Philanthropist Linny Fowler died Monday of natural causes, according to a report in The Morning Call. She was 73.
UPS heiress Fowler was known locally for giving generously to the arts and to the poor. Several buildings in the Lehigh Valley are named in her honor, including the Fowler Family South Side Center of Northampton Community College in Bethlehem. She also was a major benefactor of ArtsQuest.
NCC spokesman Heidi Butler said, "As the news traveled across campus this afternoon, there was shock and sadness, followed by spontaneous sharing of memories, not only of how generous Linny was, but also of how down-to-earth she was and about the personal interest she took in students and the encouragement she gave them. She was beloved."
Fowler had been a long-time supporter of NCC. Her financial support enabled the college to purchase and refurbish an abandoned Bethlehem Steel office building into the “Fowler Family Southside Center, " now a hub for literacy, fine arts, workforce training, community education and medical care.
Fowler also was a member of the ArtsQuest Board of Trustees, the ArtsQuest Foundation Board of Trustees and the Visual Arts Board. She was instrumental in helping to build and open the Banana Factory and its Fowler Family Visual Arts Education Center.
ArtsQuest notified its board of Fowler's death in an email Monday.
"Everyone at ArtsQuest is deeply saddened by the loss of such a caring, compassionate person and an amazing woman whose generosity and love for children and our community knew no boundaries," it said. "Linny Fowler was one of those rare individuals whose actions matched the size of her heart….she was a woman who truly made a difference in our community and in the lives of so many.
"Linny gave tirelessly to our community over the decades, supporting dozens of youth, community and arts organizations through her volunteerism and philanthropic efforts, inspiring thousands through her hard work, dedication and passion. Her passing leaves a void in our community that will be impossible to fill."