Thomas Preston Fowler

Thomas Preston Fowler passed away peacefully with his family by his side at Ascession Hospital in Manhattan, KS on the evening of January 4, 2021. He was 79.

Fowler was born on December 18, 1941 in Emporia, KS to Harry Sr. and Jane Edward Fowler. Fowler attended Country Schools of Lyon County through grade 8 and graduated from Emporia High School in 1959. Fowler graduated from Kansas State Teachers College, now Emporia State University, in 1963 with a B.S. in Education and in 1966 with a MS in Education.

Fowler married Ruth Esther Fruit on July 28, 1963 in Pratt, Kansas.

He taught Spanish, French and government at Peabody High School in Peabody, KS from 1963-66, and continued at Pratt High School and Pratt County Junior College, 1966-70.

Fowler returned to Emporia and taught Spanish at Emporia High School (EHS) from 1970 until his retirement in 1998. During his time at EHS, he served as department head of the foreign language department and was referred to as “Señor Tom” by his students. Fowler was recognized as a Kansas Master Teacher in 1985 and considered it one of his greatest honors.

Fowler continued his passion for teaching at Lebo/Waverly High school from 1998-2003, Madison High School, 2004-2010 and Hamilton High school, 2008-2010.

Fowler was active in the Emporia community as a member of Emporia Presbyterian church, Master Gardeners of Lyon County and the Emporia Area Retired School personnel serving in many leadership positions with these organizations. He also served many years as a community 4-H leader and enjoyed dancing with the Bluestem Swingers.

Fowler’s passion was serving in the masonic organizations. Fowler was a member of Emporia Masonic Lodge #12, serving as Master of the lodge twice, and Miriam Chapter #14, Order of Eastern Star (O.E.S) of Emporia serving as the Worthy Parton many times. Fowler served as Worthy Grand Patron of Kansas in 2003-04 and several state committees of the O.E.S. He was also a member of the Arab Shrine Temple of Topeka.

Fowler had a passion for his Welsh heritage and served more than 40 years on the St. David’s Day Society Board and as Sexton and treasurer of the Evergreen Cemetery.

Fowler is survived by his wife, Ruth; his daughter, Rhonda Jane Fowler Gordon, her husband Scott, grandchildren Austin, Kelsey and Megan of Emporia; his son, Mark Edward Fowler, his wife Courtney, granddaughters Piper and Paige, currently of Fairfax, VA; daughter, Amy Fowler and grandson David of Emporia. He is also survived by his brother, Harry Fowler Jr and wife Joan; his sister, Betty Knoll of Topeka, Kansas, and many extended family in the area.

Cremation is planned with a private service. Burial will take place at Evergreen Cemetery south of Emporia. The family plans to have a Celebration of Life when it is safe to do so. Memorial contributions to Harry Sr. and Jane Fowler; and Thomas and Ruth Fowler Family Scholarship Fund at Emporia State University or the Good Samaritan Fund for the Emporia Presbyterian Manor can be sent in care of Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home, PO Box 175, Emporia, Kansas 66801. You can leave online condolences at

(3) comments


Patience and knowledge. What other qualities could a person need who wanted to help others. Thank you Tom for the assistance at Evergreen Cemetery and St David's Day. You were a joy to work with.

John Davis


Thank you, Senor Tom for your service to the community and your many years of providing a quality education to area students. The thing I recall most about Senor Fowler, was his patience. Teaching high school students is a challenge and you met that challenge and be forever remembered. Sincerely, Chuck Torres, EHS Class of 75. Gracias por todo que hizo!

Vintage Queen

RIP Tom.

You were a great and honorable man who gave so much to Emporia for so many years.

You will be missed by so many.

You gave me wonderful advice about plants and even potted some for me. I will remember you whenever I look at them.

I picture you tending a garden in Heaven.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.