Monday, June 21, 2010

A smiling kid named Raymond

Raymond E. Fowler was a playful kid, full of mischief and quick to smile. We first met our cousins from Lorain, Ohio after their mother, Priscilla, died during or after giving birth to Freddie, the baby of six children. Priscilla had an enlarged heart, the cause of her death.  Our Ohio cousins came to Austin to live with Leora (Leola) Fowler, their grandmother, in 1954. Their adjustment to Texas, their cousins, aunts and uncles--was not immediate.

They did not have a Texas accent like we did, and I loved the way they said certain words, especially "hair" and "car." They were good kids but kind of sad. All of them except Freddie, were old enough to remember their mother. 

They did not stay in Texas long enough to get in real trouble. They lived with Big Mama in Booker T. Washington Projects until 1963. Some years later after they had grown up they came back for visits.

They returned to Austin when we thought Big Mama was dying in the late 1970s. The doctor told us to call all out-of-town relatives if they wanted to see her before she died. She was not looking good. Her breathing was shallow and labored. She had a serious heart attack. We made the necessary calls. Big Mama did not die that night. She lived for six or seven years! What a surprise!

I was researching our family genealogy when I discovered that our cousin Raymond Fowler had died in Los Angeles. Over the years we lost contact with each other. None of us had each others addresses and telephone numbers. Needless to say, I was shocked to learn of his death. I still remember the little smiling kid. I only saw him a couple of times as a grownup. He had the same quick smile.

I found his obit in The Morning Journal, Los Angeles, July 28, 2005. The rest of the family in Texas were just as shocked to hear of his passing.

Raymond E. Fowler was born to Priscilla and Raymond Fowler, Sr., March 7, 1947 in Lorain, Ohio. He was the oldest of four brother and two sisters: Wayne, Jerome, Freddie, Leola and Sandra Elaine. He died July 17 at his home in Los Angeles after suffering an asthma attack.

Raymond attended elementary school in Austin until he returned to Ohio. He attended Ohio's Admiral King High School where he played football, and was on the wrestling team. He worked as a truck driver at the Assistant League of Southern California. He completed his cross-country training at Camino Rio Trucking School. Prior employment was at Modern Tool and Die in Parma. Raymond liked trucks and riding his motorcycle. He was a member of the Talking Radios CB Motorcycle Club.

Raymond left behind to mourn his passing his stepmother Mary Fowler-Trapley, sons Aaron Fowler, Andre Calhoun and Raymond Fowler lll, all of Lorain; daughters Charlena Fowler of Avon, and Priscilla Fowler of Lorain, brothers Wayne Fowler of Los Angeles, Jerome of Cleveland, Freddy Fowler of Orlando, FL., Bruce Fowler of Greensboro, N.C., Dwayne Pryor of Elyria and Mike Byrd of Kentucky; sisters Sandra Fowler and Leora Hill of Los Angeles, and Lynette Pryor of Vallejo, Calif., and six grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and other relatives. He is preceded in death by his parents Raymond Fowler, Sr. and Priscilla Fowler (nee Douthit), and paternal grandparents Mose (Mozell) and Leora (Leola) Fowler.

Funeral service was held at Worship Cathedral Church in Lorain, Saturday, 11am. Rev. Terance Bivin, officiated. Internment was at Elmwood Cemetery.

Raymond's father the late Raymond Fowler, Sr.

Raymond, Sr. and Mary Fowler, stepmother to Raymond.

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