Obituary: Carolyn Rae Fowler

Monday, September 20, 2021 - 7:15am

Carolyn Rae (Johnsen) Fowler died peacefully on January 20th, 2021. Carolyn was born November 16th, 1944 in Sioux City, Iowa to Clarence and Sophie Mae Johnsen and raised in Cedar County, near Laurel, NE. Carolyn was the beloved wife of David Fowler and loving mother to children, Wendy Jane Bantam and Benjamin Roger Bantam (daughter-in-law, Linnea) and David's son, David P. Fowler (daughter-in-law, Joanne).

She was the adoring grandmother to four grandchildren; Hannah and Sara (Fowler), Clayton and Cameron (Bantam). Daughter, sister, mother, wife, aunt, grandma, true friend, pianist, painter, horsewoman, gardener, writer, teacher, Fulbright scholar, award-winning investigative journalist, world traveler, muckraker, science journalism professor and boxer, Carolyn taught at Hay Springs High School, Hay Springs, NE, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, and at Northeast High School in Lincoln, NE.

She was a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Award; a widely recognized and prestigious scholarship created to improve intercultural relations, and cultural diplomacy. As a Fulbright scholar and teacher, she moved her family to Broseley, Shropshire, England and taught at the Abraham Darby School in Telford, England. She was a journalist at Nebraska Public Radio receiving national recognition for her work in investigative reporting on the environment. Her radio journalism appeared on National Public Radio, Voice of America, and BBC Radio.

She later retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a science journalism professor. Her published works include nationally recognized, 'Raising a Stink: The Struggle over Factory Hog Farms in Nebraska', editor of 'A Communication Primer for Scientists and Engineers: Taking Science to the People' and her personal essays published in 'Leaning into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West'.

As an accompanist on piano to her husband, David Fowler, on violin; she traveled the state of Nebraska through the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. Gardener of truth, she set our imaginations on fire by teaching us to investigate; to look closely, and to listen. Journalism she knew to be a public service. She encouraged us to develop communication and serve through the language of writing, music and the arts and supported all endeavors in curiosity and exploration.

We are students to her perseverance, humor and strength. We are proud of the way that she lived; of her incredible insight, intelligence and grace. Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband Dave, children Wendy Jane, Benjamin (Linnea) and David (Joanne), grandchildren (Hannah, Sara, Clayton and Cameron), brother Steve Johnsen and sister-in-law, Vicky and their son, Jason; sister Dianne and brother-in-law, Carl Yendra and their children, Whitney and Zachary. No visitation/cremation. Celebration of Life (Gathering and Live Stream) to be announced at a later date. Memories and stories shared are comforting to us. Email personal reflections to

Obituary from Lincoln Journal Star

Carolyn Rae Fowler
Carolyn Rae Fowler