New Apache Band residential floor honors legendary director, Edwin ‘Pinky’ Fowler

Jan 06, 2014 by

During 2013 TJC Homecoming festivities, Apache Band members were officially welcomed to their new home, the Edwin “Pinky” Fowler Floor in the Louise H. and Joseph Z. Ornelas Residential Complex.

Band alumni and friends of Tyler Junior College attended a dedication ceremony for the floor previous to the annual Alumni Awards Homecoming Dinner. Pinky’s son Edwin E. Fowler II and family gave a generous gift to the new Apache Band Heritage Endowment to name the floor in honor of a legendary band director.

Edwin E. Fowler II addresses the crowd during the dedication of the floor named in honor of his late father.

Edwin E. Fowler II addresses the crowd during the dedication of the floor named in honor of his late father.

In 1949, Pinky Fowler came to the “country college” in Tyler and intended to only stay the length of his nine-month contract. Instead, his welcoming personality, zest for life and love of music found a home in “Apacheland.” Fowler would eventually lead the Apache Band in parades, concerts, TJC halftime shows, college bowl games across the country and two Super Bowl performances.

After 23 years as band director, Fowler assumed other duties to assist Tyler Junior College, always with an eagerness to help students succeed. He served as psychology instructor, registrar, executive administrative assistant, associate vice president, dean of student services and vice president. But, he never lost his lifelong passion for music. After retiring, he founded the Tyler Big Band and would lead the group for many years. However, his continued dedication to and love of TJC and its students made him a constant presence at various alumni events and College activities. In 2001, he was recognized with the TJC Alumni Association Apache Spirit Award and would lead the band in the TJC Fight Song during Homecoming activities.

The Edwin “Pinky” Fowler Floor recognizes his leadership and includes a dedication plaque with Fowler’s well-known advice inscribed at the top, “bloom where you are planted.” Vintage photographs representing his many roles at TJC surround the plaque. A shadow box containing the hat Fowler wore as director of Apache Band completes the display, which appropriately recognizes the man who wore many hats to benefit TJC students.

Dedication guests were also treated to a sneak peek of the John Franklin “Doc” Witt Apache Band Lounge. A member of the first Apache Band, Jerry D. Bartos, gave a lead gift. Jerry gave to name the lounge after the first director of TJC’s band programs, Doc Witt.

The lounge recognizes all band directors, past and present, and will be officially dedicated when fully funded at $25,000. Contributions are appreciated in any amount, and single or aggregate gifts of $1,000 or more will be recognized as part of a permanent plaque.

Band alumni can join together to honor their graduation year, instrumental section or special performance groups.

Alumni and friends are encouraged to give to the Apache Band Heritage Endowment, which will provide ongoing funds to address priority needs for the band program.

For information on various naming opportunities including floor wings and rooms, please visit or call 903-510-2034.

Mitch Andrews is TJC executive director of advancement and alumni engagement.



Alumni, Fall 2013

About the author

Mitch Andrews is the Executive Director for Advancement and Alumni Engagement.