Donald Fowler, who led a notable career in both Dallas retail and theater, has suddenly passed away at age 58. The Nasher Sculpture Center, where he was the director of retail, announced his death on May 5. The Dallas Voice reports that he passed on May 3, after being struck by a DART streetcar while jogging.
"Charismatic and full of warmth, Donald joined the Nasher team in 2016, revitalizing the Nasher Store with his expert eye for objects and his gifted approach to customer service, bringing joy, energy, and tenderness to every interaction, both with visitors to the museum and to his colleagues," says the Nasher Facebook post.
Fowler was also an actor, playwright, and composer, appearing in productions at Uptown Players and other theaters around DFW beginning 20 years ago. His Jack the Ripper-inspired musical, Creep, enjoyed a fully produced world premiere at WaterTower Theatre in 2015. Despite not having any formal training, Fowler composed the score himself.
"It goes without saying Dallas lost a talented artist," says Craig Lynch, co-artistic director of Uptown Players. "Donald Fowler was instrumental in the growth of not only Uptown Players but continuing his brilliance to help enrich the Dallas art scene. His kind soul, friendship, and keen eye for artistic excellence will be missed by many. It will take a long time for the Dallas arts community to recover from this loss. We all lost a loving and dear friend."
"My heart is broken over the loss of Donald," says Stephanie Riggs, a performer and artistic director of Our Productions Theatre Co. "I have known him for almost 20 years as a co-actor, director, writer, teacher, and most of all, a friend. Most recently, he was mentoring students of the Young Artist Training Program, where he was sharing his knowledge and love of Meisner with the students. No surprise, he was also a gifted teacher and connected instantly with the students. He spoke with them just a few weeks ago via video with advice and words of encouragement during this time of quarantine. This is a terrible loss to the community, and to all of us that called him a friend."
"Donald was so passionate about this show [Creep], and I will never forget this experience," says Kevin Gunter, who was the musical director and conductor for the production. "He called me a few times last year to chat about his next show and other productions of Creep being stage elsewhere; he was so excited. He is gone far too soon."
Prior to joining the Nasher team, Fowler headed up the retail shop Nest on McKinney Avenue, which closed in 2016.
"He had a rare and bright presence among us, and he will be greatly missed," states the Nasher Sculpture Center. No funeral arrangements have been announced.