James Henry Howell
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James Henry Howell went home to be with his Lord Jesus on November 15, 2013 with his family by his side. He was born in 1926 in Ellensburg to Thomas John (TJ) and Edna (Schnebly) Howell. Jim served in the United States Navy during WWII and the Korean conflict. Jim returned home from the Navy to set up his own business, "Howell Refrigeration" on Main Street where he kept Ellensburg cold for over 50 years. It was while on a service call in 1952 that he met the love of his life, Anne, who was from Canada visiting her sister. They worked together as a team with Jim's expert skills in refrigeration and Anne running the front of the store. Together they made the business and their marriage a success. They were married for almost 60 years. He was a private pilot and enjoyed flying as a hobby, but chose to give it up when his marriage and his business occupied his life.
Jim was proud to say, "If I couldn't fix it, we didn't sell it." He guaranteed service on everything sold. If he took on a new line of equipment, he went to school and learned how to service it. Being lazy was not an experience Jim Howell knew. If it was mechanical he wanted to understand it. He'd read about it, study it, and figure out how it worked. He kept current with all technical changes by studying and attending seminars. His technical expertise instilled confidence in customers, resulting in multiple awards and gold plaques for high volume sales in excess of their quota.
Kelvinator was their main line, but they also sold Norge, Gibson, KitchenAid, York Air Conditioners, Frigidaire air conditioning, ice machines and compressor units. Jim installed refrigeration at CWU, Hibb's Packing, Schaake's, Safeway, Sigman's, Happy's Market, Gilmore's, Mr. G's, Tucker's, Superior Packing. He worked in almost every tavern and store in Cle Elum and Roslyn. He's been under almost every old building in Ellensburg. He also serviced household refrigeration.
Jim loved anything mechanical and always had multiple projects going. He loved a party and potlucks. He made sure there was a commercial ice cream machine, soda machine and/or juice machine operating for self serve at gatherings. Those were some great BBQ's cooked on his dad's old rotisserie, slowly rotating a chicken, pork, and beef roast over coals all day long. He loved to eat and could load a plate with food higher than anyone. He called it "the pyramid" and considered it quite a skill. All his grandsons have tried to follow suite.
Jim was a man of deep faith and served as president of the Ellensburg Chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Association for 25 years. Jim was also a member of the First Assembly of God Church in Ellensburg for over 30 years and also served on the board.
Photographs Jim took during WWII in the Navy showed a good eye, and at the Kittitas County Historical Museum's request, copies were made for their permanent collection. In 1991 he was forced to retire due to an injury when a second and final tear of the rotary cusp of his right shoulder couldn't be repaired.
Jim is survived by his wife Anne and four children Barbara Howell, Beverly Jahn (Bill), James Howell Jr, John Howell and four grandchildren (Justin Jahn, Matthew Jahn, Tyler Jahn, and Kolton Howell), and his brother John Theodore Howell (Alice), six nephews and five nieces.
There will be a celebration of Jim's life later with a date to be announced.
Arrangements by Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory
Brookside Funeral Home and Crematory
101 East 2nd Avenue Ellensburg, WA 98926
Published in Daily Record on Nov. 23, 2013