TUSCALOOSA Tommy Wayne Howard, age 63, of Tuscaloosa, died Sept. 27, 2012, at home. Services will be 2 p.m. today at Memory Chapel Funeral Home with David Sudduth officiating. Burial will follow in Memory Hill Gardens with Memory Chapel Funeral Home, a Dignity Memorial Provider, directing.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Elzie D. and Lucile Howard.
Survivors include his wife, Doretta Howard; his daughter, Amy Austin of Perdido Key, Fla.; his sons, Chad Howard (Sherri) and Britt Howard (Lindsey), both of Tuscaloosa, and Russell Howard of New Orleans, La.; his sisters, Sue Chadwick (Mike) and Judy Howard, both of Cottondale; his brother, Ronnie Howard (Pam) of Vance; and his grandchildren, Dawson Howard and Landon Howard.
Born in Gordo, Tommy was a loyal and faithful servant to Tuscaloosa County throughout his life. He began his civic career at Strickland Hayes Funeral Home as an ambulance driver in 1965. His interest in mortuary science motivated him to pursue this field of study at Jefferson State Community College, where he received his degree in mortuary science in 1972, which established him as the first licensed embalmer in Tuscaloosa County. Tommy served as funeral director for various funeral homes for several years before transitioning into law enforcement in the position of Deputy Sheriff.
After joining the Sheriff's Department in 1973, Tommy worked in many positions, but he found his favorite when appointed as an investigator with the newly-formed Juvenile Justice Division. He taught juvenile justice at The University of Alabama and served as liaison at Riverside Jr. High School until a devastating accident in 1979 forced him into medical retirement in 1984 at the age of 35. Remaining active in the community, Tommy worked tirelessly to establish the Duncanville Volunteer Fire Department in 1987 and served as its first Fire Chief from 1987 to 1989. During this time, he became certified as an Enucleation Technician to procure donor eye tissue for transplant for the Alabama Eye & Tissue Bank, becoming the first Enucleation Technician in Tuscaloosa County. Tommy was awarded the prestigious Miracle Worker Award by the Alabama Eye & Tissue Bank in 1994 in recognition of his sacrifice and dedication to help give the gift of sight.
A lifetime member of Moose Lodge #804, Tommy served two terms as Governor and received the Fellowship Degree of Honor for his outstanding service to his lodge and fraternity.
A loving husband of 21 years, an adoring father, and a caring friend, Tommy will be forever remembered for his civic contributions, compassionate heart, and wonderful sense of humor. Words cannot express how much he is loved and will be greatly missed.
Pallbearers will be Jeremy Elam, Brian Whipple, Chris Green, Corey Bingham, Codey Bingham, and David Morris.
Honorary pallbearers are DCH Home Health Care, Hospice of West Alabama, Dr. Joanna Rossman, Dr. Shelby Sanford, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department, Duncanville Volunteer Fire Department, Tuscaloosa Moose Lodge #804, Alabama Tissue Bank, Memory Chapel Funeral Home, and David Sudduth.
Condolences may be offered at www.memorychapelfuneralhome.com