Jib Fowles
1940 - 2020
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Jib Fowles
Jib Fowles, 79, professor emeritus of media studies at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, died on March 7th, 2020. Born Robert Briggs Fowles in 1940, he was given the family nickname "Jib" as an infant, and used that name all his life, both personally and professionally.
The son of Lloyd Wright Fowles and Jane Briggs Fowles, Jib grew up on the campus of the Loomis School in Windsor, Connecticut, where his father was the head of this preparatory school's history department. Jib often mentioned what a rich, instructive setting Loomis was for a young person. Following his graduation from Loomis, he attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, receiving his B.A. in 1963.
After a Fulbright fellowship year in India, Jib lived in New York City, where he earned his M.A. from Teachers College (Columbia University) and his Ph.D. at New York University. He taught at New York University from 1967 to 1974.
In 1974 he was hired to be a charter faculty member at the new Clear Lake City campus of the University of Houston. Jib thought highly of Houston and of the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where he was to happily spend the rest of his career. Joy Castronovo, whom he had met at New York University, joined him in Texas in 1975, when they married and established their longtime home on Dickinson Bayou.
In time Jib became the faculty convener of the UHCL communications program. As well as teaching courses on the modern mass media and on the history of communications, he oversaw the internship portion of this program, and took great satisfaction in the professional achievements of his many media students. One former student, the renowned novelist Kevin Kwan, said about Jib, "He was an amazing philosophical genius on the topic of mass media in society."
Jib was a committed scholar, publishing seven books and some 70 articles. His articles appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, TV Guide, Advertising Age, and many academic journals. His books include "Television Viewers vs. Media Snobs" (Stein & Day, 1982), "Starstruck: Celebrity Performers and the American Public" (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992), and "The Case for Television Violence" (Sage, 1999). In 1984 he was a witness at U.S. Senate hearings on media violence, where he testified that children use their televised fantasy mayhem much as adults do—to relax and recover.
An avid researcher all his life, he was a man whose education was never-ending. As well as his academic pursuits, he was devoted to his family and their well-being. He was delighted and proud when first their daughter Celeste and then their son Nate also chose to attend Wesleyan University. Jib leaves behind his deeply adored wife Joy, their son Nathaniel Castronovo Fowles of Dickinson, Texas, and their daughter Celeste Fowles Nguyen and her husband Viet H. Nguyen of Burlingame, California, together with Celeste and Viet's daughters, Marion and Rose—Jib's grandchildren.
Jib is to be buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, Wiscasset, Maine—the town where he and Joy have had a summer home for many decades, in the area where his father's family settled in the 1750s. In his retirement Jib was an inaugural and active Commissioner on Wiscasset's Historic Preservation Commission. He was a proud, 35-year member of the First Congregational Church of Wiscasset. He and Joy were for many years docents at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in nearby Boothbay. For several years Jib taught courses on the social history of photography at the Midcoast Senior College in Brunswick, Maine and at the Coastal Senior College in Damariscotta, Maine. At the time of his death he was completing a book on the social history of photographic imagery.
At Jib's request, there will be no funeral. Internment will be at the convenience of the family in Wiscasset, Maine.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 15, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
June 16, 2020
Dear Joy, Just learned about Jib's death. Googled today because I have been going through lots of memories -- now, bitter sweet. So very sorry.
Frederick Errington
June 3, 2020
As my professor, he was an inspiration and spark that began many creative thoughts.
Jeffrey Murrah
April 9, 2020
Starting in 2008 Jib had retired and was writing his autobiography (copies of
which are available at the Loomis School, Wesleyan University, and Wiscasset
libraries), living in Wiscasset, Maine, his beloved ancestral home. He was then
contacting old friends to get information for his autobiography. He managed to
recontact me and given I was living 20 minutes away in Hallowell, Maine we were
able to resume our friendship after forty years of being out of touch. From 2008 we
would meet for lunch and discussed our readings, strivings and life issues. At that
time I was working on a book on the Psychology of Wisdom for which Jib and Joy
gave me bountiful advice. Later as he taught courses in the history and nature of
photography at Midcoast Senior College in Brunswick, Maine and Coastal Senior
College in Damariscotta, Maine I was able to reciprocate.

During the times of our lunches in Maine I would recall our earlier youth and
adventures. I met Jib Fowles when he was a Wesleyan College student traveling in
Spain. He was en route to a junior year semester abroad in Germany. He became my
motorcycling companion with whom I discussed English poetry while we visited
Madrid and Valencia. When he returned to Wesleyan College I was studying at
Columbia in NYC and so we were able to resume our friendship and our joint
interests in Indian culture. Back at Wesleyan he strove to become a writer,
publishing a short story in the Atlantic Monthly. We remained friends and our paths
grew closer again. He pursued his Ph.D. in Future Studies at New York University
where I pursued a Ph.D.in Psychology. Upon graduating he became a professor of
media studies at the University of Houston-Clear Lake where he said he could live in
a place where the future was commonplace. I was happy to linger in the New
England past and we fell out of touch for almost forty years.

He was a life-long empathic friend with sage advice whom I shall always miss
until our paths may miraculously cross again.
Jim Lindsley
April 3, 2020
Vito and I participate with deep sorrow in your period of morning, grateful for the opportunity to have been blessed with the pleasure of knowing and spending unforgettable moments with Jib; moments today treasured as precious and enduring memories. There was neither a moment of silence, nor a dark word in every enriching meeting we were blessed to enjoyinstead there was always something new learned, both from the interesting and wise perspectives on life he shared, as well as the fine art of communications, signed Dr. Jib Fowles.

With the passing of a revered loved one, options are sparse; thus the best alternative in seeking consolation is to summon faith, possibly the sole wellspring of inner power. Engage the Lord as your ally during this time of dire trials as you Joy suffer the agony of loosing a beloved life companion, and you dear Celeste and Nate, the cherished father who gave you life. Truth stipulates that there is no other path but the spiritual upon which to tread!

With Jibs passing, a memorable journey comes to a destined finale. A very discriminate and charming gentleman, his presence will be greatly missed. Much was learned from the jewels of his great mind-- through his well crafted, resourceful class lectures as Professor Fowles, and in the pages of the inspirational, thought provoking, intellectually invigorating and informative books he penned-- evidence of a man with an enviable intellect and culture. The munificent allocation of the fruits of his rich, full life is part of the amazing legacy he bequeathed to his children and granddaughtersa legacy which bears testimony to a life designed with impressive accomplishments.

Joy, today your sadness knows no boundaries: the vacuum is bitter cold, however, the nurturing, care, concern, dedication and abundance of love you so generously offered your dear husband for decades should be a worthy deliverance, soothing during your grieving. This speaks volumes of the phenomenal woman you are!

As is inscribed in the Book of Wisdom: The souls of the just are in the hands of God.They seemed in the view of the foolish to be dead: and their passing away was judged an affliction, but they are in peace. Jib has faced his Judge. He now reposes in eternal serenity, untouched by the tribulations of the human condition. A meaningful life has drawn to conclusion. However, we will always remember Jib and pray for his eternal repose while celebrating his wonderful life.

Nevertheless, we never cease to implore the mercy of God not only for the departed, but for the survivors.

May God bless you and give you strength in continuity dear Joy, Celeste and Nate. Continue to make your dad proud!

With love and heartfelt sympathy,
Nancy Genovese
March 31, 2020
Since I arrived in Texas in 1978 Jib has always been a major part of our family life. Married to my sister we celebrated Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving , birthdays, holidays, births and deaths together. I always remember Jib giving the holiday blessings before each meal and was fortunate enough to celebrate this past Thanksgiving and Christmas with him for his final prayer. Jib was a scholar, a teacher, a writer , a professor and with his brilliance could say things like no other. He has left his mark on all his students at the University of Houston , New York University and Maine. He will be missed by his family , friends, and students. Jib leaves a legacy that will live on. . He has left his mark and has touched the lives of all who knew and loved him. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Joy, Nate, Celeste, Viet, Marion and Rose. His memory will live on in the lives of all who knew and loved him. Rest in Peace, Jib. Dera and Mike Cooke
Dera Cooke
March 28, 2020
An Easter Gathering at Lakewook Yacht Club, Seabrook, TX
We honor our precious Jib Fowles. A cherished special man, a most special friend, we love him much, we shall miss him much. Thank you Jib, for your inspirational insights, ethics, intellect, humor, love of Maine, love of family & your friendship, a coveted gift. We enjoyed hundreds of happy gatherings in Galveston, Dickinson, Houston, Seabrook & Wiscasset & the joy of shared Christmas Eve Dinners for many years.
Love & Blessings forever: Joy, Nate, Celeste, Viet, Marion & Rose
We shall & do miss you so. Your friends forever; Kenneth & Frances
Kenneth Erickson
March 23, 2020
Jib was always a pleasant, dear friend,very polite and a great listener who always gave me his undivided attention,assuring me that he was fully in the conversation. And when he spoke, it was loften like listening to beautiful music.His rich vocabulary, well constructed sentences, and the depth of his thoughts reflected his heavily accumulated wisdom and understanding of people and society, gained from immense study and reading. He was always kind to me in all of our interactions. I regret that I did not see him during his last illness.

Harvill Weller
Harvill Weller
March 22, 2020
Harvill and I will dearly miss Jib -- a close friend along with Joy of 44 years. We will cherish our many dinner foursomes over the years in Seabrook, Dickinson, and Wiscassett. Our deepest condolences to Joy, Nate, Celeste, Viet, Rose and Marion. Peace be with you all.

Nancy Fitzpatrick Weller
March 21, 2020
Although I haven't seen Jib in many years, I remember what an amazing person he was and know he will be missed.
Eva Rutherford
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