Dr. Ronald "Ron" James Howdyshell passed away on Friday, April 11, 2014, at ECM Hospital. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol Yarrington Howdyshell, and his sons Tom (Cheryl) Howdyshell, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Mike (Nancy) Howdyshell, of Florence. Other survivors include his grandchildren, Andrew, Austin, Abby and Brent Howdyshell; his sister, Marlene "Marti" Osterhoudt; his brother-in-law, Ben Yarrington; and his sister-in-law, Judy Graffeo. He was preceded in death by his parents, George Isaac Howdyshell and Ruth Fae Beerman Howdyshell.
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Ron was born in Logan, Ohio, on October 27, 1940. He was raised on a farm, attended Bremen Schools and was active in Future Farmers of America. Ron also played trumpet in the band, lettered in basketball and track, sang in the chorus and played the piano.
Ron attended Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, where he received his B.A. in science, and later the University of Alabama, where he received a Ph.D. in School Administration. He met the love of his life, Carol, while in undergraduate school, and they were married on June 8, 1963. Ron and Carol moved to Cali, Colombia, where they were teachers. Ron's career took him to South America (Colombia and Venezuela), Iowa and Alabama. His positions included science and math teacher, basketball coach, high school principal and school superintendent. In 1972, he became assistant superintendent of business for Florence City Schools, a position he held until 1999. Ron was active in professional organizations and was president of the Southern Association of School Business Officials for two terms. He also served a term on the board of directors for the Association of School Business Officials at the national level.
Music was a big part of Ron's life, and he sang in or directed choirs in every community in which he lived. He served as director of the choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church for over 20 years, and his robust tenor voice could be heard at First Presbyterian Church as recently as the Sunday before his admission to the hospital.
Ron believed in community involvement. He was a member of the Rotary Club, on the board of the YMCA and supported the Zodiac Playhouse as a performer, patron and board member. Ron enjoyed sports and attended many area football games and other athletic events. He took great pleasure in watching his grandchildren in sporting and other events.
Ron continued to be active after retirement. He dusted off his trumpet and joined the Shoals Concert Band and sang with the Florence Camerata.
Ron loved life, and it showed in many different ways. He was creative, inquisitive and had a unique sense of humor. Ron's smile would always light up a room.
Ron was a lifelong learner and continued his education by enrolling in classes at UNA. He was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling, music, golf and new experiences. His love of the Spanish language led him to travels in Spain, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Puerto Rico.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the nurses and staff in CCU at ECM and to Dr. Mann and Dr. Morris.
Ron will be dearly missed by those he left behind. Visitation will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 14, at First Presbyterian Church in Florence, followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m.
You are invited to sign the on-line guest registry at elkinsfuneralhome.com.
Published in Florence Times Daily on Apr. 13, 2014