Samuel “Sam” J. Fowler

Samuel “Sam” J. Fowler, 94, of Engadine and Rexton, passed away on May 8, 2024, at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, Michigan.

Sam was born on December 7, 1929, in Lansing, Sam was the son of Silas and Ida M. (Diebert) Fowler. Sam married schoolteacher Kay L. Meier of Dimondale, Mich., at Westover Air Force Base on June 16, 1952. The couple celebrated 50 years of marriage on June 16, 2002.

Wife of 51 years, Kay L. Fowler preceded Sam in death on September. 15, 2003, along with his son, Thomas Lamont Fowler, and Tom’s wife, Katherine Marie (Boardway) Fowler; his brother, Floyd C. Fowler, and sister-in-law, Rebecca (Navarro) Fowler; nephew, Marvin A. Fowler; great-nephew, Michael Piane; foster brothers, Theodore and wife Catherine (Tyler) Spears, Warren Spears, and Harry Morea; foster parents, George and Laura (Burley) Harris; Kay’s parents, Lamont and Leona (Carpenter) Meier; and his parents.

Sam married Patricia Derusha of Rexton on May 12, 2009. Sam and Pat enjoyed many years in Florida during the winter.  They loved to dance, fish, ride his Harley and spend time with family and friends.  A special thank you to Donna for helping Sam with all his projects and being there for him. She held a very special place in his heart.

Sam is survived by his daughter, Karen Lawler, and her husband Charles A. Lawler, of Okemos and Engadine; grandson, Stephen L. Lawler and his wife Paige Brown Lawler, and great-grandson Benjamin Charles Lawler, all of Midland; granddaughter, Mackenzie Lawler and her fiancé Peter Plaskey, both of Grand Rapids; daughter, Teresa K. Fowler of Naubinway; nephews Lawrence, Brian, and Eric Fowler, and nieces Yvonne (Fowler) Piane and Angela (Fowler) Hebbert; his wife, Pat Derusha Fowler of Rexton; and her children, Gary, Karen, Donna, Glenda (Larry), Sue, and their children and grandchildren.

Sam graduated in 1947 from Morrice High School, where he played varsity basketball and football. Morrice won the basketball district championship during Sam’s senior year.

Sam earned his associate’s degree in farm and grain elevator management from Michigan State University.  Years later Sam returned to his alma mater to teach salesmanship in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Sam was a longtime resident of Williamston, where he joined Michigan Glass Lined Storage Inc. in 1969.  He became general manager and partner. Sam went on to Lake City in 1982 to open a new dealership, Northern Michigan Harvestore, for parent company A.O. Smith Harvestore Systems Inc., of Arlington Heights, Ill.  Sam earlier managed Farm Bureau cooperatives in Byron, Yale, and Howell, and also sold Farm Bureau Insurance. He was a member of Williamston United Methodist Church since 1969.

Sam was a Michigan salesman, sportsman, farmer, commercial real estate broker, pilot and veteran.  Sam made the most of his retirement years in the Eastern Upper Peninsula with family and friends at Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club. He was a member of The Club, a 35,000-acre private sporting association, since 1951.  He relished stocking the freezer by trout fishing and ice fishing with his grandchildren and his son-in-law. Sam was the family filet meister, who rarely wasted any meat.

Sam pursued his love of aviation during civilian life with his wife Kay. They both attained private pilot and commercial pilot licenses, training at Livingston County Airport in Howell. Sam went on to earn his instrument rating. He loved flying his Piper Cherokee N9540J, and his Piper Archer I, for business and pleasure, especially to airstrips at Lake City and Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club. He said his aerial tours for farmers statewide were the best way to show the benefits of Harvestore farming.

Sam and Kay traveled the world with A.O. Smith Harvestore, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. He also traveled as a public speaker.

Known for his lively sense of humor, Sam often had three or four jokes come to mind for any given topic of conversation. Sam was a devoted Spartan fan. He followed college and professional basketball and football, and especially his granddaughter’s NCAA II women’s lacrosse team at Grand Valley State University.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Sam enlisted in 1947 and served as flight engineer in the Military Air Transport Service. His three-year enlistment was extended due to the Korean War. He flew out of Westover Air Force Base near Springfield, Mass. The Blue Jay Run took him to Greenland and Iceland on MATS C-54 Skymaster aircraft. Other destinations included Tripoli and Cairo in the Middle East, and England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain in Europe. Sam was active from 1947 to 1951, and received his honorable discharge at the rank of staff sergeant.

A gathering of family and friends will take place Tuesday May 14, 2024 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at St. Stephens Catholic Church in Naubinway. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2:00 pm at the church with Fr. Jacek Wtyklo officiating.  A luncheon will be served at Hiawatha Sportsman’s Club Activity Building immediately following the service.

Rite of Committal will take place at the Union Plains Cemetery in Byron, Michigan.

Condolences may be expressed at 

Beaulieu Funeral Home in Newberry is assisting the family.


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