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Charles A Fowler III
March 14, 1931 ~ February 9, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old
A lifelong lover of sports, Charles “Chuck” Fowler III left this earth in, what else, but an Ohio State sweatshirt on Friday February 9th, 2024. Born in the early days of the Great Depression, Charles “Chuck” Fowler loved sports from a young age. He recalls attending football games as early as the 40s and 50s of his lifelong favorite teams, Ohio State and Notre Dame (back when you could take a train to South Bend). If you asked him just a few years ago, he could have told you most of the starting lineups of those teams, the plays they ran, and perhaps above all else, the coaches and what they were known and respected for.
While attending Linden McKinley high school, he met a beautiful young lady, who would become the great love of his life, his wife Lila. They were married in 1954, when Chuck was just 22 and Lila was just 19, before they headed west to San Francisco where Chuck was stationed for a year before the Air Force took them to a base in northeastern Maine near the Canadian border. After that, they settled back in their hometown of Columbus, eager to start a family.
His foundational love of sports (despite self-describing “a shrimp”) led him to attend The Ohio State University, where he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Education. Following their return to Columbus, he got a job teaching and coaching, where he spent his entire professional career dedicating his life to kids and the enrichment sports bring. There is hardly a sport you can name that he didn’t coach at one time, but he was most known for his love and knowledge of basketball, where he influenced the lives of so many young boys and girls at middle and high schools like Walnut Ridge, Beechcroft and Johnson Park. He always took interest in his players, working to improve their skills as athletes and young men.
At home, Chuck was a father to four children, Michael, Mark, Melanie and Michelle (the 4 M and Ms), and a doting husband to his wife, Lila Mae. He loved trips camping, fishing, skiing and spent his weekends playing fast pitch at the softball diamond (which he did into his 70s) or announcing as “The Voice” of the high school basketball tournament at the Coliseum, which he did for more than 50 years.
In his later years, he loved being Popeye to his grandchildren, teaching them cards, sports, and attending as many of their sporting events as he possibly could. He could often be found watching movies or reading about World War II, taking a beloved dog for walks at Antrim park, doing the crossword or watching Jeopardy, and always was a proud member of the “kids table” at family dinners. He had many -isms, songs he would sing (that could get stuck in your head for weeks) and kept his joyful personality until the very end.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles Augustus Fowler II and Letha (Duffy) Fowler, his sister Olivia “Hope” (Al) Volpe, his in-laws Andrew and Helen Middlesworth, brothers-in-law Bill and Paul Middlesworth, his daughter Michelle Halley and son Mark. He is survived by his beloved wife Lila, who he was married to for more than 70 years, his children Mike Fowler (ex-wife Vicci Whetnall), and Melanie (Dan) Fortunato, son-in-law Bruce Halley and wife Linda, and his grandchildren Matthew and Melissa Fowler, Brittany Whetnall and her fiancé Sean Smith, Kristen Fortunato and her husband Colin Brennan, Mallory (John) Duffy, Daniel Fortunato and his fiancé Danielle Monteiro, Brendan Halley and great granddaughter Arlo Smith, nieces and nephews Dex (Jean) Volpe, Vicki Volpe, Laura (Mark) Bennett, Marylou (Michael) McDonald’s, Andy (Carol) Middlesworth, John (Jan) Middlesworth, Debbie, Tammy, Jenny and Susie Middlesworth.
A celebration of his incredible life will be held on Thursday, March 7th from 4-7pm at JERRY SPEARS FUNERAL HOME of HILLIARD, 5471 Frazell Rd, Hilliard, OH 43026. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to Lifeline of Ohio.