Harold William "Hap" Howell beloved husband, father, grandfather, educator and World War II veteran - died January 22, 2013 from complications associated with Alzheimer's disease. He was 90 years old. He was born and raised in Wheeling, W. Va., the son of Shannon and Lillian Howell. Hap joined the Army on December 8, 1941 and was assigned to the Army Air Corps after achieving a perfect score on a math exam. He underwent pilot training in Yuma, Ariz. and was one of the first pilots trained and shipped off to the Pacific Theater following the attack on Pearl Harbor. While serving in combat operations in New Guinea and The Philippines, he received numerous honors, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses with Oak Leaf cluster, After the war, Hap attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. on the G.I. Bill where he met Vaunette Jean Wilson. They were married in June 1949. During his tenure as a coach and math teacher at Evanston Township High School, he entered a contest sponsored by the Arizona Department of Tourism to write an essay on why he would want to visit Arizona. Hap wrote he would never want to visit Arizona because of his experiences as an airman while stationed in Yuma. He won the contest. He and his wife enjoyed a week's stay at the Camelback Inn in 1955. They liked Arizona so much they moved to the state a few years later when Hap took a job teaching and coaching football at Rincon High School. Hap subsequently taught in the Tucson Unified School District for 25 years before retiring. Hap's wife, Vaunette predeceased him this past September. He is survived by his three sons, Gary (Nancy) of Tucson, Dan (Vickie) of Houston, Texas, Andy (Sherry) of Layton, Utah; three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. The family wishes to thank the dedicated workers at Elderhaven for their kind and compassionate care of Hap during his final years. No services are planned. As per Hap's wishes, his body was donated to the UOFA WILLED BODY PROGRAM. Those who so desire, may make donations to the Nature Conservancy or Elderhaven in Hap's name.
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Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Feb. 3, 2013