Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person’s family and friends in lasting ways.
PORTLAND — Alton Fowler, a longtime truck driver for Hannaford Supermarkets, who had a passion for family and fishing, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.
Mr. Fowler worked for Hannaford, delivering food to its grocery stores throughout southern Maine and New Hampshire for more than 40 years.
Though he enjoyed his work, nothing topped that moment he punched out to go home to his wife and children.
“Driving was never who he was. It’s what he did,” said his son Donald Fowler of Portland. “The things that were important to him were family, church and the outdoors.”
In 1952, he married the former Raylene Peabody. They raised four children and a niece. His wife died in 1973.
His son reminisced on Wednesday about his years growing up in South Portland. Mr. Fowler briefly taught Sunday school at First Baptist Church. He also drove the church’s school bus.
His son spoke fondly about the family trips to Montreal, Canada, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
“He was a great father,” his son said. “He was always firm but fair. He was very loving.”
A few years after his wife died, he married Mary Fowler. The couple would have celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary in June. She had three children from a previous marriage.
Kathy Plamann, his step-daughter, remembered him Wednesday as a quiet and compassionate guy, who was always there for them.
“He stepped in and kind of adopted me and my two sisters,” she said. “He raised a lot of children over the years. He was my ideal father figure … you could go to him for anything.”
Mr. Fowler enjoyed fishing with his son.
He was also an exceptional woodworker. To him, it was more than a hobby — it was a craft. At the time of his death, he was working on several projects in his basement.
“As sick as he was, he would go down to the basement to work,” Plamann said. “He was definitely a master craftsman. He loved tools. He could fix anything.”
For the past 20 years or so, the Fowlers wintered in Bradenton, Fla.
In the summers, they kept their camper at the Four Seasons camping area in Naples.
About eight years ago, Mr. Fowler was diagnosed with cancer. He remained cancer-free for five years, but it returned a few years ago. The past year had been particularly difficult for him and his family.
His wife’s health is declining, too.
“He was taking care of my mom,” Plamann said. “His biggest fear was that he would go first. He was so worried about who would take care of my mom. I’ll miss his quiet strength.”
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: