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Marlene Fowler

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Marlene Fowler Obituary
Marlene Fowler
Marlene Linny Fowler, beloved wife of Beall for over 51 years, mother of four, grandmother of 13, and angel to countless others, died at home on February 4, 2013 at the age of 73. Born in New York City, she was the daughter of the late Harold F. and Miriam (Dickey) Oberkotter. She grew up in Harrington Park, NJ and graduated from Skidmore College in 1961 with a BA in biology. Two weeks later she and Beall were married and she joined Beall in Rochester, NY where she worked in urology research and gave birth to their first two children. After they moved to Champaign-Urbana, IL, their third child arrived. At a time of great racial unrest, she helped to found a nursery school in the segregated African-American section of Champaign and helped to integrate it with their oldest child. In 1966, Linny and Beall moved to the Bethlehem area where he joined the faculty of Lehigh University. Soon she began volunteer work at Headstart in South Terrace where she began her lasting interactions and friendships with members of the Latino community, which became a lifelong passion. Other activities followed, including leading Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, and teaching nursery school in Hellertown for several years. During this time their fourth child was born. She learned the art of stained glass and taught it in several venues, finally establishing a studio at the Banana Factory. After the untimely death of both of her parents in the early 1980s, she acquired the means to financially support her passion for justice, education, and the arts. For the rest of her life she was intimately involved in the cultural, educational, and human resources fabric of the Lehigh Valley; at one time she served on some 20 boards, and each organization benefitted from her generosity, passion, and wisdom. She founded the Lehigh Valley Coalition for Kids, through which a number of projects were supported. Several of the most significant projects that she fueled are the Banana Factory, SteelStacks, the Southside campus of NCC, and Camp Fowler of Valley Youth House. She supported programs and capital facilities at the Baum Art School, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown Art Museum, LCCC, Donegan School, ProJect of Easton, State Theatre, DaVinci Center, Habitat for Humanity, other institutions of education, from preschool through college, and of health care in the Lehigh Valley, the Bach Choir, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Touchstone Theatre, Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley, and many others. For this work she was honored numerous times, including honorary doctorates from Lehigh University and DeSales University, the Pennsylvania Governors Award for the Arts, the Edward and Inez Donley Award for Lifetime Advocacy for Children from Community Services for Children, Inc., and the Lehigh Valley Lifetime Achievement Award. While this work was going on in an organized fashion, she was privately and personally supporting the college expenses of countless young people, while mentoring them as well. And she was always ready to help those in need. But with all this activity, her first love was her family, especially her precious grandchildren. She had a heart of gold, was loved by all, and her goal was not only to give direct assistance but to serve as a model for others in a world in which there are many needs but also many opportunities to serve. Survivors: She is survived by her husband; four children and their spouses 13 grandchildren, a brother and a sister, and two nieces. Services: Memorial Service, on Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 2 p.m., in the Main Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem 2344 Center Street Bethlehem. The family will greet relatives and friends following the service at a reception in the church hall. Funeral arrangements are by the John F. Herron Funeral Home and Herron Crematory 458 Center At Market Street Bethlehem. Contributions: Memorial donations may be made to the W. Beall and Marlene O. Fowler Fund at the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, 968 Postal Rd., Suite 100, Allentown, PA 18109, or to a charity of ones choice that will further Linnys goals.
Published in Morning Call on Feb. 6, 2013
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