Bernell Walker Fowler, 77, of Addison passed away on June 23rd at her home after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. A member of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Industry Hall of Fame, Bernell was the first employee hired by Kinro Industries in Double Springs in 1967. She went from sweeping out an empty building to General Manager of a multi-million-dollar corporation. She was one of the only women working in the mobile home industry and was a role model and mentor for many young women in Winston County and throughout the southeast. She viewed her greatest professional accomplishment as designing and opening a new window manufacturing facility for Kinro, which has now become Lippert Components. She won many company achievement awards and sat on the advisory boards for the Winston County Technical Center and for Traders and Farmers Bank.
Known as a straight-shooter with a wicked sense of humor, Bernell graduated from Addison High School in 1964 where she was head cheerleader and, if even half the stories are true, a bit of a rabble rouser. It was at Addison High School that Bernell met a core group of friends who have now become their own version of the Golden Girls. In her younger days she was an avid golfer and fisherperson, and she always enjoyed time spent with the one-arm bandits at the casino. An incredibly strong woman with a heart of gold, Bernell was a silent supporter of those in need, never seeking attention or even allowing herself to be recognized; she was a trailblazer who insisted on living life on her own terms. A fair boss and a loyal friend, Bernell was a fierce and proud mother to her daughter Patsy, whose adventures she never failed to support and mostly encouraged.
Bernell was preceded in death by her loving parents Palmer and Zula Bell (Bobo) Walker, and her beloved sister, Dorothy Nicklaus.
She is survived by her daughter Patsy and her partner MaryAnn Bartlett of Winter Haven, Florida; nieces Lynn (Barry) Hendrix and Missie (Leon) Banda; great nephew, Reid Hendrix; great nieces, Courtney Mendoza and Sarah Tutt, and special adopted daughters, Wendy Isom and Katrina Lake. And of course, she is survived by her friends, the Golden Girls—you know who you are and know you were loved.
“We will be having a celebration of life on Monday June 26, 2023 from 4pm-7pm at Lakeshore Inn. We will have some food and share stories of Mom. Drop by at any time. Feel free to wear your Crimson Tide gear. There will not be a formal service.”