Richard "Dick" Blaine Howes, Jr. passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at his home, surrounded by his loving family. By 94, Dick had led a very fulfilling life and on July 1st lost his love, Iris Buchanan Howes. He wanted so much to continue his life with Iris and now he is in Heaven, where they will spend eternity together.|
Dick was born on January 3, 1919 in Bloomington, Illinois, the second child of Richard B. Howes, and Neva Greene Howes. While still young, Dick came down with scarlet fever. This convinced his parents to relocate to a warmer climate - Miami, Florida. Growing up in southern Florida, he was active in Boy Scouts and with his science hobbies. However, his real passion was aviation. He was convinced that someday he would fly. Spurning his father's desire that he apprentice as a butcher, he chose instead to attend the University of Florida to study electrical engineering, largely supporting himself.
In 1941, Dick left school to serve his country. On September 17th, 1941, he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force as an aviation cadet. He flew an extraordinary number of missions in his Douglas C47 Dakota that took him to Britain, all across northern Africa, into central Africa, Italy, Sicily, and Yugoslavia. In 1947 Dick was released from active duty, remaining in the Air Force Reserve, obtaining the rank of Major, until 1956. He went to work for Philco as a technical representative, working on defense systems in Occupied Japan. He chronicled his journeys via photography and his passion for it continued throughout his life.
It's a good thing he went East, because while he was in Occupied Japan the staggeringly handsome Dick, met his future wife, the beautiful and vivacious Iris Virginia Buchanan. Iris was a former U. S. Navy WAVE, who herself was working with the Occupation Forces. Their love started in Japan and continued on for 65 years until her passing last July.
After his return from Japan in 1949, Dick continued his government contracting work for Philco, first with defense projects and later with NASA. It was at this time that he and Iris started their family. Linda was born in Washington, D.C., Kathy was born in in Fort Worth, Texas, and Debbie was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Dick and Iris were not afraid of the challenges of relocating and starting a new life in a new town. Just as he did in the war, Dick documented their life together through his photographs.
Dick and his family settled in the Memorial area of Houston, where his children were raised, and finished his career with Forney Engineering. He and Iris were always involved in the community and heavily involved with their church. They were longtime members of the Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston until their retirement and subsequent move to Trinity, Texas, where they became active members of the First United Methodist Church. Dick remained involved in the community and was attending meetings of the Lions Club and VFW just weeks prior to his passing.
Throughout Dick and Iris' lives, they nurtured another interest - world travel. Their love of travel and cruising would continue for the remainder of their lives. These took them to locations across the globe, always bringing back numerous photographs of their adventures and the lovely people they met.
Dick was a man's man whose experience's during WWII and throughout the rest of his life were a testament to his being a charter member of the "greatest generation". He was a wonderful patriarch who loved his family and was always there when they needed him. He will be greatly missed.
Dick was preceded in death by his wife, Iris Virginia Howes of Trinity, Texas, daughter, Janet Lee Howes, parents, Richard B. and Neva Greene Howes of Deerfield Beach, Florida, sister, Marvene Bonnet of Lafayette, Louisiana, and niece Carol Ann Neal.
Dick is survived by his daughters, Linda Whiting and husband Montague of Etoile, Kathy Murphy and husband Pat of Houston, Debbie Karnes and husband Randy of Trinity; grandchildren, Shelli Barton and husband Kerry, Erin Murphy, Sean Murphy, Jon Karnes, and Ashlie Karnes; and four great-grandchildren, Charlie, Ryan, Blaine, and Katie. He is also survived by his favorite nephew, Dr. Jim Bonnet of Kalispell, Montana.
The family extends deep gratitude to Jill Loftice, Gary Portell, and the entire staff of Heart to Heart Hospice of Lufkin for their compassionate care of Dick during the last few months.
A celebration of Richard (Dick) Blaine Howes's life will be held Monday, October 28, 11:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, Trinity, Texas followed by services at Houston National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. Tributes in his memory may be made to Trinity Lions Club, VFW Post 6899 in Trinity, or HEARTS Veteran Museum in Huntsville, Texas.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Oct. 26, 2013