Stella Illa (Sallie) Howard

1935 - 2016 Obituary Condolences

Sallie was born November 10, 1935 in Bell, CA to David Emmett Lanford and Fern Wave (Krebs) Lanford and was at home, surrounded by family, when God called her home January 16, 2016 from Rapid Progression Parkinson's Disease. She was a perfect patient and fought the disease like a trooper. We are comforted knowing she is at peace in Heaven and reunited with Dad, her beloved Norm, after five long years.

Her parents moved to Taft, CA with Sallie and her younger sisters, Claire and Barbara, where she attended Connely Grammar School, Lincoln Jr. High and three years at Taft High. Her family moved to Bakersfield where she attended East Bakersfield High School her senior year and was a proud graduate of the Class of 1954. After graduation, she worked for Pacific Bell from 1954-1959 as a long distance/information operator and secretary.

Sallie met the love of her life, Norman Howard, through a neighborhood friend on her 18th birthday and was married three years later at Calvary Baptist Church in Bakersfield. They were happily married for 54 years until Dad's tragic passing in 2010.

Norman and Sallie began their family with the birth of their daughter, Debbie, followed by a son, Dave, one year later. She cherished her life as a mother and homemaker while Dad worked for the Bakersfield City Fire Department.

We were lucky to have a stay-at-home mom. She made a happy and loving home for us, enjoyed decorating for holidays, hosting parties and family get-togethers and was always a gracious hostess. Mom was very loving, caring, generous and had a quick wit and infinite wisdom.

Sallie was active in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), president of Amoiselles, officer of the Bakersfield Fire Dept. Ladies Auxiliary, officer/president of the Women's Society of Calvary Baptist Church, officer of the American Baptist Women's Kern River Association, and enjoyed monthly luncheons with longtime girlfriends of the EBHS Class of 1954.

Mom was always by Dad's side helping restore cars, remodel and build room additions, building experimental (a Long-Eze and Glasair) airplanes and their hangar at Meadows Field. Although she never shared Dad's love of flying, Mom had many wonderful, and a few scary, exploits flying with Dad in their homebuilt plane across the U.S.

Mom felt fortunate to travel with Dad throughout the U.S. and enjoyed cruises and trips to many countries with their close friends. She loved camping at San Simeon, Pismo and Utah and enjoyed visiting her sister and family in Cary, NC and extended family at her aunt's home in Big Bear Lake, CA.

Mom had a happy and fulfilling life and was blessed with wonderful friends and family. She loved being "Grams" to her three grandsons and on Christmas Day found out she was going to be a great-grandmother for the first time.

Sallie is survived by her daughter, Debbie Meyer and husband Mike; son Dave Howard; sisters Claire Petersen and Barbara Cobbs; grandsons Nick Meyer and wife Amy, Andrew Meyer and Jake Meyer; nephew Erik Petersen and wife Jennifer; cousins Loretta Ramseyer, Mel and Kay Bennett and Barbara Hart.

We would like to thank the wonderful people at Hoffman Hospice who helped us keep Mom comfortable and treated her with love, dignity and respect. A special thank you to: Darin Bender, Anna Reyna, Mona Rosales, Vanessa Hopkins and Chaplain Mason Wren...we can't thank you enough for your love and support to Mom and our family.

As per Mom's wishes, we had a private burial with her ashes placed with Dad's at the Bakersfield National Veterans Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, our family would appreciate donations in Mom's memory to: Hoffmanhospice.org or Parkinson.org

Published in Bakersfield Californian from Mar. 1 to Mar. 6, 2016
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