Debra Fowler Clare, age 44, died on Sept. 28 after a “long courageous battle with cancer,” according to an obituary written by her husband, David Clare.
Fowler Clare, an alumna of the University’s graduate school, worked at FSU as The Gatepost’s administrative assistant from February of 2016 to May of 2017.
David Clare said during Fowler Clare’s time as a graduate student at FSU in the late ’90s, she found her passion working with first-year students. Fowler Clare received her master’s in public administration in 1998.
David Clare said she “was a shining star. She touched everyone around her. Everyone felt a connection with her. She lit up the room and was always willing to help anyone who needed it.”
In 2015, before the position of director of first-year programs was established, David Clare said she “ran the whole thing” and assisted the department in programming for incoming students.
He said, “She eventually wanted to get back to it. Working with college students brought her such joy. I know she valued and loved every second of her time at FSU.”
Desmond McCarthy, chair of the English department, and advisor to The Gatepost, knew Fowler-Clare as a graduate student. He said, “Deb was an exceptionally kind person who was always concerned about others.”
He added, “She was such a bright light in the world who touched so many people’s lives, and I will forever be grateful to have been one of them. She was inspirational.”
Alexandra Gomes ’17, former editor-in-chief of The Gatepost, said, “The year-and-a-half I worked with her was one of the most stressful and trying periods of my life. She was so supportive and kind to me, as well as the rest of the staff.”
Gomes added, “She went above and beyond her job description for us, and I don’t believe I would have made it through my year as editor without her.”
Gomes said Fowler Clare worked closely with The Gatepost staff and was always a “fierce advocate” for the students working for the newspaper.
Brittany Cormier ’17, former associate editor of The Gatepost, said, “Deb’s positive attitude was always so refreshing and there was never a day that she wasn’t smiling. … She instantly became more than our administrative assistant – she was part of our Gatepost family.”
Melina Bourdeau ’16, former associate editor for The Gatepost, said, “She was a bright shining face who always had something positive to say. Even though I didn’t know her well, I could tell she was a mother because she constantly made sure we had enough food in the office.”
Fowler Clare is survived by her husband of 19 years, as well as her two children – Tyler, age 13, and Abby, age 10.
According to the obituary written by David Clare, donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the Pan Mass Challenge. Family friend Sean Rogers will be riding in Fowler Clare’s honor. Donations can be made at profile.pmc.org/sr0251. Additional donations can be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.