Herman L. “Dixie” Howell
November 4, 1921 – November 24, 2014
Herman L. “Dixie” Howell, 93, of Edmond, Okla., left this life on Monday, November 24, 2014 as placidly as he lived it. Born November 4, 1921 in Strang, Okla., Dixie subsequently spent the great majority of his adult life as a proud resident of Edmond.
He graduated from Vinita High School in 1939. In 1942 he volunteered for service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during the second World War and worked as a mechanic on B25 and B17 bomber crews training stateside throughout the conflict. Following his honorable discharge in February 1946, he attended the University of Tulsa on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. After several successful years working for the Gates Rubber Co. in Little Rock, Ark., Mr. Howell made the acquaintance of Joe Redd of Wichita, Kan., owner of Mid Continent Fire and Safety Co., who hired him to manage a new branch of the business in Oklahoma City. He promptly moved his young family to the Village in 1954 and to Edmond in 1956 and for more than three decades sold all manner of safety equipment to the petroleum industry and other clients.
He and his wife, Bettie, subsequently bought the Oklahoma branch of Mid-Continent from its Wichita, Kan., owner and ran it until his retirement in 1989, when he sold the business to his son, Kirby.
Golf, hunting, and bowling were Dixie’s favorite leisure activities, and for decades he held football season tickets for both the Sooners and Cowboys. In his retirement years, his great joy was singing in the choir at the First United Methodist Church of Edmond, where he and his wife were members throughout their lives.
He was the seventh of nine children of Luther Albert Howell and Bertha Ann Hilburn Howell. Bertha spent part of her childhood in the Cherokee orphanage
in Salina, and his Cherokee heritage was a point of pride for him throughout his life. As a small boy, he developed the habit of calling himself Pete (“Whoa, Pete!” was his cautionary self-admonition whenever he picked himself up from a stumble as a toddler,) and his siblings called him that ever after; to his friends and acquaintances he was always Dixie, never Herman.
Mr. Howell had the rare ability to enjoy both company and solitude in equal measure. An avid reader throughout his life, he fell into formal education early and accidentally at the age of four by doggedly following his older brothers on their morning walk to Strang’s elementary school. When the teacher wearied of finding people to walk him back home, his mother told her, “Just go on and teach him, then – it looks like that’s where he wants to be.”
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Bettie Louise Lloyd Howell, his four children, Shelby Howell of Crosby, Texas, Denise Bowie of Edmond, Kirby Howell of Edmond, and Troy Howell of Craftsbury, Vt., and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by two siblings, Bill Howell and Barbara Wolf, both of Edmond. He will be greatly missed.
Funeral services 2 PM Friday, November 28 at First United Methodist Church in Edmond, Interment to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.
The family requests that memorials in Dixie’s honor be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, alz.org 1-800-272-3900.