In Memoriam: A Tribute to Reta Fowler





The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) has lost a long-time active member, volunteer, and professional leader. Reta Fowler passed away peacefully at the West Parry Sound Health Centre on May 23, 2017.

Reta was born and raised in Saskatchewan and graduated from the College of Pharmacy, University of Saskatchewan in 1957. Reta began her career in Toronto with Tamblyn Drugs, moving into hospital practice at The Hospital for Sick Children and then the Toronto General Hospital to join stalwart University of Saskatchewan graduate Douglas J. Stewart in 1965.

Reta was recognized for her leadership abilities when in 1968, she became the Director of Pharmacy at the Mississauga Hospital. It is noteworthy that she was one of only a few women in director positions at the time, a challenge that she undertook with a passion. She was an early advocate of ‘equal pay for equal work’, another issue of the day.

Reta was a proud supporter of her profession and the consummate volunteer, sitting on committees, task forces, and advocacy groups, both provincially and nationally, whenever called upon. Reta served as President of the CSHP Ontario Branch in 1977-78 and then as CSHP national President in 1982-83. Reta was very active as a member of the Directors of Pharmacy from Metro Toronto and the hospital purchasing group.

During this period of heavy association commitment, Reta also served as a member of the Hospital Pharmacy Advisory Group for Baxter (Travenol) in the mid 80’s as well as a hospital pharmacy management consulting group, primarily for the ‘pharma’ industry. Reta was known for her support of colleagues on CSHP Council and in the hospital; she always ensured that pharmacy’s voice was heard. Furthermore Reta was a mentor to many pharmacists and to up-and-coming pharmacy managers and directors.

Reta was an early leader in advocating for patient safety, primarily as an expert in packaging and labelling. She worked closely with the Ontario Hospital Association and Hospital Purchasing Incorporated in support of formularies, buying groups, and labelling standardization to name just a few.

As a very accomplished practitioner, director, colleague and exemplary advocate for her profession, Reta was recognized with the CSHP Ontario Branch Contribution Award, the CSHP Ontario Branch Past President’s Award, and the CSHP Distinguished Service Award in 1990. She was granted Fellowship standing (FCSHP) by CSHP in 1991.