George D. Fowler Jr., 81, NSA manager


George DeWitt Fowler Jr., a retired National Security Agency manager and bowling and tennis enthusiast, died of complications from a neurological condition Saturday at Genesis ElderCare in Severna Park. The Glen Burnie resident was 81.

Born in Bluefield, W.Va., and raised in Glendale, Calif., he joined the Army Air Forces during World War II and was a navigator on 11 combat missions in Europe. He received the Europe-Africa-Middle East Medal with three battle stars and the Air Force Longevity Ribbon with four Oak Leaf Clusters.

A captain, he was assigned to NSA at Fort Meade in 1959. He was a communications and crypto-security officer, and after leaving military service in 1963, he remained at NSA as a civilian employee. He worked in the Office of Telecommunications and Logistics Policy and Planning and was chief of the Tape Center.

He earned a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Maryland's University College in 1965.

A tennis player, he was an organizer and president of the Anne Arundel Tennis Association and a past president of the Maryland Tennis Association, and had been vice president of the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Association.

He was captain of a Mid-Atlantic senior men's tennis team and competed regularly in the Maryland Senior Olympics.

Mr. Fowler also was president of the NSA Bowling Association, president of the Maryland State Junior Bowling Association and executive vice president of the Greater Baltimore Bowling Association. He was inducted into the Greater Baltimore Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

"He was a bowling coach and instructor at Fair Lanes Ritchie and kept the leagues going," said a daughter, Bonnie Abrashoff of Annapolis. "He was brave. He would walk down the lanes and stand where he did not want the child to throw the ball."

His wife of 52 years, the former Pearl Halpern, a former member of the Women's Army Corps whom he met and married during World War II, died in 1997.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Harundale Presbyterian Church, 1020 Eastway, where he was a counselor, deacon, elder and Sunday school superintendent.

Survivors also include a son, the Rev. Michael J. Fowler of Leesburg, Va.; another daughter, Patricia Kelm of Severna Park; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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