Carolyn Johnsen Fowler

A Celebration of Life (Gathering and Livestream) will be announced at a later date for 76-year old Carolyn Johnsen Fowler, a true Nebraska renaissance woman. 

There will be no visitation/ cremation.

Memories and stories shared are comforting to the family, so everyone is encouraged to email personal reflections and memories of Carolyn to

Colonial Chapel Funeral Home of Lincoln, NE, is in charge of arrangements,

Carolyn Rae (Johnsen) Fowler was born Nov 16th, 1944, in Sioux City, Iowa to Clarence and Sophie Mae Johnsen, and died peacefully on January 20th, 2021. 

Carolyn was raised in Cedar County, near Laurel, NE, and in addition to being a daughter, sister, mother, wife, aunt, grandma, and true friend had a list of accomplishments few could match.

Those include pianist, painter, horsewoman, gardener, writer, teacher, Fulbright scholar, award-winning investigative journalist, world traveler, muckraker, science journalism professor and boxer.

Carolyn taught at Hay Springs High School in Hay Springs, NE, Ghost Ranch New Mexico, and Northeast High School in Lincoln, NE. 

She was a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Award; a widely recognized and prestigious scholarship created to improve intercultural relations, and cultural diplomacy. As a Fulbright scholar and teacher, she moved her family to Broseley, Shropshire, England and taught at the Abraham Darby School in Telford, England. 

Carolyn was a journalist at Nebraska Public Radio, receiving national recognition for her work in investigative reporting on the environment. Her radio journalism appeared on National Public Radio, Voice of America, and BBC Radio. 

She was a science journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln until her retirement. 

Carolyn’s published works include the nationally-recognized, ‘Raising a Stink: The Struggle over Factory Hog Farms in Nebraska.’ She was editor of ‘A Communication Primer for Scientists and Engineers: Taking Science to the People,’ and had her personal essays published in ‘Leaning into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West’. 

She traveled both as a piano accompanist to her violinist husband David, and as part of the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. 

Gardener of truth, she set imaginations on fire by teaching to investigate; to look closely, and to listen. Journalism she knew to be a public service. She encouraged us to develop communication and serve through the language of writing, music and the arts and supported all endeavors in curiosity and exploration. 

We are students to her perseverance, humor and strength. We are proud of the way that she lived; of her incredible insight, intelligence and grace. 

Carolyn was the beloved wife of David Fowler and loving mother to children, Wendy Jane Bantam and Benjamin Roger Bantam (Linnea) and David’s son, David P. Fowler (Joanne).

She was the adoring grandmother to four grandchildren; Hannah and Sara (Fowler), Clayton and Cameron (Bantam).

Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents. 

She is survived by her husband Dave, children Wendy Jane, Benjamin (Linnea), and David (Joanne), grandchildren (Hannah, Sara, Clayton and Cameron), brother Steve Johnsen and sister-in-law, Vicky and their son, Jason; sister Dianne and brother-in-law, Carl Yendra and their children, Whitney and Zachary.