Dr. Gordon Stanley Howell Jr.
1941 - 2018
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Dr. Gordon Stanley Howell Jr.

- - On August 13, 2018, Stan Howell (Dr. Gordon Stanley Howell, Jr.) returned to the earth the elements he had borrowed for a short period of time beginning on March 7, 1941. He was a child of the rural South, Semmes, AL, and his experiences and cultural influences flowed from that reality. He was fortunate to have parents, Gordon, Sr. and Marian Savell Howell who, while being children of the Great Depression and possessing little formal education themselves, valued education and their encouragement led to high school graduation Semmes High School, Mississippi State University, B.S., M.S. and University of Minnesota, PhD. Stan loved plants and took his degree in Horticulture. There he found delight in the applied plant based biological sciences and that fascination held for the remainder of his life. Fortunately, that education complimented his desire to excel and to build upon and maintain a strong work ethic gained from his building trades antecedents. Stan's adult life was most significantly influenced by his good fortune in the choice of a spouse (if he was really the one doing the choosing) in Nancy Parker of Vicksburg, MS. Nancy and their three children, Joshua, Adam, and Shannon made their home in mid-Michigan where Stan was hired as an Assistant Professor of Horticulture in 1969 at Michigan State University and progressed through the academic ranks to Professor in 1980 and Professor of Viticulture Emeritus at his retirement in 2006. Stan felt a special bond with his Alabama brothers Brenson and Patrick and regretted that he could not visit with them personally more often. Stan found enjoyment in the science and economics of grapevines, good wine and the company of good people. He liked to laugh and did laugh a lot. He also enjoyed making others laugh and was well known as a master story teller. He loved the philosophies of science and felt that science was less a career choice or area of inquiry and more a manner of thinking and acting upon those thoughts. He did not believe that one had to be boring in order to be serious. He had a strong sense of personal honesty and honor. He wrote a quotation that may have been original, or borrowed, but the content was the point. "Honesty is defined as actions one takes when no one else can see; Honor is the expression of that honesty where everyone can see." He was especially satisfied with his friends, and there were many. A major joy of his professional life was his relationship with students who came through his mentorship and progressed to positions of responsibility in science and industry. He was involved with the development of the quality wine industry in Michigan. He strongly believed that growth must flow from scientifically critically produced data and his research and outreach was said to be valuable. His efforts were valued and he presented invited research findings in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and Switzerland. Stan is survived by his wife of 54 years, Nancy, sons, Joshua, Adam (Elaine), daughter Shannon Hibser (Jeff) and one grandson Sam Howell who was a special delight to Stan. He is also survived by brothers Brenson (Diane), Patrick (Elaine). An open house celebration of Stan's life will be held Saturday, August 25 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Eagle Eye Golf Club and Banquet Center, East Lansing with a memorial at 3 p.m.

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Published in Lansing State Journal on Aug. 17, 2018.
Celebration of Life
02:00 - 05:00 PM
Eagle Eye Golf Club and Banquet Center
Memorial service
03:00 PM
Eagle Eye Golf Club and Banquet Center
Not sure what to say?
9 entries
March 6, 2019
I'm Dr Basil Stergios, our beloved Stan's first Graduate Student as a newly arrived Prof at MSU in 1970. Ayer my graduación in 1975, I mover to Venezuela where I became a citizen and dedicated my career as a botanical and horticultural researcher, profoundly influenced by my 5 years learning from Stan. Fond memories persist of grape pruning and harvest seasons in southwest Michigan pursuing thesis and extension research under Stan's thoughtful direction and companionship. And all that fantastic and productive wine making experiments!!! Not to mention those tastings!! I returned to the US in 2016 as a Green Card resident and am a Specialty Crop researcher with the IR-4 Project at Rutgers Univ in NJ, and have just learned, belatedly, of Stan's passing. My most sincere condolences to his widow Nancy, whom I had the privilege of knowing. Perhaps she will remember me and our work with Stan. My email is: basilven@gmail.com
Basil Stergios
September 22, 2018
Stanley and I grew up together in a small town outside of Mobile, Alabama. Our parents were dear friends. Stanley and I spent our childhood attending the same schools and events. I loved Stanley as a brother. We both left the deep south to pursue our education. I chose Maryland and Stan chose Michigan. But I know Stan's heart remained in Alabama as did mine.

Rest in peace my dear friend,
Jacquelyn Kelsoe Enright
August 27, 2018
Stan was an inspiration and mentor. His research and that of his students was meticulous and his stage presence was awesome. His words, spoken in a rich, hybrid baritone of southern drawl and somewhere northern, would float like audible incense in conference presentations. Stan was always a source of viticultural knowledge, wisdom, and good humor, and I will miss him.
Tony Wolf
Virginia Tech
August 25, 2018
Though one year ahead of Stan throughout school at Semmes, I knew him well enough to delight in his almost constant humor, which could make even the most dour teacher laugh. His accomplishments are not surprising, but rare for the environment we were raised in. May God bless and keep his family as they celebrate his time on earth.
Seth Phelps
August 22, 2018
I graduated from Semmes High with Stanley. I was fortunate to see him and his wife in Gulf Shores, Alabama a few years ago when they were visiting. May God be with the family in the loss of their loved one.
August 20, 2018
I met Dr. Howell when I first started in the wine industry about 40 years ago. He was not only smart and funny but could play a mean game of Bourré.
Alan Kinne
August 18, 2018
I feel fortunate to have known Stan and to have shared a few experiences with him.
Lee Taylor
August 17, 2018
A seminal figure in the development of Michigan's wine industry.

I enjoyed him as much for his humor as for his knowledge.

I wish we could have spent more time together.
Dick Scheer
August 17, 2018
God bless and rest in peace Dr. Howell...
Gregory Berg
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