UPDATED: Prayers needed – Jerry Fowler

We’ve alll followed his story over the past year in The New Irmo News. We all know the numerous ways he gives back to the community.

Rather than write all about those things, I simply ask you to pray for Jerry and Judy – right now.

UPDATE (1:59 pm, Thursday) I received a call that Jerry passed away around 11:15 this morning.

From The State

Radio Realtor loses battle with cancer

Jerry Fowler of Chapin, a self-employed real estate broker who pioneered the use of radio in the Columbia area to educate the public about buying and selling property, died today, a spokesman for the Lexington-Richland 5 school system said.

Fowler, 61, conducted a public battle with lung cancer and kept a diary of the ups and downs of his treatment. Until being hospitalized recently, the weekly installments were published in an Irmo weekly newspaper and posted on his company’s web site.

“My thoughts are always positive and I know by my prayers and yours, faith and belief that I will be totally healed and better than new after this is over,” he wrote in his last posting in mid-April.

Fowler’s death creates a vacancy on the District 5 school board, the second time in less than a decade the panel has lost an incumbent to cancer. Former board chairman David Eckstrom died from complications of brain cancer in 2000.

A political newcomer, Fowler enlisted the help of political consultant Rod Shealy in 2004 to wage a winning campaign for an at-large seat representing Lexington County on the District 5 board. He cast a key vote in a controversial June 2005 decision ousting former superintendent Dennis McMahon.

Fowler said he voted to fire McMahon because a majority of the board had lost confidence in McMahon’s ability to lead a district where skepticism about how public money is spent on education continues to linger. Fellow board members elected Fowler in late 2007 to serve as vice chair. His term on the District 5 board was set to expire this November.

In early 2007, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and won the admiration of many for persevering with a busy schedule of 14-hour work days in spite of debilitating treatments. Fowler even posted a set of “before and after” photographs of himself with and without hair.

Fowler sold real estate in the Columbia area for nearly two decades and in 1998 coined the slogan “the Results Team” to describe his newly formed company and its employees.

He was a regular on WVOC radio, offering real estate and related advice weekdays. He also was the host of a talk show on Saturday mornings that focused almost exclusively on the subject.

After graduating from high school in 1964, he attended what is now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, majoring in marketing and psychology.

In addition to his many credentials and memberships in local, state and national real estate organizations, Fowler was a founding member of a local Business Development Club.

The South Carolina chapter of the Leukemia Society of America named him its “man of the year and he served on the organization’s board of trustees.

He also was active in the Better Business Bureau for 15 S.C. counties and was its board chairman from 2005 until 2007. He also was a past member of the Lexington Toastmasters.

— Bill Robinson, brobinson@thestate.com