From Edmonton Journal by Bill Mah, October 19, 2013: “When B.H. (Berdie) Fowler co-founded a small-town newspaper with her husband, it was his dream, but it became her lifelong passion. The co-founder and editor of the Camrose Booster filed her last weekly column just a few weeks before she died on Sept. 24 at age 93.
Not content to simply report the news, Fowler also made things happen by championing not-for-profit causes, leading the local business community and serving on city council – breaking gender barriers along the way.
Born on July 1, 1920, Berdie was the first of three girls born to grain farmers Lester and Lilian Anderson. She was named Bertha Helen, but much preferred the nickname she received at school.
On the family farm near Bittern Lake, education was a priority even in those days when finishing high school was uncommon, especially for girls.
Berdie cultivated her love of literacy and learning all her life and passed it on to her children.
She was very encouraging of lifelong learning, not just secondary or postsecondary education
said Beth Balshaw, Fowler’s daughter.
She loved to play Scrabble and, in her 90s, she was using a computer to keep in touch with her 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
After graduating from the local one-room school, Berdie and her sister Edna moved to Camrose to finish high school. She went on to complete a business program at Camrose Lutheran College. That’s where Berdie met Bill Fowler, who became her husband of 51 years.
After Bill returned from the Second World War, he and Berdie co-founded the Camrose Booster in 1952.
“He visualized himself as a writer and when he had an opportunity to switch occupations … someone suggested to my dad that maybe there would be a place for a free-circulation community paper in Camrose,” said Blain Fowler, Berdie and Bill’s son and Booster publisher.
Berdie supported her husband in the endeavour and they worked side by side.
“She was a good wife and actually had some artistic ability so she said ‘OK, if that’s what Bill wants to do, that’s what we’re going to do.’
Berdie handled the paper’s art, composition and accounting duties. She was much behind the scenes; he was the public face of the publication.
Berdie also began writing. Her weekly Pen Points column won industry awards, including second place at the annual International Free Papers Association competition in 2012. She also won the association’s Joseph M. Sklenar Editorial Award of Excellence.
From the beginning, she balanced her daily family obligations with the demands of putting out a weekly newspaper.
The Booster started out in the basement of our house,” remembered daughter Beth Balshaw. “All of us will talk about the lullaby of the presses as we went to sleep.
Berdie’s volunteer work often centred around giving women fair opportunities in business and the workplace. She blazed trails for women while she was at it.
In the 1960s, she helped create the Camrose Children’s Centre, the first childcare facility in rural Alberta, and assisted in the opening of a school for children with mental and physical disabilities.”