Bob Fowler, PE, FAIA,
Bob Fowler was truly a Renaissance man, and a powerful partner with DCAT for the reform of building codes. His passing as a result of a motorcycle accident on August 1, 2001 has left a hole in our hearts.
From David Eisenberg
Dear Doris and all of the rest of the family
I am writing to send my heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to all of you at this time of loss. I know that words cannot possibly express the loss you are experiencing, because I cannot find words to speak of my own feelings of loss, and I had known Bob for just a few years.
I also know that Bob's death leaves an enormous hole in the lives and hearts of so many people whose lives he touched. But in order to leave that large a hole, Bob had to live a life that big. I feel so incredibly blessed to have known Bob and to have grown to be close friends with him. We had finally agreed to have our own "mutual admiration society," because every time I told him how grateful I was for his friendship and how honored I felt to have his support and partnership in the work we were doing together he would always turn it around and say that it was he who was grateful and honored and fortunate to know me. Instead of arguing about it we just agreed to acknowledge the feelings we had for each other. This was so typical of Bob and his modesty and desire to honor and appreciate other people.
I have many wonderful memories of Bob but wanted to share one that remains my fondest memory of him. In the fall of 1999, Bob and I were giving plenary presentations together at the U.S.Green Building Council/AIA Green Building Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We gave our presentations on Saturday morning and that night, the conference attendees were given the run of the Tennessee Aquarium - a private dinner party and evening at the aquarium just for us. As it happened, Bob and I spent much of the evening together and after we ate we explored the aquarium, discussing all the amazing things there to look at, ranging from the fish and other underwater lifeforms to the design and engineering of the tanks and the building itself. Eventually we wandered into a special darkened section devoted to jellyfish and we were immediately transfixed by the wonder and beauty of these creatures. Bob and I wandered from tank to tank marvelling at these animals and how graceful and fantasic they were, enjoying and trying to understand their remarkable beauty and variety. We eventually came to a tank which contained some specimens of what Bob and I agreed were the most beautiful and mysterious living things either of us had ever seen. If I remember correctly, they were called Warty Combs and they aren't actually jellyfish. As I recall, they were almost transparent, had a slight irridescent glow to them but inside were vein-like tubes through which water or something was moving, and in that fluid it appeared there were multi-colored glowing particles so that these things looked like little living psychodelic light shows. Bob and I ended up kneeling in front of that tank for probably fifteen or twenty minutes, watching them and excitedly sharing our detailed observations of tiny, interesting details, laughing and generally feeling like a couple of kids. We even went back for a second look a bit later. I will always remember Bob's intense curiosity, love of nature, wonderful sense of humor, and especially his warmth and ability to enjoy himself with other people. Sharing in such moments and experiencing Bob's ability to be childlike in his enthusiasm, in his joy of discovery is something I will always treasure.
A message from a couple of other of Bob's good friends, Nader and Iliona Khalili, inspired me to write this little poem for Bob and you and all of us who knew him.
Blessings and more blessings for
Blessings and more blessings for his family
Blessings and more blessings for his friends
The great sadness at his departure from this sphere
Is accompanied by great joy and inspiration
From his time here.
Having Bob Fowler in our lives was and remains a blessing. If there is any way that I can be service to any of you, now or in the future, please don't hesitate to ask.
With all my sympathy and respect,