Tim‚ and I enjoyed boating and camping. We spent vacations traveling around the states‚ visiting museums‚ famous places and national parks. Besides the fire department‚ we were active in scouting and church. Bob is our hero and we miss him every day.

  • (will not be published)

Memorial Wall

  1. Very loving tribute. Rest easy hero.

    – Roger Rozell Charbonneau
  2. I had Mr. Fowler in 6th grade and Mrs. Fowler in 7th grade. I was a brat, but you two were excellent teachers despite my bad attitude. God bless you Mrs. Fowler. Thank you for all you and your husband did for the community.

    – Daniel Anderson
  3. I was a volunteer in Spencerport that morning I just come through that same intersection I was one of the first on scene to help rescue your son and husband

    – Timothy Hare
  4. We were in cub scouts and boy Scouts with the Fowlers and they taught two of our four children. Bob made a big impression on our boys when he was Abe Lincoln. My dad was in the fire service in gates so I understand Bob’s dedication. The Fowlers are great people.

    – Bev Donovan
  5. Hello, Mrs. Fowler, I hope you are well! I will never forget social studies class with you, and will never forget receiving the Robert Fowler Memorial Scholarship my senior year. I knew what a great honor it was at the time, but have grown to appreciate it even more as I have gained a further appreciation of the role that volunteer firefighters play in our communities during my tenure at Mercy Flight. It is such a blessing that men and women like your husband exist among us, sacrificing so much – sometimes everything – and asking nothing in return. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Fowler, and for you as well!

    Very Sincerely,
    Scott Paul Wooton
    BBCS Class of 2000

    Scott P. Wooton
  6. I was in Mr. Fowler’s class the year he passed and I still talk about the Middle Ages jester! He will still remain one of my favorite teachers and what I inspire to be when I’m with kids! And the strength Mrs. Fowler had the following year teaching was also very empowering. His legacy lives on!

    – Angela (Tuper) O'Mara
  7. Mrs. Fowler-
    I love your tribute, I can’t believe it’s been 23 years. I hated math (still do) but Mr. Fowler made it fun and he was always there on skate night when they rolled in the big wooden boxes full of rental skates. He would skate around with us and it was the best fun! I’m so very sorry for you and your sons and I’m glad that you know how well he was loved by his students and the community.
    RIP Mr. Fowler, you are missed.

    – Gwen Istvan Corder
  8. I never had mr Fowler for a teacher but I always remembered how tall he was and how he dressed up like Abe Lincoln. I had mrs Fowler in 7th grade. I liked her. Even when she got irritated. Thoughts are with you and your family.

    – Tina (Straight) Radel
  9. Bob was a wonderful example of the kind of person we should all strive to be: honest, hardworking, loving, faithful and forthright. I shall remember him always as a friend, example and a teacher equaled any few. Bob and Gail were loved by my family. He is deeply missed by all.💝

    – Debi Thom
  10. I had Mr. Fowler in 6th grade back in 1994-95 I think. I remember showing Mr. Fowler magic tricks after school – he was so tall I remember being intimidated by his size at first, but he was a Gentle Giant and always kind hearted. It’s great to hear how civic minded he was — that’s not something I really understood at 12 years old, but I can tell now how much he gave to the community. He was a role model, I’m grateful to have been his student.

    – Sean Connelly
  11. Oh, Mrs. Fowler, this brought tears to my eyes. I was a student at BBCS even before you were married and I remember you both vividly. My favorite memories of Mr. Fowler were skate nights when he would show us how it was done and hold our hand if were afraid. I went on to a lot of skating after that. Mr. Fowler made everything fun! I’m so very sorry that he was taken from you before his time but he definitely impacted many, many lives while he was here.
    I hope you and your boys are well.
    Gwen Istvan Class of 80

    – Gwen Istvan Corder
  12. My wife and I attended the NFFF conference in Rochester from May17-19. The Spencerport fire dept provided a picnic style dinner to all of the attendees at which time I experienced a “garbage plate”- wow! Several days later and I am still full. Anyway….. every year we get a remembrance card from a NFFF volunteer reminding us that our son Kyle, will never be forgotten. Lo and behold….. who sent us the card this year?……GAIL FOWLER. I kept hearing the name Gail while at the dinner but paid it no mind. Upon returning home and rereading the card, well, I’ll just say it is a small world. Thank you for your husbands service, Gail and thank you for helping to comfort survivors. Sincerely, Bob.

    Bob wilson