Donald E. Howell, Sr, age 91, passed into the presence of his Lord and Savior on August 29, 2019. He passed with his son Paul, at his side, holding his hand.
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Don was born September 13, 1927, to Orlando E. and Frances (Jennings) Howell. He grew up on his familys’ farms in Marysville, Washington. Each farm was pioneered by both parents’ side of the family. One of the farms is now Jennings Park in Marysville. In 1950, Don entered the Army, serving in Korea and Japan during the Korean War. Sgt. Howell was honorably discharged in 1952 and continued to serve in the Army Reserves then the National Guard.
He met Leona A. Leonard while doing graduate work at Seattle Pacific University. Don and Leona were married on August 14, 1953, in the First United Methodist Church in Marysville. Don directed and sang in church choirs in the Spokane area. One such traveling choir was the Whitworth Acapella Choir. He had a beautiful baritone singing voice. During this time, he graduated from Whitworth University with a Bachelor Degree. He taught music, drama and mathematics in Deer Park and Raymond School Districts. Don was able to play any instrument proficiently, whether it was strings, brass, reeds, or percussion.
Don and Leona moved to Aberdeen, Washington in 1955, where he taught mathematics at Hopkins Jr. High, Weatherwax Sr. High School and Grays Harbor College. He earned a Masters degree from Portland State College in 1966. Don retired from teaching in 1985. He remembered each of his students by name and the year they were in his classes. During his teaching career, he served in the Army Reserves and Washington National Guard. After going up through the ranks, he retired from the National Guard with the rank of Lt. Colonel in 1987.
Don served as a councilman for the 5th Ward on the Aberdeen City Council in the 1970’s and was a member of the Aberdeen Planning Commission. He was very active member of the United Commercial Travelers and served as Grand Counselor in 1986. He served as a Commander of and was a life member of the American Legion. Don was a member of the Aberdeen Elks, the Washington Education Association and National Education Association.
After retiring from teaching in 1985, Don went on a Walk to Emmaus where he was immersed in a closer walk with our Lord. Donald and Leona entered the ministry serving churches in the Methodist conference for the next 12 years. In 1985, Don and Leona’s unpaid ministry led them to Eastern Washington where they served as Pastors of the Pateros and Bridgeport Methodist Churches for three months. Don and Leona were authorized by the Bishop of the Methodist General Conference to conduct regular church services, officiate at weddings, funerals, and baptisms. Don and Leona traveled great distances to visit people in the hospital and those that were home-bound. Parishioners often commented that Don preached like Billy Graham and sang like George Beverly Shea. Because the people of the churches would not let them go, three months turned into eight years continuing their ministry. They retired from lay ministry in 1997. They travelled to numerous states, villages in South America, Canada, and made many road trips. When they retired from ministry, their car had over 400,000 miles on it from ministry and from touring the United States.
On May 21, 2016, Don suffered a stroke that prevented him from being mobile. For the next three years, he remained at home surrounded by his loving family.
Don is survived by Leona, his loving wife of 66 years, five children: Orlando G. Howell (Julia), Dona Carriker (Gene), Donald Jr. (Lisa), Paul, Carlene Kuhn (Gene). He is also survived by 11 Grandchildren and 5 Great Grandchildren, a sister Ruth Jobes, a brother-in-law Thom Leonard, numerous Nephews and Nieces. His parents, his sister Lucille and son-in-law Gene Kuhn preceded him in death.
The family thanks Don’s wife Leona, all the amazing caregivers, staff at Harbors Home Health & Hospice, daughter-in-law Lisa Howell, daughter Dona Carriker, Grandson Evan Kuhn, and primary caregiver Orlando Howell for the quality care they provided during the past three years giving Don a good quality of life and to be at home surrounded by his loving family.
A memorial service will be held at Fern Hill Funeral Home chapel on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 11:00 AM.
A private interment will occur at an earlier date.
Arrangements are entrusted to Twibell’s Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen, WA