Dr. John M. Howard
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(News Article) A distinguished retired surgeon at the University of Toledo Medical Center who was known in medical circles around the world died of heart failure Wednesday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township. Dr. John M. Howard was 91.

Dr. Howard arrived at the Medical College of Ohio, UTMC's predecessor, in 1973. He retired from surgery in 1993 but continued his research, teaching, and writing of journal articles at the institution.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, the university's chancellor and executive vice president of health affairs, described him as "a prominent long-term member of the senior faculty of the department of surgery. He was a highly regarded biliary and pancreatic surgeon, and a world-renowned trauma surgeon. … He was an author, a benefactor, and a friend of the university."

Dr. Howard was a past director of the trauma center and a professor of surgery.

UTMC will hold a memorial service "in the relatively near future," said Dr. Gold, a cardiac surgeon, "to honor his memory and the achievements that he brought to the university."

Another friend and colleague, retired surgeon Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, said, "I would say I kept him on a very high pedestal. His contributions to surgery in general and military surgery in particular are monumental."

As a young Army surgeon, Dr. Howard served in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War and directed the Army's Surgical Research Team, which developed a method of repairing injured blood vessels in the field hospital "instead of tying them off and amputating the leg," Dr. Hussain said.

The Army surgical team also established a renal care center that received all United Nations casualties with acute renal failure, the first time that had been done in combat medicine. President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented Dr. Howard with the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments during the Korean War.

Dr. Hussain said Dr. Howard was known around the world for his work in pancreatic surgery. More than once, he added, while attending international medical gatherings overseas, "the first thing they would ask was, 'Do you know John Howard?'?"

Dr. Howard attracted students from around the world, his son George said.

"And this wasn't just in the classroom. They went on rounds with him, they were in the lab, and in the classroom," he said. "They came from Egypt and China and Europe and from across this country."

After his discharge from the Army, Dr. Howard joined the surgical faculty at Baylor University College of Medicine, where the director was famed heart surgeon Michael DeBakey. There, he put together a four-volume archive on the injuries and care wounded U.N. soldiers received in Korea.

He went on to chair the departments of surgery at Emory University College of Medicine and Hahnemann University College of Medicine before arriving in Toledo.

Over the years, he wrote more than 400 journal articles and wrote or contributed to 12 books and 31 book chapters. He was the recipient of awards from the National Research Council, the American Trauma Society, the American Medical Association, and the Toledo Surgical Society. The U.S. Department of Transportation presented him with an award for "providing the vision that has become our nation's Emergency Medical Services."

Dr. Howard was born in Prattville, Ala., the third of Mary and Fountaine Howard's four children. He grew up on a farm where he picked cotton and pecans.

He and his first wife, Nina, were married for 57 years, until her death in 2000. In 2002, he married Sarah Shepherd Rice, whom he had known in college and reconnected with after many years.

He was a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Surviving are his wife, Sarah; daughters, Nina Oakley, Susan Howard, and Laura Hickey; sons, John Jr., Robert, and George; sister, Mary Louise Jones, and 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Hope United Methodist Church, Whitehouse.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday in the Peinert Funeral Home, Whitehouse.

The family suggests tributes to the John H. Howard Endowed Professorship of Surgery Fund at the University of Toledo Medical Center.

