Conrad Murphree Fowler

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Conrad Murphree Fowler, Sr., age 88, of Tuscaloosa died January 1, 2007. Services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at Columbiana United Methodist Church with Burl Oliver officiating. Burial will follow in Columbiana Cemetery with Bolton-Ledlow Funeral Home directing. Visitation will be two hours prior to the service at the church.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Virginia; his sons Conrad Fowler and wife, Rachel of Columbiana and Randy Fowler and wife, Heather White of Tuscaloosa; his sister Jane Carter of Columbiana; his sister-in-law Dorothy Whims of Tuscon; five grandchildren, Catherine Fowler-Carnes and husband Matthew of Charleston, Elizabeth Fowler Smith and husband Boyton of Atlanta, Julie Fowler Otts and husband John of Mobile, Jones Fowler and Ingrid Fowler-White of Tuscaloosa; five great grandchildren, Graham and William Carnes, Adair and Amelia Smith and Jack Otts; and many nieces, a nephew and many great and great great nieces and nephews.

Paulbearers include Rux Bentley, Frank C. Ellis, Jr., Don Fowler, Mike Hill, Sidney Holderness, Richard H. McDow, Dr. Nolan C. Moore, James L. Ray, Dr. Sam B. Roberts and Billie B. White.

Conrad Murphree Fowler was born September 17, 1918, in Montevallo where his father, Luther J. Fowler, taught at Alabama College. Shortly thereafter Luther and Elsie Fowler moved, with their children, to Columbiana where they lived for the rest of their lives. Conrad graduated from the University of Alabama in 1941, where he had been a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Jasons, The Million Dollar Band and the Crimson and White staff.

He immediately entered the U. S. Marine Corps. During World War II, Judge Fowler participated in the operations at Guadalcanal and in the assault landings on Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima. He received the Silver Star and Gold Star in lieu of a second Silver Star and the Purple Heart and Gold Star. He was discharged from the regular Marine Corps in 1946 with the rank of major and served in the Marine Corps Reserve, attaining the rank of colonel.

He married Virginia, his wife of more than 61 years and they returned to the University of Alabama Law School. After receiving his Bachelor of Laws degree they returned to solicitor for the 18th Judicial Circuit, 1953 to 1959, and served as a special prosecutor in Phenix City Clean-Up in 1954.

From 1959 to 1977 Judge Fowler served as Judge of Probate and Chairman of the Shelby County Commission. Under his leadership, Shelby County became the first county in the state to institute countywide planning for private and governmental development. He was responsible for developing a new county government center. He served as president of the Alabama Association of Probate Judges in 1968, president of the Alabama Association of County Commissioners in 1970, and as president of the National Association of Counties during 1969 and 1970.

By appointment of President Lyndon Johnson he served on the Commission on Health Facilities; by appointment of Presidents Johnson and Richard Nixon he served from 1967 to 1977 on the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. From 1970 to 1976 he served as chairman of the Alabama Constitution Commission. From 1973 to 1976 he served as chairman of the Alabama Committee for humanities and Public Policy.

Judge Fowler has been active in the state and national Lung Association serving as president of the Alabama Associations, 1968-69, and as president of the American Lung Association, 1981-82. He received the Heacock Medal Award at the annual meeting of the Alabama Lung Association in 1979 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Lund Association the same year.

He and Virginia moved to Lanett where he was Director of Public Affairs for West Point-Pepperell from January 1979 to March 1989. Judge Fowler served as a member of the board of directors of Associated Industries of Alabama and the Public Affairs Council. He was a member of the Public Affairs Committee of the Alabama and the Georgia Textile Manufacturers Associations. In 1981 he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor.

He loved the University and was an active member of the National Alumni Association of the University of Alabama; served as president of the Association in 1969; and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1992.

Judge Fowler was an active member of the United Methodist Church in every town where he lived; serving as lay leader and as a delegate to the North Alabama Southeastern Jurisdictional, and General Conferences.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Alumni Fund, University of Alabama Alumni Association, P.O. Box 861928, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486 or to a charity of the donor&8217;s choice.