FOWLER, Mr. Newton O. Jr., 84, passed away Thursday, May 23, 2013. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013 at First Baptist Church, Concord, N.C., with Rev. Tom Anderson officiating. The family will receive visitors in the church fellowship hall following the service. Burial will be Monday, May 27, 2013 at 1 p.m. at Oakdale Cemetery in Mt. Airy, N.C. He was born on March 7, 1929 in Roanoke, Va., to Newton O. Fowler Sr. and Alma Simmons Fowler. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Mildred Fowler Bennett. Newt Fowler graduated from Mt. Airy High School in Mt. Airy, N.C. He received an AA Degree from Lees-McRae College, a Bachelor's of Science and Master's of Commerce degree from the University of Richmond, and later completed the Executive Program (TEP) at the University of Virginia. Mr. Fowler served his country (U.S. Army) from 1952 to 1954 in the Korean Conflict. The former general manager of Philip Morris USA, Richmond factories in Richmond, Va., Newt Fowler was a recipient of the highest honor in the company, the Philip Morris Gold Ring Merit Award. Mr. Fowler was known as "Mr. Philip Morris" because he built the Philip Morris USA-Cabarrus Manufacturing Center in Concord - the most technologically advanced manufacturing facility in the world. Although he retired from Philip Morris after 37 and one-half years as general manager of the Cabarrus Operations, he was constantly besieged by Philip Morris employees who wanted him to return. Everyone knew him and respected his work ethics as well as his personal concerns for others. To all who worked for him and with him, he was a leader, a mentor and a friend. Mr. Fowler was a firm believer in giving back to his community and he did so in abundance as evidenced by his community involvement. Even before the Cabarrus Manufacturing Center began operating, Newt Fowler was already involved in many business and civic organizations in Concord and the surrounding areas. He served on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Central Carolinas Inc. and was executive vice president of the Cabarrus County United Way. He was a Concord Rotary Club member, formerly on the Board of Directors, and served as former chairman of the Bible Teaching Fund. Newt Fowler was a member of the First Baptist Church, Concord, and was proud to have chaired the Building Committee for First Baptist's new sanctuary. Newt had more than a mutual working relationship with all the Chambers of Commerce in this area. He was an Honorary Lifetime member of both the Concord-Cabarrus County Chamber of Commerce and the Kannapolis Chamber of Commerce. Newt was also a member of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, where he served on the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors for the Charlotte Chamber - Manufacturers and Economic Development Councils. Upon his retirement, the Mayors of Concord and Kannapolis presented Mr. Fowler with proclamations and keys to both cities. Mr. Fowler encouraged business and industry and helped Concord in its struggle for economic growth. He worked with the Economic Development Corporation by hosting numerous prospective businesses and companies at the Philip Morris plant. Many projects, such as the Convention Center, benefitted from the efforts of Newt Fowler. He served on the Board of Directors for Cabarrus Civic Foundation, and was a member of the Cabarrus Community Affairs Committee, Cabarrus County Community Action Committee and the Cabarrus Advisory Council Long-Range Planning Committee. He also served on the Cabarrus County Fair Advisory Board. In addition to local business and industry growth, Newt Fowler shared his knowledge throughout the state of North Carolina by serving as a Board member and former chairman, of the Foundation for Good Business. He also served on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry. In the banking industry, Mr. Fowler served on the Board of Directors for First Union National Bank in Concord and was chairman of the Board of First Union National Bank in Kannapolis. He also served on the Cabarrus Bank and Trust Advisory Board. Newt Fowler was a staunch advocate of higher education and supported many area colleges with his time and expertise. He developed a lasting partnership with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College which culminated in a mutual benefit for both Philip Morris, its employees and the college. He also served as chairman of the Site Selection Committee for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College - South Campus. Newt served on the Board of Directors and was former chairman for the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. The school named the Newton O. Fowler Jr. Lecture Hall in his honor. Mr. Fowler was instrumental in establishing the Cyber Campus at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis. He served on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Independent College Fund and the Board of Directors for the Foundation of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he was also chairman of the Board of Visitors at UNC-Charlotte. He served on the Board of Directors for North Carolina Center for World Languages and Cultures and was Campaign Cabinet Member of the North Carolina Performing Arts Center at Charlotte Foundation - Cabarrus and Rowan Counties. Being a major supporter of Catawba College, he served on the Board of Trustees, was former chairman of the Development Committee and former chairman of Catawba's capital campaign. The Fowler Athletic Office Complex in the Mariam and Robert Hayes Field House at Catawba College was named in his honor. He was a member of the Catawba College Chief's Club and received an Honorary Degree from Catawba College - Doctor of Humanitarian Service. Newt was also a recipient of the Adrian L. Shuford Jr. Award at Catawba College. Mr. Fowler was an avid sports enthusiast. He served on the Advisory Council for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame - NC Chapter and was a delegate for the Rowan County - Kannapolis Regional Sports Authority. He was also a member of the University of Richmond Spider Club. In 2008, Newt Fowler was inducted into the Greater Mount Airy Sports Hall of Fame. Other special recognitions and awards which were bestowed on Newton Fowler include: Member in the Who's Who Worldwide Registry, recipient of the Personalities of the South Award and recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Mr. Fowler is survived by his wife of 56 years, Nancy Fling Fowler; a daughter, Margaret Fowler Porter (Mark) of Concord, N.C.; and a son, Dr. W. Edward Fowler (Christina) of Greenwood, S.C.; four grandsons, Taylor and Steven Porter of Concord, and Brett and Bryce Fowler of Greenwood, S.C. The family wishes to thank Jennifer and all the wonderful CNAs that helped so much during Mr. Fowler's illness. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County, 5003 Hospice Lane, Kannapolis, N.C. 28081, or to the charity of one's choice. Condolences may be left at www.wilkinsonfuneralhome.com. Wilkinson Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 5/24/2013.
This obituary was originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.