Contact writer Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.
Published in The Blade on Mar. 19, 2011.
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Memories & Condolences
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39 entries
March 12, 2021
It has been 10 years since John Howard left us but the memory of his greatness and kindness remains unchanged.
Sergio Pedrazzoli
Sergio Pedrazzoli
October 20, 2016
Dr.Howard was a wonderful, kind man. I thought of him today as I prepared for an oncology lecture - and googled his name. His picture is how I remember him. I can still hear his soft voice asking me about the tea party if I happened to be talking too much.
Laura, not sure if this will go through; we haven't seen each other since college, but I will never forget your father. Cindy (Fitzthum)Adymy
Cindy Adymy
July 4, 2014
It was a great pleasure and honour to be a friend of Dr. John Howard, a very great men and surgeon.
Sergio Pedrazzoli
May 4, 2012
I send my deepest sympathy to Dr. Howard's family...Dr. Howard took care of my dad in the late 1980s for colon cancer. He was an outstanding dr. and a kind man. I worked for a doctor in Fremont when Dr. Howard took care of my dad. I sent Christmas cards to all of the physicians we collaborated with - the year Dr. Howard took care of my dad - I sent a nice note along with the Christmas card. Dr. Howard was so appreciative of that note. I went on one of my dad's follow up visits and my dad did not want me to go back, but here came Dr. Howard to the waiting room and took me back. He was a wondeful man and I am sure he will be greatly missed by many! I think of him often. I send my condolences to you all!
Rebecca Hahn
April 3, 2012
April 3, 2012
To the family of Dr. John M Howard
I wish to extend my utmost condolence to the passing away of your beloved father. I enjoyed working with him as a colleague and mentor. Most of all , he was not only a great doctor, but also an exceptional human being. The nobel virtues and lessons I learned from him will always remain with me, and hopefully extend to my colleagues and friends.
Guillermo Crisologo, M.D.
September 15, 2011
Thanks Dr Howard, youd dont know how you are important in the world!
Joao Campos
May 22, 2011
To make it plain and simple Dr. Howard saved my life!! He performed the whipple surgery on me in 1981. I actually saw him a couple of years ago at one of my annual checkups at UTMC. The first thing he said was tell me about yourself even though he was the one with the medical issue -- his pacemaker. He was a TRUE gentleman a GREAT doctor and a first class person I will never ever forget!!! I am truly saddened by his death, and I could go on and on forever talking about him and thanking him!! My heartfelt condolences go out to the Howard family!!
Tom Williams
May 19, 2011
In memory of my husband, James Foster, I thank Dr. Howard for all that he did and his kindness. He was truely a gentle man.
My family will never forget him.
Shirley Foster
May 19, 2011
Dr. Howard performed the "whipple surgery" on my dad in late 1990. He was a great doctor that showed genuine caring not only for my dad, but for us as the family too. Dad's life expectancy after the surgery was 5 years, and we felt so lucky to have him for 7 more. He also wrote about Dad in one of the medical journals. I'm glad that he was a teacher and has probably passed on his knowledge and bedside manner to many.
Jodi Wheeler
April 3, 2011
Dear Laura and family,
Dr. Howard was a true hero as a Doctor and caring person . I worked at UTMC for many years on the surgical floor. I have to smile when I think of his time at the hospital . What a wonderful man that lead life to the fullest . He will be missed .
Sally Sasse RN
March 23, 2011
John Howard was an outstanding human being and first class physician. I was honored to know him as a friend and colleague. formerly chairman of internal medicine Patrick Mulrow
March 22, 2011
I, too, worked with Dr. Howard in the Department of Surgery in the old C Building on the East Campus of MCO. I remember when I first saw his curriculum vitae, that I had never seen such an extensive listing of journal articles, books and presentations. In addition to being a prolific author and editor, he was a skilled researcher and grant writer and a gifted surgeon. He always expected the best from his colleagues, and he was as hard working as he compelled them to be. He had a great sense of humor, a warm demeanor, and he was truly a Southern gentleman in the very best sense. He did indeed have a special twinkle in his eye. It is an honor to have known someone who contributed so much to the body of knowledge in pancreatic research, emergency medical care and trauma surgery. His legacy will be forever as long as there are students with a passion to learn. My sincerest condolences go out to the Howard family.
Laura Goodwin
March 22, 2011
To the Howard Family--My deepest sympathy in the loss of your father. I waited on Dr Howard at the Bungalow Restaurant in the 70's and st the Charcoal House and at Smedlaps. He was a pleasure to wait on . You are in my thoughts. Peggy Spychalski
March 22, 2011
My sincerest condolences to your family. I have many fond memories of assisting Dr. Howard in the medical library. He was an exceptional man and will truly be missed.
March 21, 2011
With heart felt sympathy to the Howard family! The Flory's - Winslow Road
March 21, 2011
Dr. Howard always took that minute to stop and talk to us fellow Department of Surgery employees. The twinkle in his eyes would light up his face and he would give me his slow, southern smile, when I would tell him, "I love that tie you are wearing, Dr. Howard!"

We learned a wonderful lesson on how to live our lives with honor, just watching him do it day in and day out.

