Wayne Fowles, 82, of Montgomery, Mass., died on September 13, 2022, at his home after an extended illness. He was a husband, father, grandfather, brother, veterinarian, farmer, and a friend to many. The eldest son of Elwyn and Louise (Searle) Fowles, Wayne was raised with his three siblings on Sunnydell Farm in Southampton, Mass., where he was an active member of 4-H and showed the family’s Guernsey dairy cows at local fairs every summer. He was a graduate of Easthampton High School, class of 1958, and he went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University in 1966.
While in vet school, Wayne met his wife and partner of 57 years, Louise. After graduating, he proceeded to work for veterinary practices in Vermont and Massachusetts before starting his own practice in Westfield, Mass., in 1971, and then opening Westfield Animal Clinic, a building of his own design, in 1974. Over the course of the next 40 years, he would treat thousands of animals both large and small. He built a loyal following of clients with his combination of practical and realistic advice, wry sense of humor, common sense approach to veterinary medicine, and a genuine love and compassion for animals. The warmest corners of his personality were reserved for his furry patients.
When not working at his vet practice, Wayne would most likely be found at his family’s farm – tending to the health of the herd, planting and harvesting the fields, repairing equipment, and indoctrinating his children in the ways of showing cows at the local fairs every summer. Later, he stayed in touch with his roots by collecting and restoring antique tractors, many of which he would bring to pulling competitions at local fairs. He also loved to collect classic cars, buying and selling a variety of makes and models through the years but always hanging on to his beloved 1963 Studebaker Avanti.
Wayne loved the outdoors. He was an avid deer hunter for many years, he loved to fish for blues and stripers on Cape Cod every summer, and built his dream house in Montgomery with hundreds of acres of forest to explore on ATVs. With like-minded friends he cultivated over the years, he carved out trails, built a pond, and tinkered with his tractors in his barns. And, of course, he spent countless hours every year cutting, splitting, and stacking a winter’s worth of firewood. He was immensely grateful to the many neighbors and friends who helped him and Louise in his later years. He passed away in his sleep, in his chair that looked out over the gardens and bird feeders to a spectacular view of the valley below where he had been raised.
He is survived by his wife Louise, and his children Kirsten (Andrew), Derek (Adrian), Erika (Aaron), and Gretchen (Josh), and his grandchildren Matthew and Isabel Graham, Galen and Reilly Fowles, Sophia and Olivia Wolbach, and Bryce and Quinn Galster. He also leaves behind his sisters, Christine Fowles and Lorena Thayer, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Meryl Fowles.
Calling hours will be September 24, from 10am-12pm at Mitchell Funeral Home, 15 Park Street, Easthampton, MA 01027, immediately followed by a farewell ceremony at the same location from 12-12:30pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Wayne’s honor to Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY 14853, or Mass Audubon, 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773.