Howell named First Citizen

Published 10:58 pm Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Suffolk and North Suffolk Rotary clubs have selected as their 2013 First Citizen a former City Council member, leader in several local organizations, trustee at his alma mater, Sunday school teacher and community servant.

Dr. Leroy Howell, a local dentist, was named as the First Citizen on Thursday.

“I was not expecting that,” he said. “It was a complete and total surprise.”

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The clubs give the recognition each year and throw a reception in honor of the winner. Proceeds from the event, set this year for April 18 — go toward the clubs’ community projects.

Howell graduated from Chuckatuck High School, Elon College and the Medical College of Virginia. He was later commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Army’s Dental Corps. Upon completing his active-duty service, he returned home and continued as a reserve officer until retiring in 1964.

Howell served on the first City Council of Suffolk after the merger, from 1974 to 1978. He also served on the Suffolk Airport Commission and on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Howell has been past president of the Chuckatuck Ruritan Club and Suffolk Rotary Club. He also is past vice-president of the Old Dominion Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He has received several awards from the Boy Scouts, including the Silver Beaver Award and God and Service Award.

Howell serves as a member of the Birdsong Trust, the United Church Homes and Services Foundation and the Elon University Foundation. As chairman of the Virginia Operations Council, Howell led a 20-year effort to bring the Lake Prince Woods retirement community to Suffolk. Howell also served on the Board of Trustees at Elon for more than 20 years and has been elected Trustee Emeritus.

Howell is a member of Oakland Christian Church, having been a Sunday school teacher for more than 50 years and also serving on the Board of Deacons and the Budget and Finance Committee.

As if all that weren’t enough, Howell has maintained his dental practice for more than 50 years, has served as president of the Tidewater Dental Association and has been awarded fellowship status in the Virginia Dental Association, American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists.

Howell said the First Citizen recognition is especially important to him because he has known so many former honorees.

“One of the things that makes it an honor, I know so many of the previous First Citizens, and many of them were good friends of mine.”

Wayne Scott, president of the Suffolk Rotary Club, extended his congratulations to Howell on Thursday.
“We think he’s a great candidate.”

To order tickets to the reception, which will be held at 6 p.m. April 18 at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, visit