Giles Merrill Fowler
1934 - 2018
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Giles Merrill Fowler

Ames - Giles Merrill Fowler - father, husband, journalist, author, teacher and cheerful troublemaker - died riding a deep and emphatically requested morphine wave Nov. 3 at Israel Family Hospice House in Ames. He spent most of 84 years indulging his appetites for life's finer pleasures, particularly stimulating company and a bottle or four of the good stuff, with infectious verve and vigor. He fought the indignities of aging with a witty, vinegary constitution. The cause of his demise was a tooth infection that led to respiratory and cardiac complications.

Giles was born in Kansas City in 1934 to Richard B. and Elinor Montgomery Fowler. His father spent most of his working life as a reporter and editor at the Kansas City Star, eventually becoming editor-in-chief and president, and Giles was doomed to follow his father into that disreputable but joyous trade.

Giles studied at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, and the Columbia University School of Journalism. After interning and working as a reporter at the Star, he then worked for one year at The Times of London as a visiting reporter, clinching forever his love of all things British. From 1963-78 he served as the Star's film and theater critic, during which time the paper significantly beefed up its arts coverage. He then was editor at the paper's Sunday magazine.

In 1981, Giles indulged a long-held interest in teaching and was given a one-year position as the Seaton Visiting Professional in Journalism at Kansas State University. Hopelessly hooked on guiding and corrupting impressionable young minds, Giles then was hired at the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University. A peerless raconteur, he was capable of keeping even a nuts-and-bolts reporting class spellbound with a wide-eyed energy that telegraphed to students that journalism was an ideal way to explore life. He could be a demanding but ever-encouraging teacher, and his students wanted less to earn a good grade than his hard-won approbation.

He retired in 2002 and pursued his interests in writing short fiction and a book-length nonfiction account of a sensational 1909 murder case in Kansas City, "Deaths on Pleasant Street," which won ForeWord Reviews' book of the year.

Twice married and divorced, Giles called his children "the joys and redemption of my life." They are Stephen Fowler (m. Mirjana Risek), Toronto; Andrew Fowler, Bangkok; Kate Fowler, Yangon, Myanmar; Will Fowler, Washington D.C.,; and two grandchildren, Milo Fowler and Tilda Fowler, Toronto.

He is survived by first wife, Jane Pecinovsky Fowler, Overland Park, Kansas; second wife, Veronica Lorson Fowler, Ames; sisters-in-law, Libby and Kitty Fowler, both of Kansas City; as well as a niece, nephews, and other family. He is preceded in death by his brothers, Richard (Dick) and Lee.

The family asks for no flowers. Instead, please make memorial donations to St. John's Episcopal Church in Ames or to Giles' beloved Westminster College.

A funeral will be held Saturday, January 5 at 2:00 p.m. in Ames. It will be followed by a reception with refreshments at the church. There will also be a drinks and appetizer gathering the night before. There may be a small gathering in Kansas City as well, but that is still underway. Please visit https://tinyurl.com/gilesfowler for more information.




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Published in the Des Moines Register on Nov. 16, 2018.
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6 entries
June 9, 2020
Giles was one of my best boyhood friends and I deeply regret not keeping in closer touch. The obituary captures some of his wry humor and excesses, which were thoroughly ingratiating. It is a great tragedy that a tooth infection cut short his life and deprived me of getting back together to argue about the outrageous political developments of our time. He surely had much pleasure in following in his wonderful dad's footsteps as a top journalist and writer. RIP Giles.
Frank Tibor Manheim
Friend
March 9, 2019
You were my Journalism POS Committee chair for my 2nd Masters,in Communication As A Social Science. Drove me,chasing More magazins, newspaper & book data on my subject.. But it was worth it when the Thesis was promoted to Parks Library Archives, it was worth it.
And now, I would still like to know where you fit in my family, as we do indeed have Fowler grandparent line?! Now, back to the research, just as you always knew it would be.

Blessings and many Thanks for being there for this nontraditional grad student.
Jeanne O'Brian
November 17, 2018
May the family stay close to each other and cherish his memories and God's help; psalm 145:18...20
November 17, 2018
My condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Fowler . May you be comforted by the memories you shared; and in the Lord's promised at Act 24:15 .
C T
November 16, 2018
My condolences to the Fowler Family. May the God of comfort grant you strength during this difficult time.
November 16, 2018
You were one of my favorite journalism professors at Iowa State, Giles. Thanks for being a great teacher and inspiration, and for introducing me to Hemingway and other great writers-reporters. You shared your personal Hemingway notes with me years ago in class and I still have them. I'll get them out and read through them again in your honor. Your obit read like you talked and taught; you probably wrote it. it was the best thing I read today! RIP.
Rick Robinson
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