Sunday, June 20, 2010

'Uncle Shorty' and Ohio cousins come to Austin

Raymond Fowler, Sr., and  second wife Mary 
Raymond Fowler, Sr. was born to Leora (Leola) and Mose (Mozell) Fowler, March 3, 1923 in Bastrop, Texas. He was the third of two sisters and three brothers: Mike, Johnny Mose, Israel, Imogene and Gertrude. They nicknamed him "Shorty" because he was the shortest of his sisters and brothers. Gertrude about his height but she was not nicknamed "shorty." Everyone called her Gert.

Raymond joined the Navy when he old enough to enlist. He came home to Austin on leave, and somewhere along the way he met and married Priscilla Douthit of Lorain, Ohio. They apparently got married after he got out of service. We met Priscilla one time after they got married, and as a kid myself, I remember her being  pretty and friendly. Raymond's sisters and brothers liked her a lot. The young couple returned to Ohio, where they started their family.

Their first child was Raymond Fowler, Jr., born March 7, 1947. Five more children followed: Sandra, Leora, Jerome, Wayne and Freddie, the baby of the family. Tragedy struck the family with the death of Priscilla. She died during or after the birth of her last child, Freddie, in 1954. Raymond informed us that she had an enlarged heart. He was devastated after her death but the had to keep going for the sake of his children.

Still a young man, 31, Raymond was now responsible for raising six children alone. He did the best  he could but he eventually he had to call on his mother, Leora, to help. He had to work and it was difficult to find a babysitter.

The arrangement he made with Leora was temporary. She was keep the children until Raymond was better situated in Ohio. Because Leora was not willing uproot her life in Austin to resettle in Ohio, Raymond agreed to bring his children to Texas. Freddie, who suffered from asthma, was a sickly baby. His frail body was  constantly racked by colds and congestion, causing him to need around the clock attention, both personal and medical. He was about four months old when they moved to Texas.

The children stayed with "Big Mama" for a number of years. They lived on Thompson Street, in the Booker T. Washington Projects until they moved back to Ohio.  According to my records all of the children, except Freddie, were enrolled in elementary school.

Raymond got married to a nurse, Mary, and he returned to Austin for his children. In addition to his children, he was now the stepfather to Mary's children, increasing the size of his family. After their marriage Raymond occasionally visited Austin. He looked forward to eating Gertrude's homemade biscuit, fried pan sausage, served with butter, syrup and hot coffee.

When Mary, his second wife, called to tell us that Raymond had died, Cluck, Gertrude, Marie, Rose Ann and Ernest, Sr. and I traveled to Ohio by car for the funeral. Big Mama caught a plane. Raymond was 54. He died October 31 in Lorain Community Hospital's Coronary Unit after suffering a heart attack at home.

Raymond lived had in Ohio for 39 years, and was employed at the Coke plant in Ohio, Cuyahoga Works, and U. S. Steel Corp., for 33 years, respectively. He belonged to Fairfield Baptist Church, the Buckeye Lodge No. 68 F and AM l Consistory No. 15 of Cleveland, El Hasa Temple No. 28 of Cleveland and the Lorain-Elyria Oberlin Shrine Club.

Raymond Fowler, Sr., left behind by his wife Mary, seven sons: Raymond, Jr., Wayne, Jerome, a Dwayne Fowler and Carl Jeans, all of Lorain, Freddie Fowler of Key West, FL and PFC Bruce Fowler with the U.S. Army in Kansas; four daughters Sandra, Leora, and Lynnette Fowler, of Lorain, and Constance Jeans of Washington D. C.; his mother Leora Fowler Sterling of Austin, two brothers Mike Fowler of Los Angeles; Johnny Mose Fowler, and sister Gertrude Fowler Smith, both of Austin, Texas; 13 grandchildren and a host of friends and relatives.

Funeral service was held Friday at 1PM at Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Lorain. Rev. William C. Bacon, officiated. Burial was at Elmwood Cemetery, Lorain, Ohio.

Replica of funeral program

Funeral Services for 

Raymond E. Fowler, Sr.


Friday, November 4, 1977

1:00 P.M.

Mount Zion Baptist Church

1516 East 30th Street

Lorain, Ohio

Rev. William C. Bacon, pastor

Fairfield Baptist Church, Officiating


Elwood Cemetery

Lorain, Ohio


Raymond E. Fowler was born March 3, 1923 in Bastrop, Texas to Mr. and Mrs. Mosell Fowler.  He has been a resident of Lorain for the past 39 years, and was a member of Fairfield Baptist Church. He was active in Buckeye Lodge 68, F and AM Consistory and Shrine and employed at U.S. Steel for the last 10 years. He departed this life at Lincoln Community Hospital on October 31, 1977. He leaves to mourn him, a wife Mary, his mother, Leora of Austin, Texas; four daughters, Sondra, Leora, and Lynette of Lorain and Ms. Connie Jeans of Washington, D.C.; seven sons, Raymond, Jr. Wayne, Jerome, Dwayne and Carl of Lorain and Pfc. Bruce of Fort Riley, Kansas; one sister, Mrs. Gertrude Smith of Austin, Texas and two brothers, Michael of Los Angeles, California and Mosell Jr. of Austin, Texas and thirteen grandchildren and a host of friends and relatives.

Order of Service

Selection                                                                                      Fairfield Choir



Selection                                                                                       Fairfield Choir

Remarks                                                                                           Deacon Rice

Acknowledgment of cards and telegrams

Solo                                                                                                      Ruth Lyons

Resolutions and Obituary

Selection                                                                                          Fairfield Choir

Eulogy                                                                                 Rev. William C. Bacon

Recessional Brown Funeral Home

"Man that is born of woman is of a few 
days and full of trouble. 
He cometh forth like a flower,
and is cut down. 
He fleeth
and continueth not."

Job 14: 1 and 2

The family wishes to thank everyone for their sympathy and prayers.

The End of the Road is But a Bend in the Road

When we feel we have nothing left to give,
And we are sure that the "song has ended"
When our day seems over and the shadows fall;
And the darkness of night has descended.
Where can we go to find the strength
to valiantly keep on trying,
Where can we find the hand that will dry;
The tears that the heart is crying.
There's but one place to go and that is to God,
And dropping all pretense and pride; 
We can pour out our problems without restraint,
And gain strength with Him at our side.
And together we stand rat life's crossroads,
And view what we think is the end.
But god has a much bigger vision
And he tells us it's Only A Bend.
For the road goes on and is smoother,
And the "pause in the song" is a rest;
And the part that's unsung ans unfinished
Is the sweetest and richest and best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let God and Let God share your load;
Your work is not finished or ended,
You've just come to "A Bend In the Road."

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