BAR HARBOR -- William E. Fowler, 92, major, U.S. Air Force, retired, of Bar Harbor, passed away Aug.11. Bill was born March 23, 1921, in Rimersburg, Pa., to Melvin Ray Fowler and Edna Joy (Mortimer) Fowler.

Bill grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, and enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1940 at the age of 19. He served on active duty in three wars -- World War II, Korea,and Vietnam -- and earned the Bronze Star and National Defense Service Medal. In 1942, Bill was headed to England to serve with the Eight Air Force when his B-24 developed engine trouble resulting in a two-week delay at Dow Field in Bangor for repairs. There he met the love of his life, Jean O'Connor. They corresponded for two years and married when he returned from England. After several years, Bill decided to make the Air Force his career and he and Jean travelled extensively with their three children (including tours in Germany and Japan). During his 25-year military career, Bill earned a degree in horticulture at the University of Maine and a business degree at Indiana University. Bill retired in 1967, they moved to Augusta, and he worked for 20 years as an assistant state horticulturist.

Bill is survived by his wife of 69 years, Jean, and their three children: Roberta Henderson and her husband, Dana, of Augusta, Jeffrey Fowler and his wife, Loma, of Parker, Colo., and Deborah Hawkes and her husband, Ed, of Bar Harbor. Bill is also survived by his sisters, Joy Jones and Marion Crosby; his beloved grandchildren who gave him great joy -- Daniel Poors, Kim Poors, Jennifer Krog, Megan Lane and Molly Lane; as well as five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A private family burial service with military honors will be held at the Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Augusta.

Published in Central Maine on Aug. 17, 2013