John Howell Jr.

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 23, 2009

John A. “Jack” Howell Jr., 89, of Suffolk, Va., passed away at his home, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. A native of New Bern, N.C., he was the son of the late John Alfred and Hazel Kirk (Simpson) Howell.
Returning to Suffolk following World War II, he operated the Home Laundry and Dry Cleaners with his father until the late ‘60s. Subsequently, he served as the Director of Public Utilities for the city of Portsmouth; a position he held until his retirement.
He graduated from Suffolk High School in 1937 and was a 1941 graduate of VPI. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army and was a captain of anti-aircraft artillery in the Pacific Theater. He served in the Virginia Army National Guard from 1947-1969 and retired in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel. In his last assignment, he served as the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion 111th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
He was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Suffolk, a member and former Commander of American Legion Post 57 and a member of Suffolk Elks Lodge No. 685 and Masonic Lodge No. 30 AF & AM. He was a former member of the board of Riddick’s Folly, Suffolk Meals on Wheels and Suffolk Friends of the Library. He delivered Meals on Wheels for 13 years.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Frances H. Abernathy.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jean Jensen Howell. He is survived by a son, John A. “Jack” Howell III and wife Eugenia, of New River, Ariz.; two daughters, Anne H. Wood and husband, Walter, of Carlisle, Pa., and Hilary H. Gersbach and husband, Marcus, of Suffolk; five granddaughters: Marie C. Evans and husband, Terry, Meredith Gersbach, Lauren Gersbach, all of Suffolk, Stephanie W. Rowland and husband, Bryan, of Dayton, Ohio, and Kathleen W. Bermudez and husband, Edgar, of Charlotte, N.C.; two grandsons, Mark J. Howell, and wife, Amy, of Glendale, Ariz., and Kirk S. Howell and wife, Kristin, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; four great-grandsons: Andrew, Michael and John Evans, of Suffolk, and Jacob Wood, of Dayton, Ohio; three great-granddaughters: Rachel and Sophie Howell, of Glendale, Ariz., and Lily Howell, of Scottsdale, Ariz. He is also survived by a brother, James S. Howell and wife, Dorothy, of Charlotte, N.C., and several nieces.
A funeral service will be conducted Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 at 2 p.m. in the R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home & Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk by the Rev. Keith Emerson. Interment, with military honors, will follow in Holly Lawn Cemetery in Suffolk, Va. The family will receive friends in the funeral home Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and other times at the home of his daughter, Hilary Gersbach. In lieu of flowers memorial donation may be sent to the American Red Cross – Suffolk Chapter, P.O. Box 129, Suffolk, VA 23439 or the Suffolk Meals on Wheels, 2800 Godwin Blvd., Suffolk VA 23434. Condolences may be registered at

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