Hall of Fame Honor for the Late Tillie Fowler; Fowler, Caridad G. Asensio and Lucy W. Morgan Will Be Inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame

By Patton, Charlie | The Florida Times Union, December 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Hall of Fame Honor for the Late Tillie Fowler; Fowler, Caridad G. Asensio and Lucy W. Morgan Will Be Inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame


Patton, Charlie, The Florida Times Union


Byline: CHARLIE PATTON

The late Tillie Kidd Fowler, the "steel magnolia" from Jacksonville, will be inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame, Gov. Jeb Bush announced Wednesday.

Bush said former U.S. Rep. Fowler, Caridad G. Asensio of Miami and Lucy W. Morgan of Tallahassee will be inducted into the hall during ceremonies March 14.

Plaques honoring their contributions to the state will join plaques representing 66 other distinguished Florida women, among them writer Zora Neale Hurston, educator Mary McLeod Bethune, athlete Althea Gibson and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

Fowler, who died March 2 at 62 from a cerebral hemorrhage, was known to her admirers as the "steel magnolia" because of her combination of genteel Southern charm and tenacity in pursuit of what she thought was right.

"That's wonderful," friend and former congressional aide Nancy Burrows said when told Fowler will be inducted into the hall. "Of all the women I've known in my entire life, Tillie deserves it the most. She was a mentor to so many women. And men, too. It's a small way of honoring her."

Attorney William Scheu, who was a longtime friend and political supporter, choked with emotion when he talked about the honor.

"She was a dear person we miss greatly," Scheu said. "She contributed so much in so many ways without losing her sense of servant-hood and of humility."

Fowler was a pioneering politician and passionate advocate for the city and military who became the first woman and the first Republican to serve as president of Jacksonville's City Council, then went on to serve four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

She became the highest-ranking woman in Congress and the fifth ranking Republican in the Republican-dominated House in 1998. But she chose to leave Congress at the height of her power after four terms because she had originally run as an advocate of term limits and chose to honor her commitment, though she was not legally bound to do so.

After leaving Congress, Fowler continued to divide her time between Jacksonville and Washington. She joined the law firm Holland & Knight. Among other clients, she represented Jacksonville on the issue of base closure and realignment in 2003 and 2004. …

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