James "Jim" W. Howard went to be with the Lord and join loved ones in heaven on Feb. 9, 2013. He passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family. He was born in Sebring, Florida in 1950 where he enjoyed a wonderful childhood. Jim grew up in the Sebring Fire Station where his father was the fire chief. When he was a teenager, the family moved to Ocala, Florida. There he made many lifelong friends.

Jim began his career in EMS working as an ambulance attendant for Hiers Funeral Home in Ocala. After he received his Paramedic certification he worked in Citrus County and as a civilian in a military base hospital in the Pacific.

Jim returned to the states in 1984 and worked at Shands Hospital as a flight paramedic for ShandsCair. Shortly thereafter he became a Registered Nurse and later obtained his BSN from Florida State University. He served as the Director/Chief Flight Nurse of ShandsCair for many years and was dedicated to his ShandsCair family and the EMS community. Jim served as president on many committees and received numerous awards and recognition for his service throughout his career.

Jim thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He loved Grouper fishing at Cedar Key, driving his '88 corvette, and Florida State Football.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Forrest and Marian Howard; brothers, Bob and John Howard; and a sister, Joan Howard Thwaites.

He is survived by his wife and best friend, Gwen Thomas Howard; son, Shawn (Monica) Howard; daughter, Connie (Dave) Mester; sister, Linda (Bill) Jones; three loving grandchildren, Carter & Ryan Howard and Sarah Mester, and several cousins, nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his faithful dog, Molly and Kiwi the kitty. He will be missed by many.

A celebration of Jim's life will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM. The service will be held at Westside Baptist Church located at 10,000 West Newberry Road, Gainesville, Florida. The family will receive friends Friday, Feb 15th from 5 to 7 pm at the WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME WESTAREA, 823 NW 143 St. CR 241 North, Gainesville/Newberry, FL.

In lieu of flowers, donations to: "Be the Match", Haven Hospice or the Jim Howard Scholarship fund would be appreciated. Additional information can be found at: http://www.bethematchfoundation.org/site/TR?pxfid=19312&fr_id=1760&pg=fund&et=A5gcPxgYUs4ESAVj0tceaA&s_tafId=6271



(352) 376-7556

Published in Gainesville Sun from Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, 2013