James Louis Howell "Jim"
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A celebration of the life of James Louis Howell ("Jim") will be held January 2nd 2014 at Saint Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. Jim would have wanted it known that he died as he lived his life, stubborn and determined, refusing to follow doctors' orders, defying convention, and living life on his own terms.
Jim was born was born August 29, 1940 in Waco, Texas to Hilton and Louise Howell. He graduated from Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri in 1958, then earned a degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Jim possessed an intense fascination with the complexities of the world around him, which was evident in the wide array of work he performed across the span of his life: cattle-ranch wrangler, computer programmer, member of the Texas Air Guard, inventor, antique dealer, real estate investor. His wide-ranging love of music was evident in the whimsical road-trip songs he composed for his children, and his fondness for sitting down at a piano and pounding out Chopin's grandiose and ominous Prelude 20 in C minor. Deeply spiritual, Jim enjoyed reading the Bible in its many translations, delighting in the subtle translational nuances which varied across the years and languages. Among his prized possessions was an antique bible written in original Hebrew, which he had not read, but vowed he one day would (as soon as he learned ancient Hebrew). Jim viewed the world through eyes of wonder; he was interested in everything, and could talk about anything with anyone: from rotary engines to the properties of metals to Charlemagne.
Beyond his many professions and interests, the thing that Jim will be most remembered for was his love of people, and his passion for being a force for good. As a prostate cancer survivor, Jim worked tirelessly for support organizations that sought to both comfort and improve the lives of men suffering from the disease. For years he worked with research organizations and physicians, advocating unconventional treatments and their power to improve lives. He also worked with people struggling with addictions, always acting from compassion, seeking to be an inspiration to those around him. Jim was a man who never met a stranger, whose gentle demeanor and lyrical voice resonated with all who knew him. He had a gift for inspiration, and perhaps his greatest strength was in giving others hope.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, and his brother Hilton. He is survived by his brother Donald, and his beloved children, Rachel Ellen and William Emory Howell.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 29, 2013