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It is with overwhelming sadness that Jemicy announces the passing of Robert “Bo” Fowler, the result of a massive heart attack yesterday morning, March 28, 2019. Bo was a beloved member of our Jemicy (and Valley Academy) family; an invaluable asset to our facilities team for 18 years; and a friend and mentor to countless students, faculty and staff, and friends both within and beyond our community. His contributions to the school and the impact he had on those with whom he interacted was immeasurable. Bo will be sorely missed.
In just the few short hours since his passing, several faculty members have reached out to share why Bo was so special. With more time, we could likely fill a book. As you read below, you will find that Bo had many talents and interests of which you may not have been aware. The measure of a man is often in the simple way he touches one’s life.

Bo was a good man, and I was proud to call him my friend. I worked with him at Valley Academy, and we were roommates for a time. What I appreciated about him the most was how deep his river ran. He was knowledgeable about many things but humble about it. He played the bass and was in several bands. He knew much about wildlife, and if it is not well known, caught and mounted every fish in Mrs. Jesse's room. He always had a warm smile and handshake whenever you saw him. I will miss seeing him every morning during my duty...He also gave of his time as a Santa for the Baltimore Ravens. The thing I loved most about him was how proud he was of his family. He was always showing me pictures on his cell phone with a gleam in his eye. He had a great laugh and a good soul. He touched so many lives and when it was his time, he was where he loved the most, surrounded by the people that loved him. Knowing that has given me great comfort. – Robert May, US Faculty

Bo consistently offered a big smile and kind words to everyone. As a man of many talents, Bo was a carpenter, a musician, an animal lover/caretaker, a very hard worker, as well as a wonderful father, grandfather, friend, and colleague. In addition to making coffee each morning, Bo also provided coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks for colleagues who had to spend some late nights here preparing for the fall trips. He was often seen greeting students or showing an interest in what they were doing. I believe that “back in the day” Bo raced horses locally. Bo’s passing is a great loss to his family and to the Jemicy community. Bo will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives he touched. – Kathy Stein, US faculty

Bo was so dedicated to Jemicy! And what a hard worker! He helped with everything under the sun. He was so dedicated that he would even sleep at the school overnight at times to safeguard equipment set up for some Jemicy event. Every morning at 6:30 (or before), he took the time to make two pots of coffee for the staff. This early morning time is when Bo and I would talk about everything under the sun and just laugh and laugh. I'll sure miss seeing him in the morning. He was so dedicated to supporting the students' music development as well, and it was great being in Jamicy with him. And he loved the kids! He went out of his way to help them in any way that he could. He stood in the hallway and said hello as the kids passed by. Even if they didn't know his name, he made it a point to know theirs. He also delighted in showing everyone the creatures he would find on campus. There are pictures of his many finds somewhere. I would turn around and there he'd be with some strange looking bug or snake or injured bird or baby kitten. It's such a sad, sad day. – Shelye Knotts, US Faculty

Bo had a way of making everyone feel special and loved. He touched the lives of so many people, but when you were talking to him, you would never know it. He had a way of making you feel like you were the only person that mattered in that moment. The way he touched people was truly a gift. We will all miss him terribly. – Gretchen Montcalmo, US Faculty

One day a year, I had the distinct honor of being Bo’s “wife” as Mrs. Claus. Of all the things I have done in my life…spreading holiday cheer and magic to children with Bo has been one of my greatest joys! – Megan McGowan, Head of Lower School

To me he was not a janitor or custodian, but a man of wisdom and laughter. He always knew how to turn any frown of disappointment on my face into a smile of joy. It still is disturbing to hear his time had come from something that could happen at any moment in our lives. There will always be tears when remembering my close friend. However I will never forget the impressions he made on me and lessons he instilled in me to help me grow during my life. I can still remember the many memories we shared and have carried throughout my life as a sign of our friendship. From the time I saw him pick up an animal and let go of our special turtle, to the times he helped me move furniture, and chatted with me when I came with my father to visit at PetSmart. He always knew how to put a smile on my face when he’d say, “Where is your girlfriend?” or “Oh, there she is again!” to Jennifer Williams, Nicol Scott Price, or Tracy Marie. There will always be a place in my heart for him and I will miss him so much. To forever, my best buddy, who truly never made me nervous…I will miss you. – Sofia Eisenberg ‘16(US)

Bo was a kind and helpful presence for me virtually since the day I began at Jemicy in the fall of 2010.  He was an exuberant storyteller, which drew me to him instantly.  In one of our first conversations, he described his love of fishing, but then he surprised me by declaring that he had disavowed hunting altogether because animals were so naturally drawn to him that he could not bring himself to shoot them; it didn’t feel fair.  I was unsure initially what to make of such a claim of kinship with the animal kingdom, but after getting to know him, I accept what he said as the truth.  Bo handled animals with care and consideration, even a sense of good fellowship.

Bo and I were both members of our faculty band, Jamicy, since its inception in 2010, and playing music with him these years afforded another glimpse of his sensibilities, particularly as they pertained to community.  Bo was a complementary musician, a bassist who made room for the other instruments, who sought to accommodate the intention, the essence, of the song, regardless of its genre (and he was comfortable playing in a wide variety of genres—rock and roll, honkytonk, pop, country, folk).  Before Matt Krist arrived in 2011, Bo singularly and independently comprised the music department at Jemicy, and he passionately encouraged any even remotely interested student to take up an instrument and jam at every opportunity.  Surely, there are a number of Jemicy graduates who remember Bo as one of the more influential and supportive members of our community.

It seems to me that Bo found his greatest entertainment in (and reserved his best humor for) completely commonplace interactions with students; that is, the interactions would be commonplace if not for the extraordinary lengths to which Bo extended himself to make the students’ days happier, funnier, and altogether more delightful.  The passions of Bo’s life were all famous, and they touched our entire community. He shared his joys openly.  He was an indelible part of the lives of the people who knew him, and I will remember him dearly. – Sam Farmer, US English Department Chair

Bo was many thing to many of us: a colleague, a mentor, a friend, a father, a brother…I have come to depend on him over the past 18 years we have worked together. He did a million little things. I still can’t figure out how to work the camera/TV in the office. I knew he would be here at 5:45 or 6:00 a.m., depending on how long it took him to get his coffee at the 7-eleven. I know he loved his Jemicy family almost as much as he loved his own. I know there is a reason he spent his last moments on this Earth here. He made his rounds as usual. He visited Ben and played with the dogs after he made coffee. He may have given some of you a hard time, or maybe made you laugh. He is a presence that truly will be missed. – Steve Kolar, Director of Facilities

Bo was a family man. Bo was always a gentleman. Bo was a “people person.” Bo was there when you needed him. Bo had something to say to make you smile, even if you weren’t really in the mood to smile. Bo cared about everyone and showed it. Bo loved playing the part of the Raven’s Santa at their charitable events. “Santa Bo” also enjoyed posing with pets for holiday photos. Bo and “Jamicy,” Jemicy’s band, played so well that they inspired Darius Rucker to record “Wagon Wheel.” Bo, my friend and colleague, will always live in my heart. - Kathy Stein

A celebration of Bo’s life will be held at Jemicy School on June 8, 2019, at 3:30pm. More details to come.

The family has requested that donations in Bo’s memory be made to:
Bo Fowler Financial Aid Endowment Fund https://jemicyschool.givingfuel.com/in-tribute-to-bo
Select “Bo Fowler Financial Aid Endowment Fund” from the “Select a Fund” dropdown.

A complete obituary is available on this Evans Funeral Chapel page, where you can also send memory tributes to the family.
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