Peggy Lehmann
retired secretary
Sylvania, Ohio
March 21, 2011
Dr Howard was a gentleman and a scholar, whose efforts left an enduring mark on medicine. He is an example of a life well lived...
Blair P. Grubb MD
Blair Grubb
March 21, 2011
To the Howard Family, I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. I had the honor of working with Dr Howard in the Surgery Clinic. He was always the kind, Gentleman and offered advice to me, during the illness of my mother several years ago. I was able, recently, to ask his advice for another family member and found him, as always, in his office, ready to share his wisdom. I always admired his devotion to your mother, who we also knew in the clinic. The world is a much better place because of your father. May God bless his soul and your family.
Denise Zeller
March 21, 2011
Dr. Howard was at all times both a true Southern gentleman of the old school and a truly gentle man. In the twenty-eight years he was my neighbor, it was always a pleasure to interact with him. His contributions to modern medicine were what made it modern medicine. He will both be missed and yet honored by many generations of physicians for his many, many accomplishments.
Joel Tavormina
March 21, 2011
Dr. Howard was one of the kindest most truly amazing men that my husband and I had ever met. He was such a joy to talk with. He was so positive on any topic. My husband always parked his car, which he aways appreciated. He will be missed.
March 21, 2011
I'm very sorry about the loss of your father. He sounds like a wonderful man, I'm glad I got to read about him
Ann Benjamin Matney
March 20, 2011
Laura I'm so sorry for the loss of your wonderful father. I will miss seeing him and my conversations with him. He was a truly amazing man. I'm here for you! Always Sue Johnson
March 20, 2011
I wanted to send my condolence for the loss of Professor Howard. I met him in Roma (Italy) some years ago, he was a wonderful man and teacher. My prayers are for him and for your family.
Rossana Alloni
March 19, 2011
Laura, Tim and all of the Howard Family: I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. Even though I did not know your Dad personally, I know of his tremendous reputation. He will be greatly missed by family and friends, alike. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Robbin Miller
March 19, 2011
What a great and wonderful man he was. Had the pleasure of working with him as his scrub nurse many times. May he rest in peace.
Arlene Sprouse
March 19, 2011
I wanted to send my condolonces for the loss of your husband, father, grandfather. As you return to your normal routine in the days to come may you continue to feel the comfort by the loving support of family and friends.- Romans 15:4.
March 19, 2011
I extend sincerest condolences on behalf of my parents, Dr. Yasuhiro and Chihoko Nakashima of Kagoshima City, Japan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Howard family.
Mami Sautter
March 19, 2011
I feel so lucky that I had a last chance to visit Dr. Howard the day before he died in ICCU. It was unusual that I was at work in SICU since I am retired. Laura came to see if I was working & I had a lovely last visit with a man who was part of my medical career. Dr. Howard was alert enough to understand my stories of the wonderful times we spent together over 33 yrs. It was hard to hold back my tears at his bedside. He acknowledged everything I said with a nod of his head and a smile after a kiss on his forehead. I always jokingly said "You know you are my boyfriend!" We shared many hugs in the hallway of the hospital in the last few years. He dearly loved his family & patients & had the greatest respect for his medical co-workers. There will NEVER be anyone who can replace Dr. Howard!!
Phyllis Henderson
March 19, 2011
To Laura, Tim and the Howard Family,

Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your dad. I have very fond memories of working with him at MCO. He was one of the most brilliant and caring physicians I ever had the pleasure of knowing and his patients truly loved him. His gentle kindness was just a bonus to the skillful and delicate surgeries he performed on the sickest of patients. Dr. Howard was also so proud of children (and grandchildren), and would enjoy talking about them when he rounded in the unit (especially after the birth of Laura and Tim's daughter on their kitchen floor)! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.

Anne Brossia and family
Anne Brossia
March 19, 2011
Dr Howard was one of a kind.gifted Surgeon,researcher,teacher,scientist,but most of all a humble human being. May God rewards him for all the his good deeds to others.
latif&Soad Nimr
March 18, 2011
Dr. Howard was a great, caring man. I am a better person for knowing him. He was my father-in-law. Many years ago I wanted him to write a book about himself for his family and he did it. I cannot wait to read it. He was a teacher, nothing comes easy you have to work for it. It means more to you. Everyone loved him and respected him. I am so glad I got to hug him the last time I saw him. He went out of his way, even not in the best of health, to be with his family and granddaughter for her wedding day. I will never forget that...Rest In Peace and thanks for making our world a better place. Love you.
Patricia Howard
March 18, 2011
There is never a complete way to speak of great men. I learned from Dr Howard what it means to be tenacious and determined to help someone. He seemed to fight to long for some but I learned serving requires patience and perserverance. Most men cannot teach that but he did. He helped to change the world of medicine and trauma and made" Whipple" a household name. I'll miss him.

Regards and Condolances,

Marvin Gee
March 18, 2011
My love and prayers to Sarah and the Howard family.

Jo Anne Carpenter
March 18, 2011
I have fond memories of John and his family and all of the good times we spent together at MCO and as his neighbor.
Jinni Nilsson
March 18, 2011
Seeing Dr. Howard always made me smile and I will miss his smile too. My deepest sympathy to the Howard Family for the loss of such an exceptional man.
Deb Leonard
March 18, 2011
I will miss seeing Dr. Howard walk by at UTMC. He was always such a nice man and an inspiration.
Lori Donahue
March 18, 2011
Dr. Howard was an early supporter of the paramedic programs in Lucas County. He was the program director when I went through paramedic training at the old MCO in the 70's. He'd occasionally pop into the classroom without warning and had an unusual teaching method. He'd ask for a lesson plan from last week's classes and a student roster. Then he'd scan the curriculum and ask a question... pause for a minute... and then pick someone from the roster to answer. During the pause and while waiting for him to pick someone to answer... every student was formulating the answer. He was an "old school" teacher. He'd expect you to stand when being spoken to. My sympathies to the Howard family.
Ralph Stallsworth
March 18, 2011
To the Howard family,
God must of been really short on angels for him to take Dr Howard. I work ant MCO and even thought I did not work with him, he always stopped to say hi. Dr Howard even before was an angel. He will be missed by many.
Cathy & Jeff Klawitter
March 18, 2011
Howard Family, I am so sorry for the loss of Dr. Howard, I used to work with him at the old MCO, You are in my thougths and prayers and may you find comfort in the memories that you share togeather and trust in the God of comfort.
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