Jean Fowler, founding director of Maternity Center
East and a former administrator and midwife in the
Gynecology and Obstetrics, died of lung cancer at her
Mt. Washington home on Feb. 5. She was 75.
Fowler joined the university in 1961 as a nurse
midwife, and in 1972 she helped open a women's family
planning clinic at the corner of Chester and Jefferson
streets. The clinic, which came to be called Maternity
Center East, continues to serve the women of East Baltimore
with more than 2,000 visits a year. Fowler was the clinic's
director until her retirement in 1995. Beginning in 1989,
she also was administrative manager for all the ambulatory
care clinics in the Department of Gynecology and
"I was very happy and lucky to 'inherit' Jean when I
came on board in 1984," said Edward Wallach, a former
chairman of the department. "I will always remember her
wonderful energy, her dedication and her competence as an
Courtland Robinson, medical director of MCE from 1990
to 1995, said, "Jean's genius was that she knew better the
health needs of the women of East Baltimore and was able,
better than anyone I knew, to seek, coordinate and obtain
funding from various sources in order to meet those
In addition to her many appointments with professional
organizations, Fowler acted as an adviser to Planned
Parenthood and Family Planning Orientation International.
"No one was a greater advocate for family planning rights
and for women's health in general than Jean," said Jeri
Mancini, current director of Maternity Center East.
Jean Fowler was born in London on Jan. 6, 1930, and in
her teen years trained in ballet. She would later attend
the Lucy Clayton Modeling School and modeled in Paris.
In 1952, she received her nursing diploma from the
Liverpool Royal Infirmary at the Liverpool University
Medical School and received post-graduate training at Mt.
Sinai Hospital in New York. Returning to England, she
became a certified midwife of the Royal College of Midwives
in 1958. Two years later, Fowler immigrated to Canada and
became a public health nurse with the Canadian Indian and
Eskimo Service in Saskatchewan. She moved to Baltimore in
1961 to begin her career at Johns Hopkins, where she was a
nurse midwife observer with a child growth and development
Fowler is survived by her husband of 37 years, Bruce
O. Fowler, a retired chemist formerly with the National
Institutes of Health; their son, Richard O. Fowler of
Dearborn, Mich.; and a sister-in-law, Jean Bird, and niece,
Pattie Bird, of Cheshire, England. Her first husband,
Arthur R. Wheeldon, died in 1958.
A memorial service was held Feb. 19 in Baltimore. At
Fowler's request, her remains will be placed within the
sound of the bells of the church St. Mary-le-Bow in London,
where it is said that only those born within the sound of
the bells are true Cockneys. Donations in her honor may be
made to the American Cancer Society, 8219 Town Center Dr.,
P.O. Box 4325, Baltimore MD 21236.