Born in Fremont, Mich. in July 1952, he was the oldest of Nelson E. and Virginia M. Fowler's three children. Greg lost his entire optic system in surgeries following his diagnosis at age 1 of bilateral retinal blastoma. His parents guided him through a normal childhood, complete with raised-letter alphabet blocks and, family tradition says, dismantling and reassembling his tricycle, doubtlessly inspired by his mechanic father. The family relocated to Wyoming, Mich. west of Grand Rapids, so that he could take advantage of a unique county-based instructional option for children who were blind.
He took "normal" classes at Wyoming High school, and after graduation attended Grand Valle State University to start his college-level education. He transferred to Michigan State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering, with a substantial dose of computer science. He was an electrical engineering graduate student at Stanford University starting in 1976, finishing with a degree in engineering in 1981.
A distinguished career as a software engineer at a number of well-known Silicon Valley companies followed, his family said. After retiring in 2003, Greg devoted countless hours, and his formidable technical and critical-thinking skills, to the benefit of local organizations, notably the Mountain View Educational Foundation and the League of Women Voters, serving terms on the boards of directors as well as being a volunteer. He also became a member of the board of the National Braille Press in Boston. He was a founding member of the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind in 1987, and graduated from Leadership Mountain View in its class of 2005.
His passions were the furtherance of educational opportunities for blind students, and the natural environment and its denizens, on both land and in the sea, said his wife. Julie Lovins. His local outdoors activity centered on walks around Old Mountain View with his wife.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two sisters, Susan Berryhill of Morley, Mich. and Marlene Wolters of Jenison, Mich.; four nieces and nephews; and two brothers-in-law.
No services are planned. The family prefers memorial gifts be made to National Braille Press, www.nbp.org.
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