On Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 Wiley Wayne “Dub” Fowler passed away peacefully, having lived 97 years of a long and full life. He died in bed at his home in Corpus Christi where he had looked out for almost 40 years at the ever-changing waters of the bay he loved so much. From that home he would watch the ships come and go, the sea birds cavort and play, and the sunlight sparkle over the waves or the winds whip up mighty waves.
He began life in Honey Grove Texas, born into the loving Fowler family of his parents James and Gertrude Fowler. Dub was the youngest of five brothers and one of eleven children in all. Dub, or “Rabbit” as he was called then, developed a strong bond with his siblings as together they grew up facing the challenge of life during the Great Depression. The Fowler clan moved to Lockhart, Texas where Rabbit developed a lifelong love of all sports, excelling at football and basketball before graduating from Lockhart High School in May 1941.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor interrupted Rabbit’s college plans, and he enrolled in the Navy in May of 1942. Trained as a radio operator, Wiley first served on two destroyers the USS Cowle and the USS Barker before assignment to shore duty in Casablanca where he spent the remainder of the war as a Radioman First Class. While in Casablanca, he played guard on the base’s basketball team.
After the war Dub, as he was then called, enrolled at Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College in San Marcos, completing a bachelor’s degree in physical education in May, 1948. He continued his sports pursuits, playing on the Bobcats’ basketball team and on most of the golf courses in central Texas with his three living brothers. He met a girl, Kathryn Nan Phillips. They married in January 1946. After completing their degrees, they both taught school, first in Taft and then in Kerrville, Texas. Dub coached football and basketball…and taught driver’s ed. Decades later he would use that experience as an excuse to continue driving, long after some would deem prudent.
Dub began 32 years of employment with Sun Oil Company, and he and Katy began moving from one oil town to another. While living in Snyder, Texas in 1954, their only child Daniel Wayne Fowler was born during a big sandstorm. After they moved to Portland, Texas in 1960, Katy became increasingly ill and passed away in September, 1964. Despite his loss, Dub remained strong and positive, providing a stable and supportive environment for his son.
Wiley’s life began a new chapter when he married Elizabeth Boyd Weafer in November 1967. Marriage introduced him to a new and wonderful family: Elizabeth’s 3 daughters and three sons. Dub and Liz shared many happy adventures together over the next 41 years, ending only with Elizabeth’s unexpected death in March 2008.
In his later years Wiley traveled extensively with his friend William Parker. Together they ventured to Alaska, the Panama Canal, Australia, and New Zealand. After Bill Parker’s death, the 92-year-old Wiley made a solo journey to Ireland.
Dub’s strong faith, born with his Baptist upbringing and nurtured by his Catholic and Methodist wives, allowed him to withstand the hardships of the Depression, World War II, and the loss of two wives. A longtime member of Corpus Christi’s First United Methodist Church, he remained cheerful, encouraging, and kind to his very last days.
Wiley’s parents James and Gertrude Fowler and all of the other ten siblings precede him in death, as does his stepson Gene Weafer. His remaining family includes his son and daughter-in-law Dan and Jacque Fowler and stepchildren Blanche Mills and Robert Steffen, Ernest Weafer and Cathy Valentin, John Weafer and Michael Dobbs, Sarah and Jeff Hunt, Virginia and Alex Ferris, and many delightful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank all of the individuals who worked tirelessly so that Wiley could spend most of his last year in the home he loved so much. Mir Senior Care began coordinating Wiley’s medical care several years ago, and Diana DePietroPaolo and Corina Balle made key recommendations, advice, and guidance throughout the process. Kindred Hospice provided home medical care for his past six months. Caring Senior Service put together a wonderful team that provided round-the-clock care for Wiley. Maria Silva, Julie Tolbert, and Alyssa Rae Cervania provided the highest quality of care, holding Dub’s hand and comforting him to the end. A very special thanks to Caring’s Elva Quintanilla, who won the trust of a feisty and fiercely independent 96-year-old. She became the world’s best expert on and fiercest advocate of Wiley Fowler. Her loving care gave him many happy months.
A Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 10, 2019 at Seaside Funeral Home. A Funeral Service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, February 11, 2019 at Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. Interment to follow at Seaside Memorial Park.