Eugene C. Fowler, 84, of Grangeville, passed away Monday, August 24, 2009, at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Lewiston, Idaho.
Eugene was born November 11, 1924 in Luxora , Arkansas to Emery Martin and Lelar Gay Fowler.
Eugene came to Idaho with the Civilian Conservation Corp from Minnesota and was stationed at Camp O’Hara in Idaho County, working on various Forest Service projects. After leaving the CCC’s, he worked for the Forest Service on the Moose Creek Ranger District as a telephone Lineman and smoke chaser. It was from these duties in the late Spring of 1943, that he was summoned by his friends and neighbors to Spokane, Washington and inducted into the U.S. Army. His Basic and advanced Infantry training was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; then to England aboard the HMS Aquatainia, landing in Cardiff, Whales; then to Devon, southwest England and there joining the 29th Infantry Division, (the Blue and the Gray ). On the June 6, 1944, the 29th landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, they worked their way through St. Lo, Brest, Le Mans, Aachen, the Cologne Plaines and then the River Elbe by April 26, 1945. Eugene was awarded several medals and decorations for his service to his country.
On December 14, 1942, he married Edith Elizabeth Davis in Orofino. They had five children, Martin, Reginald Owen, Bill, Lelar, and Julie. Eugene was devoted to his wife and their family. In 1956, the family moved to Grangeville. After Eugene retired from the telephone company, he and Edith enjoyed traveling in their motor home and going for walks in the mountains. Eugene enjoyed Hunting, Fishing and carpentry projects.
After the war, Eugene returned to the States and went to work for the “American Telephone and Telegraph Company” where he started out as a cable splicer’s helper in West Memphis, Arkansas. They moved to Clarkston, Washington where he worked on a construction crew for the R.E.A. until his telephone company transfer came through and he reported for work in Ephrata, Washington as a telephone installer and Central Office Repairman. In 1955, he was transferred to Lewiston, Idaho, and in 1956, was assigned a three year hardship tour (it was considered tough then, living at the edge of the world) in Grangeville, where he fell in love with community and the area and never left. He worked for the next 28 years as the Camas Prairie area Central Office Repairman, retiring in 1985. He took Grangeville from the friendly telephone operator asking “number please” to one of the most modern “CrossBar” telephone offices in the State. Eugene was always proud of his work with the telephone company and his service to his country.
Eugene is Survived by three sisters, Mary Mildred Barger, Hattie Modean Philyaw, and Rita Mae Hudgins all of Arkansas; two sons , Martin and Anna Marie Fowler of Cottonwood, and Bill and Helen Fowler of Grangeville; two daughters, Lelar and Mark Gravatt of Grangeville, and Julie and Boyd Hopkins of White Bird; five grandchildren, Jeff and Kami Fowler Shadley, Rayna Gravatt M.D., Joe and Amy Fowler, Jake and Jessie Gravatt Hackford, and Marcus Gravatt; three great-grandchildren, Justin and Katelyn Shadley and Alexander Hackford; one step great-grandchild, Adam Fowler; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Eugene was preceded in death by his wife Edith; his parents; an infant son, Reginald Owen; brothers, Jesse Royce Fowler, James Dudley Fowler and Herbert Johnston Fowler; and sisters Nita Fae Fowler, Jewel Alene Hightower and Judy Irene Chumley.
Cremation has taken place and at his request, no formal services will be held at this time. A graveside memorial service will be held announced in the near future.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Idaho State Veterans Home in Lewiston, Idaho.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville.