Fowler, who is the assistant athletic director at New Madrid County Central High School and a health instructor, was praised by the group for her years as a coach and the development of a sports and fitness program in the district which has produced numerous outstanding female athletes.
Also they noted her efforts outside of the classroom including being active in the National Autism Symposium and 10 years of service on the Family Support Board of the Region 9 Council for Developmental Disorders, as a support person for those facing a cancer diagnosis and with causes such as the CP Center Walk-A-Thon, Judevine Autism Centers, St. Jude Children's Hospital and various scholarship committees.
"The Pi Omicron Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi is proud to be able to name Diane Fowler our 2005 Woman of the Year," said sorority member Kate Hampton prior to making the presentation of an engraved bowl. "We are blessed to have such a person as you as part of our community."
In expressing her appreciation for the honor, Fowler said she has sought to encourage others "not to give up, no matter what life throws at you, you don't quit."
A native of Lincoln, Ill., the daughter of Jim and Betty York credits her father, also an educator, with influencing her choice to become a teacher. The opportunity to play sports and an inspirational high school coach, she said, led to her interest in coaching and physical education.
She received her degree in physical education and health at Murray State University, where she also played college volleyball from 1972-75.
Her coaching career includes 22 years as a volleyball coach, 14 years coaching softball and a year as a basketball coach. Included in those years is beginning the junior high volleyball program in the district. While teaching she also earned her master's degree in physical education.
In addition to Sunday's honor by the local community group, Fowler has been selected for Who's Who Among National High School Teachers, as Teacher of the Year in 1986 and the students named her a Renaissance Teacher of the Month.
Fowler and her husband, Robert, are the parents of two sons, Aaron, who was diagnosed with autism at age 4, and Ryan.
As a result of her son's autism, Fowler is active in the National Autism Symposium and worked for the past 10 years on the Family Support Board of the Region 9 Council for Developmental Disorders.
A breast cancer survivor, Fowler backs the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life as well as her efforts as a support person.
Also she is a past president of the Ladies Golf Association and of the Southeast Missouri Ladies Golf Association.