January 26, 1927 – December 3, 2020
Ann Fowler, formerly of Castlegar, passed away peacefully in Vancouver on December 3, 2020, at the age of 93. She was born Ann Howell LeBar on January 26, 1927, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Upon graduating from high school, she went to Boston where she did a degree in physiotherapy. At age 22, she left the eastern U.S. and drove west across the country with a girlfriend, settling in Seattle.
It was there, working as a hospital physiotherapist, that she met Pat (Charles Samuel) Fowler, who was at med school. He spotted her with her red hair, playing the piano one evening in a common room. He and a friend sauntered over and crooned a few songs while she accompanied. Six months later, in August of 1950, they were married.
They moved to Vancouver, where the following year in October their first baby, Polly, was born. Not long after, they moved to Castlegar. Although born a city girl in Pennsylvania, Mum embraced with gusto the pioneer life of a small-town doctor’s wife.
Shortly after moving to the West Kootenays, Dad finally took Mum on a “honeymoon”: a rustic canoeing and camping trip to Cayuse Creek along with their year-old daughter.
Their second daughter, Nancy, came along in March of 1953, and then their son, John, just 14 months later. Ellie was born in 1959, shortly after John turned 5.
Mum had married a man who loved the outdoors, especially his boat and the lake, and their leisure times as a family would be centred on those things. Mum had a favourite pastime when we beached the boat somewhere to play awhile.
She would climb up the nearest cliff in search of a log that she might manoeuvre to the edge with driftwood prybars, eventually to send it hurtling down into the water below as she shrieked “Timber!” in a most unladylike voice. One Christmas, in honour of this hobby, Dad gave her a real peavey, and this tool really upped her log-rolling game. She was also a strong swimmer. She loved to go for an evening swim, scything through the water with her flawless technique, just before sunset gin and tonics with Dad.
Mum was a fantastic seamstress, and great at costumes. There were dance outfits for her daughters and creative disguises for Hallowe’en masquerade parties. Once she was asked to take charge of the decorations for the annual Soroptimists Ball at Playmor Hall, and she transformed the place into Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
She didn’t talk much about herself, but she always had a listening ear. She had a life-long love of gardening, growing plentiful vegetables and flowers. She was an accomplished pianist, and she served her church faithfully by playing the organ. And she loved her dogs: over the years there was always at least one faithful canine companion, so important to her especially after Dad passed on in 1993.
Ann is survived by her four children, Pauline, Nancy (Greg) Christenson, John (Ann), and Ellen, plus six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She lived a full life, and a good life, but as she herself would say, “All good things must come to an end.” Rest in peace, dear Mum.
Anyone wishing to receive a notice of a memorial gathering in Castlegar later this year or when circumstances permit, please email Ellen at email@example.com
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