Lily Ann Fowler Whitis, age 72, passed away in Marshall, Texas on April 29, 2021. Lily was born on October 18, 1948 in Marshall, Texas to John G. Fowler, Jr. and Eva Erickson Fowler.
Lily is preceded in death by her husband, Larry Don Whitis; her parents, John and Eva Fowler; brothers, John G. Fowler, III and Richard W. Fowler; and brother-in-law, William J. Adam. She is survived by her sisters, Jean Fowler Adam of Rockdale, Texas and Susan Fowler Ryan (Lehman Ryan) of Rehobeth, Alabama; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Lily was a graduate of Marshall High School in 1967 and continued her education at Stephen F. Austin University. In 1969, Lily began her insurance career in the office of a local State Farm Insurance Agent (Byassee). She was employed in 1974 with Louis A. Williams & Associates, Inc. as the manager of that entity’s local insurance agency. She had progressively greater responsibilities in the company, moving from commercial lines supervisor to manager of commercial lines and she held various insurance licenses. Lily continued her insurance education with various courses and then taught Continuing Education classes at LAW for the licensed employees. She was previously active in the Federation of Insurance Women of Texas and a former officer and member of Tri-County Insurance Women’s Assoc. At the time of her retirement in 2014, she was the Corporate Secretary and Compliance Officer for LAW.
Lily was essentially instrumental to the Optimists of Marshall for two years shy of two decades. She was the behind the scenes, detail person who not only kept track of meetings, reporting to the Marshall News Messenger, attendance and finances, but did the organizational work for various projects. Perhaps the most challenging of which were the golf tournaments at the end of the decade covered by this chapter. Her actual service as treasurer began in 1995, three years before she officially became secretary-treasurer. Her service ended in 2013 two years after she was honored in 2011 for sixteen years of service. It took the two extra years to cobble together a replacement arrangement.
Lily was the oldest of five and the quintessential eldest child. She was definitely the leader and did her best to keep the rest of us in line. She was really like a second mother and that probably explains why she often advised, “dogs are much easier than kids!” And dogs were a much loved and constant part of her and her husband’s life.
Lily was an overachieving student and set the bar high for the rest of us. Growing up in a small town meant that inevitably at least one teacher each year would ask if we were Lily Ann’s sibling. We would answer “yes” and hope and pray they didn’t, consequently, expect too much from us.
Lily enjoyed fishing and traveling with her husband throughout the years. They shared a love of football and attended both Aggie and MHS games. She was a voracious reader and was happy to trade books with coworkers. As an avid cook/baker she was well known for the pecan pies and hot sauce she made and shared.
She was much loved and admired by her work family and not just because she always kept a bowl of candy outside her office for all the employees. In her spare time, Lily used her artistic skills to draw and paint and do crafts. She loved a Sudoku puzzle, the harder, the better!
A Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date. As a memorial tribute, please consider a donation to the Humane Society of Harrison County in Lily’s name. (Humane Society of Harrison County, P.O. Box 155, Marshall, Texas 75671 or hshcpaws.org). Online condolences may be offered at www.meadowbrookfh.com