- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
MACEDONIA — A pioneer of area women’s move into the modern mainstream has died.
Paula L. Fowles, (nee Myers), age 76 of Macedonia, who served the city for 35 years as its first female firefighter, died Jan. 15, 2017. According to Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black, she was also the first female firefighter in Summit County.
Mrs. Fowles moved to Macedonia in 1975 after graduating from Akron City Hospital in 1961 with a degree in nursing.
On her retirement in 2013, she told the News Leader that she and another woman were invited to join the Macedonia Fire Department in 1978 by former Fire Chief Carl Stewart, who was the first black fire chief in Summit County.
“Before we knew it, we were on the fire department,” Mrs. Fowles said. “It was something I could do to give back to the community even though I hadn't been there that long.”
As part of firefighter training, Mrs. Fowles participated in a 260-hour course that was taught at the old city hall. She learned how to move and climb ladders, tie knots, attach a hose to a fire hydrant and run equipment back and forth from the fire to the truck.
Mrs. Fowles was also required to participate in EMS training twice each month, which included search and rescue missions, where she entered a dark room and had to locate objects within it.
In 1997, Mrs. Fowles got more involved in the educational areas of the department. During that time, the department was changing to 24-hour shifts that required firefighters to not only fight fires but also perform EMS responsibilities.
Mrs. Fowles started getting involved with CPR, First Aid and AED training as well as working with the Explorers, a group of young men and women interested in becoming firefighters.
According to her obituary posted online by Johnson-Romito Funeral Home, Mrs. Fowles was the wife of Roy Fowles, deceased, and the mother of Belinda Justice and Brian (Amy) Fowles.
A memorial service was Jan. 23 at the United Methodist Church of Macedonia. The obituary states burial was at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Youngstown and the family suggests memorial donations in Mrs. Fowles’ name be made to the Macedonia Firefighters Association, 9691 Valley View Rd., Macedonia, 44056.