Jim Mark Fowler, 89

Betsey Fowler along with her children, Mark Fowler and Carrie Fowler Stowe, the family of the iconic wildlife expert and television personality, Jim Fowler, shared that their father passed away on Wednesday, May 8th, peacefully at home at the age of 89, surrounded by his family.  Known to generations as Co-Host and later Host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, a favorite guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,  and the Wildlife Correspondent on NBC’s Today Show, Jim lived an incredible life as a naturalist and spokesperson for wildlife and the natural world.  Before his television career began, he carried out expeditions to Africa where he lived with the Kalahari Bushmen, and to South America where he conducted ground-breaking research on the Harpy, the world’s largest eagle, and the Andean Condor. Jim was a member of the world renowned Explorers Club since 1960, and was a recipient of the Club’s highest honor, The Explorers Medal.  Jim grew up on his family’s beloved farm in Albany, Georgia, known as Mud Creek, where he first bonded with nature and, by age eleven, was training birds of prey.  Jim designed and created free roaming wildlife parks in Charleston, South Carolina, and at Chehaw Park in Albany, Georgia with the primary goal of inspiring families to make a connection with the natural world.  His property of 30yrs in New Canaan, Connecticut, became the gateway to what is now a 50 acre land trust preserve called the Silvermine Fowler Preserve for all to enjoy.  One of the most influential personalities in nature programming, Jim inspired millions to care about wildlife and nature and inspired countless zoologists, wildlife educators and other professionals who have dedicated their careers to helping preserve the natural world and the animals and habitat in it.  His impact as a spokesperson for our planet will be felt for generations to come. Jim’s wife Betsey Fowler is a renowned wildlife artist, his son Mark Fowler is the VP of Wildlife Conservation at the Explorers Club and Nature Initiative Director at Grace Farms CT where he works to save African wildlife from poaching and trafficking, and his daughter Carrie Fowler Stowe is an advocate for the environment who is passionate about the connection between human health and the health of the natural world.  Her husband Doug is an avid outdoorsman and spends as much time as possible in the back country.  Jim’s grandchildren Avery and Brinton have taken on the love of the outdoors and together, they are continuing his legacy by focusing on preserving and protecting the future of wildlife, wilderness and the health of all living things on this planet. The Fowlers also added that Jim was a Georgia boy at heart who loved being with his family and in recent years, loved driving around in his vintage jeep on his wildlife preserve in Georgia and sitting outside watching birds at his homemade bird feeder while his grandchildren played in the yard. He also recently completed his autobiography called Jim Fowler’s Wild Life (to be released soon), and loved reminiscing about the good old days as he told stories around the campfire with friends and family.

New Construction on West Hills Road Sells for $3.6 Million

The following property transfers were recorded recently in the Town Clerk’s office. For more information about each property from the assessor, click on the street address. To get the history of a New Canaan street name, click here. ***

May 6

289 New Norwalk Road #9

$942,500
Frances Emery, trustee to Karen Wells

May 3

198 West Hills Road

$3,625,000
198 West Hills LLC to Kevin Dunn

March 2

12 Field Crest Road

$1,060,000
Craig Wunderlich to Michael Barron

83B Heritage Hill Road

$232,000
MTGLQ Investors LP to Meifang Li

148 Forest St. #B

$365,000
Audrey Paglialunga to Christopher Decicco

Lea DiMuzio, 88

Lea DiMuzio, 88, a longtime New Canaan resident, passed away peacefully on April 28, 2019 at Bridgeport Hospital. She is survived by her two sons Frank DiMuzio (Deborah) of Norwalk, CT, Rocky DiMuzio (Tina) of Missouri, daughter Annalea Mace (James) of Monroe, CT, two grandchildren Nicholas DiMuzio (Alana), and Amanda Mace, as well as two great-grandchildren Darian and Landon DiMuzio. She is also survived by her sister Yola DiPietro of Saulte Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada. Lea was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

Coffee’s on for Thursday

Join fellow residents, business owners and NewCanaanite.com editor Michael Dinan for the monthly Community Coffee, to be held 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 2 in the Curtis Art Gallery on the main floor of New Canaan Library. (Please use the original Main Street-facing entrance.)

The free, public coffee is a group conversation about what’s happening around town, moderated by Dinan. It’s presented in partnership with the library, and we serve Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee (thank you, Doug). Topics come from attendees and may include later school start times, P&Z applications, the business district, upcoming local elections, proposed sale of a Lapham property and planned road connecting high school and Waveny parking lots. Those who would like to receive a friendly reminder email about the coffee—held the first Thursday of each month—should email Dinan at editor@newcanaanite.com.

Cornelis Nicolaas Schipper, 101

Cornelis (Cor) Nicolaas Schipper left us on April 26th at age 101 in Medford, NJ.  He exemplified the “greatest generation” and an American success story.  

Born November 23rd, 1917 in Hoogkarspel, North Holland in 1917 to a tulip farming family, he was sent to England in his youth to learn English. His language skills would become very useful after the outbreak of World War II and later for establishing a business in the United States. A Royal Dutch Army veteran, he was captured on the Utrecht frontline by the German Army but released after a few months in a prisoner of war camp. Later in the war, Cor became a local resistance leader along with his namesake uncle and other relatives.  

His resistance work included finding hiding places and food ration cards for religious refugees and young Dutch men evading German labor camps. Among the refugees he helped save was Sabine Fröhlich whom he would marry after the war. Cor used his English as the radio operator for the Mandrill resistance group to coordinate with British and Canadian pilots dozens of night time air drops of agents, weapons and other supplies in the North Holland countryside. Cor was a quiet hero, a modest man who deflected any attention or praise for his resistance work. Cor and Sabine emigrated to the United States in 1947. Borrowing $1,000 for a car, Cor drove across the country, collecting orders town-to-town for flower bulbs from florists and wholesale growers. That was the start of C. Schipper & Co., which became a successful business that continues today under a new generation as Colorblends Wholesale Flowerbulbs and the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. 

A quiet man with a sharp wit, he was fond of telling his grandchildren “I’m living proof hard work won’t kill you.” An avid soccer player in his youth, Cor had a lifetime love for the beautiful game that he shared with his grandchildren. He was predeceased in 2017 by his wife of 70 years Sabine Gabriele Schipper-Fröhlich and is survived by his five children, Agnes (John) Sarasota, Fla.; Doortje Fenwick-Schipper (Stephen) Linwood, N.J.; Andreas (Claudia) Greenwich, Conn.; Christopher (Dudley) New Canaan, Conn.