COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Politicians and community members are mourning the loss of former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair and Democratic National Committee Chair Don Fowler.
Fowler died at the age of 85 from leukemia, according to the Associated Press.
A well-known Democrat who led the national party under then-President Bill Clinton, oversaw the party’s 1988 national convention, and lead the South Carolina Democratic Party in the ’70s, Fowler was also known for being a professor at the University of South Carolina.
Fowler’s life is being celebrated and honored by prominent members from both political parties.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said he is praying for Don and his wife, Carol.
“Don Fowler was a true gentleman in an arena where it’s become the exception and no longer the rule,” McMaster wrote.
Senator Lindsey Graham also shared his condolences online.
“Don was passionate about his party and beliefs but also believed in working for the common good to make life better in the state we love,” Graham said. “He was a giant in South Carolina politics, higher education, and government. He will be missed.”
Members of Fowler’s own party also shared their memories of the legacy the former party leader is leaving behind.
Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair and Associate DNC Chair Jaime Harrison called Fowler a “titan in politics” and one of his mentors.
“Words can’t express how much I loved and admired Don Fowler,” the former Senate candidate wrote on Facebook. “If there was a logo of a Democrat, it would be Don. Next year was going to be his 50th year as a @DNC Member.”
Lowcountry Democratic Congressman Joe Cunningham said, “Don Fowler was an indomitable force for good in our state for more than half a century. I am going to miss his voice and his passion for South Carolina.”
Current South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Trav Robertson tweeted, “He was a professor, father, chair of the DNC, chair of the SCDP, campaign guru, supporter, but most of all...a friend. I shall miss his advice and long letters.”
Memories of Fowler’s passion and kindness are also being shared as politicians mourn the loss of a man they said was a long-time staple of the party.
“Don and I met as young Democrats back in 1969, and we became friends,” U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said in a statement. “It was in Don’s home that Emily and I first met a young Joe Biden soon after his first reelected to the United States Senate. Don was always the connector, the one bringing political friends and, sometimes, enemies together.”
Some also remembered him as a veteran who served his country.
“I first met Don Fowler when I was a teenager and later served with him in the Army Reserves,” Former South Carolina GOP Party Chair Van Hipp tweeted. “We were on opposite sides of the political aisle, but I always enjoyed talking politics, military issues & all things South Carolina with him. Don was a patriot who loved America.”
The prayers and memories are also flooding in for Fowler from outside of South Carolina’s borders.
“Don was a Democrat’s Democrat,” former Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe wrote. “Nobody loved the Party more than him. He will be missed.”
Fowler is survived by his wife, Carol, and his children, Donnie and Cissy.