Jim Fowler Memorial Service

The Explorers Club will hold a special memorial service to honor and celebrate the life of Jim Fowler MED’66 at Club Headquarters on Friday, May 31st. The Club has a long-standing tradition of honoring those members who have gone on to higher exploration. Before a roaring fire, in the historic Clark Room, Members and guests will toast Jim with a glass of whiskey (or another libation) and toss their glass into the open fire.

Jim Fowler, one of the world’s best-known naturalists, presented information about wildlife and wilderness to the American public on television for more than 50 years. He first served with Marlin Perkins as co-host and later became host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and also hosted Mutual of Omaha’s Spirit of Adventure. Those programs received many awards including four Emmys and an endorsement by the National PTA for family viewing. In addition to ongoing appearances on many network talk shows, Fowler was the wildlife correspondent for NBC’s Today Show and a regular on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Fowler graduated with degrees in zoology and geology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and is internationally recognized as an authority on predatory birds. He pursued a graduate degree by conducting the first studies of the world’s largest eagle, the harpy, in the wilds of the Amazon, and later tracked the movements of the Andean condor in Peru. His studies were interrupted by a career of travel and television.

He worked with many wildlife and conservation projects throughout the world. In 1994 he received the prestigious Explorers Club Medal, the Club’s highest honor, and later served variously as the Club’s Honorary Chair, Honorary President, as well as an Honorary Director. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa from Earlham College and the 2003 Lindbergh Award, which recognizes individuals for significant contributions toward the balance of technology and nature. In 2012, he received the National Conservation Achievement Award in Education from the National Wildlife Federation.

Jim is survived by his wife Betsey, his children Mark & Carrie, and two grandchildren.

Date: Friday, May 31

Time: 6:00 pm Check-in, 7:00 pm Service, Reception to Follow

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

This memorial is free of charge, and open to Members and their guests. To secure a place at the memorial, please call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at reservations@explorers.org.

Marguerite Perkins Garrick Remembers Jim Fowler

I was so sorry to learn dear Jim was gone, but glad he went peacefully, surrounded by his beloved family.

I remember vividly the first time I met him. I was nine years old and we were on the sidewalk outside our apartment building in Chicago. Wild Kingdom was taking shape and Jim had been hired as my dad’s cohost. He was so tall and good looking with that marvelous deep, rich voice that I’ll always remember it.

I’ve so many happy memories of him, like Jim diving into our backyard pool for a swim before dinner on our porch in Clayton. He must have been in town doing voice over work after they moved the set to a studio in St. Louis; he came to dinner a lot during those years; my parents were also so fond of him.

And I remember he took us all one day outside St. Louis to an open field where he flew his birds. I was so impressed by the trust he’d built with these beautiful raptors; It was magical to 12 year old me.

Then as the years passed I’d see him at special events like those Mutual of Omaha gatherings where he and my dad posed for a thousand photos with salesmen. And of course I’d see him and often his family at ECADs, but he was so popular and in demand, there was never time for more than a quick hug.

When I lived in D. C. I was working for Friends of The National Zoo when the 20th Anniversary of Earth Day was approaching.

I asked Jim to come down to do live feeds to the Today Show in front of the Pandas, and he said he’d love to. I cherish that memory of Jim being the perfect, charming spokesman for endangered species with Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing munching bamboo in the background.

One of the last times my mother Carol went out was to go to the Zoo ( St. Louis Zoo, of course ) to receive a lifetime achievement award. Jim was there to present it to her and then he spoke. He made her so happy that night by refreshing her fading memory with so many good ones, and making her laugh, and laugh.  I’ll never stop being grateful.

I’m trying to recall the last time I saw him to really talk to and I think it was at a dinner Benjamin Hulsey gave during an ECAD weekend several years ago at The Racquet Club in NYC. I was seated with him and we had a great time reminiscing and talking about conservation issues. He talked a lot about his many projects, and efforts to reach the hearts and minds of people to convince them wildlife and habitat preservation were vital. How lucky I was to have that time with him.

He was such a strong voice for wild animal’s survival his whole life, impacting millions of people.

My deepest sympathy to Betsy, Carrie, and Mark. It’s the end of an era, and we’ve all lost one of our most respected and beloved advocates for wildlife conservation, and a really stellar human being.

With love,


Marguerite Perkins Garrick

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