It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear mother Wilberta Dyas (Johnson) Fowler Topple on March 23, 2023. She left us peacefully, surrounded by her children, to be with her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Born in Lawrence Station, NB, mom was the daughter of the late Wilbert and Ethel (Cleghorn) Johnson. Wilberta will be greatly missed by her children, Rockland Fowler (Marion), Jeffrey Fowler (Wendy), Pamela Fowler (Robert Laird), Heather Topple-McAllister (Doug), Daniel Fowler (Christina), Susan Topple-McGinley (Jack), and Eric “Rick” Topple; grandchildren, Shane, Rudi, Mandy, Joshua, Natalie, Mindy, Sarah, Jimmy, Connor, Molly, Mason, Levi, Maggie, Corbin and Brenley; 13 great grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.
Wilberta, also known as “Bertie” to her friends or “Nana” to most of her family, graduated from NB Teachers’ College in 1956 and started her career in Saint John. Mom married Floyd Fowler, her longtime academic rival, in 1958. The couple moved from Lawrence Station to Bath, NB, before ultimately making Nashwaaksis their home in 1966. Floyd’s fatal work accident in 1970 left Wilberta to tirelessly navigate life as a single mother of four young children, which she did with purpose and grace.
In 1975 Mom married Eric Topple, a widower and father of two young girls, Heather and Susan. Silverwood soon became home to the “Topple-Fowler Brady Brunch” who added a plus-one with the birth of Ricky in 1977. Mom continued her career in Education, teaching at Fredericton High and completing her MEd at UNB. She retired in 1995, while Eric continued his surveying career with the Canadian Coast Guard until his retirement and passing in 2009.
Mom could never get enough time at “the cottage”. Fanjoy’s Point, on Grand Lake, saw numerous gatherings with family and friends right up to last summer. July 12th became an annual benchmark on the summer calendar as we would come together to celebrate her birthdays. Of course, no one was allowed to mention the year of mom’s birth. Visitors to the cottage always risked being challenged by Mom, to a game of Scrabble and they often fell victim to her wily ways. Between Scrabble games, mom could be found in the strawberry fields, walking the lane, or sunning on her beloved deck swing with a cup of tea and a Dunster’s donut, aka “nana-ball”. Mom was a devoted Christian and prayer warrior who will be forever remembered for her love and friendship. You will be forever loved mom.
In addition to her parents, mom was predeceased by her siblings, Pauline Young, Seymour Johnson, Maxine Sabine, Evelyn McKenzie, Joyce McArthur, Joan Stewart, and Jean Patterson.
A memorial service was held at Brunswick Street Baptist Church on Thursday, March 30, 2023, at 2 pm, with Rev. Greg Geldart as the officiant. An interment will be held at the Fredericton Rural Extension Cemetery on Saturday, July 8, 2023, at 1 pm. A second interment will follow at the Brockway Cemetery at 3 pm.
For those who wish, donations in mom’s memory may be made to the Brunswick Street Baptist Church Building Fund, ShareWord Global (formerly Gideons International) or a charity of the donor’s choice.
“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” CT Studd