Major William (Bill) Stanley Fowler, CD, UE (Ret’d) was born on December 27, 1935 in Tisdale, Saskatchewan to Aurelia Harriet (nee Hilts) and Stanley Thomas Fowler, a teacher. His youth featured moves to Star City, Birch Hills, and Invermay. The rural Saskatchewan lifestyle fostered an early love of the outdoors and hunting while participation in Army Cadets solidified an interest in things military and competitive shooting. The 1948 passing of his mother and the later blending of two wonderful families with the marriage of Stan to Enid Turner (nee Campbell) no doubt solidified the importance of family in his mind. But his Grade 12 report card showed no great love of school, so in 1955 the obvious career choices were either to join up or become a game warden like his grandfather once was. In his words, the Army had the first solid offer and he was away like so many Saskatchewan sons to find out what was beyond the horizon.
After initial officer training he was commissioned in the Infantry and began Regimental service with The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (QORC) stationed in Gordon Head, Victoria, followed by service in Germany, Calgary, and UNFYCIP Cypress. A tour in Ottawa at NDHQ and rebadging to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) enabled a 1969 return to northern Germany where in 1960 he had first met and married Ursula, a relationship that endured for 58 years. Army service is rarely stable, and a brief stay in the north soon became a move south to be with 3 MEch Cdo. in 1972, the family moved to Victoria and a more static existence came with successive postings to Pacific Region Operations, a 1976 UNSTO tour in Damascus and a return to Pacific Region working with Cadets. It was during his time at Pacific Region Operations he came to work with the Canadian Rangers, a component of the Canadian Forces in which he held an abiding interest until his passing.
On his retirement from the Canadian Forces, Bill worked for many years at Specialty Guns, where his knowledge and interest in shooting sports was put to full use. Bill’s hobbies and interests reflected his roots: he was a keen believer in the value of Cadet youth programs, active member of the Vancouver Island Arms Collectors Association, CORE Instructor for BCWF, the Royal Canadian Legions, and member of the QORC and PPCLI Regimental Associations. Researching Canadian Ranger history in BC served well to keep him active in his later years.
Bill died peacefully at the Victoria General Hospital, BC on Sunday January 20th, 2019 after a short hospital stay. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ursula Fowler (Behle), son Thomas Fowler (April Crysler), daughter Belinda Schroeder (Ron), sister Starla Thiessen (Roy), brother Ken Turner (Patricia), sister Lynne Fowke (Larry), granddaughter Lauren (Kevin), grandson Eric, and numerous nieces, nephews, grand nieces, and grand nephews.