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Donald D. Fowler

Donald D. Fowler, a former World Bank executive, died at his home in Alexandria, on April 2, 2013. He was 100 years old.

Mr. Fowler was born on Nov. 18, 1912, in Elk Point, S.D., the eldest of seven children of Clarence E. and Sophia F. Fowler. He graduated from the University of South Dakota, receiving a B.A. in political science and history in 1935, and an M.A. in political science in 1936. He earned a Phi Beta Kappa key and was a regional runner-up for a Rhodes Scholarship.

Mr. Fowler completed postgraduate study at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, where he received an M.S. in Public Administration in 1938. He was thereafter employed as a personnel officer for the TVA in Knoxville, Tenn., where he met his wife, Elizabeth Archer. After the outbreak of World War II, he entered active duty in the U.S. Army and, after wartime, continued in the active reserves until his retirement, in 1972, with the rank of Colonel.

Mr. Fowler joined the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 1946, as one of its first 40 employees. He served, consecutively, as Chief of its Organization and Planning Division, Personnel Director, and Deputy Director of the Corporate Secretary’s Office. By the time of his retirement in 1977, the number of employees had grown to 4,000. As a public administration specialist, he pioneered in designing and implementing structures and operating procedures for new international organizations responsible for aiding reconstruction of the world's war-devastated financial and political institutions. He played a central role in developing the Bank's recruitment, training and compensation programs, including formation of a credit union for employees in which he held account number 1 until his death.

In hiring professionals who would be both competent and representative of the Bank's worldwide membership, Mr. Fowler created, in the 1950s, a search program which championed the selection and advancement of qualified women and African professionals. He represented the Bank in recruitment and other duties in more than 50 countries. His influence extended well beyond the Bank because the systems and practices which he instituted there became models for other international bodies, including the United Nations.

Mr. Fowler pursued a post-retirement career as a consultant for the West African Common Market, African Development Bank and U.S. Department of Labor. He performed services for his home city of Alexandria, on the Transportation Planning Board, Commission on Aging and the Joint Arlington/Alexandria Workforce Investment Board. He was honored by the mayor of Alexandria in November 2012 for his distinguished service to the city. He was a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., where he served on the New Member, Library and Finance committees, and was an Elder of the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

As a centenarian, Mr. Fowler was active both mentally and physically. Until an accident in March 2013, he maneuvered, without assistance, throughout his multistory home and over the roads of Alexandria and Washington D.C. Each week, he sent email blogs on historical, philosophical and current political topics to almost 100 friends and family members. He authored several books, including genealogical works on the Fowler and Archer families, and a personal memoir entitled "A Life in the Public Service."

Mr. Fowler was predeceased by his first wife, Gueneth Sidle in 1938, by his second wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) Archer, to whom he was married for 69 years, in 2011, and by his parents and five of his siblings. He is survived by his three children, Elizabeth Fowler of San Francisco, Calif., Ann Fowler Henry and her husband John of Newton, Mass., and Donald F. Fowler and his wife Karen Hannah of Aarhus, Denmark; his grandchildren, Ben Henry and his wife Karen Robichaud of Brookline, Mass., Caroline Henry of San Francisco, Calif., Samantha Henry of Jersey City, N.J., and Alice and Emma Fowler of Aarhus, Denmark; his great granddaughter Emilia of Aarhus; his brother John and his wife Margaret of Elk Point, S.D. and Charlottesville, Va.; and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

The family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks and affection to Mr. Fowler's home helpers, Viola Lodge, Joan Hopson and Zewditu Bekele.

A memorial service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Donald Fowler Scholarship Fund at Elk Point High School, care of Brian Shanks, Superintendent, Elk Point, SD, 57025, or to the Elizabeth Fowler Music Fund at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA.