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Reverend Warren County, leader of relief expeditions, dies after a battle with a rare brain disease

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Trinity United Methodist Church in Hacketstown Friday announced the death of Reverend Frank Fowler III, the great pastor there for 35 years.

Fowler helped lead annual aid missions to Haiti, and was in the Caribbean island nation when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck on January 12, 2010. An estimated 300,000 people were killed and more than 1.3 million were left homeless.

Fowler was honored for his international efforts with introduction in 2018 in the Warren County Hall of Fame.

Fowler, a native of Hackettstown, lived in Great Meadows. According to the Church, he was left behind by his wife Karen Fowler and his five daughters, Faith Fowler, Angela Fowler-Hurtado, Christina Fowler, Savannah Connolly and Emily Watson. He was an ordained elder of the United Methodist Church and a member of the clergy of the UMC’s annual Greater New Jersey Congress.

In a Friday message to the Trinity congregation, Reverend Debra de Vos said that in recent months Fowler had been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare, degenerative, potentially fatal brain disorder.

De Vos wrote on Friday: “With a heavy heart joining you, beloved pastor Frank Fowler was called home for eternal rest with the Lord this afternoon.” “He was surrounded by his wife and daughters as he moved home peacefully.”

Trinity has been conducting annual relief missions to Haiti for decades, focusing on bringing medical supplies and other personal health items to Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. Fowler was among a group of 15 men and women who made the journey in 2010, when the earthquake struck.

Speaking to lehighvalleylive.com in 2015, Fowler quickly recalled the team account at a soccer field outside an orphanage.

“My next idea was for all the Haitian children and all of our friends who run the orphanage,” he said at the time. “Soon we saw the extent of the devastation inflicted on all the children.”

Although worried about the devastating earthquake, Fowler and his team attempted to calm the children.

“We were all leaning on each other,” he said.

Trinity Church will not hesitate to come back to help each year: Fowler said five years later that the earthquake certainly hasn’t discouraged us from looking back, it certainly hasn’t made us fear.

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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at [email protected]

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