|God created each person to be an individual with distinctive physical and personality characteristics. We were not stamped out on some assembly line in the sky, and no two of us have turned out to be identical.
Halleys C. Howell was an individual in the finest sense of the creative word. He was born under unique circumstances and marched to his own cadence through the length of his days. His birth occurred on July 8, 1910, in Milton, West Virginia. At that time Halley’s Comet appeared in the skies, and the young Howell was given the name Halleys Comet Howell by his deeply impressed parents. Widely known as H. C. or Halley, many did not accept as fact that his legal name was in honor of the celestial display that occurred at the time of his birth.
Married for fifty-five years to Jessie Rogers Howell, they produced a family and pursued their ministry together. Their daughter, Janice Howell Metcalf, two granddaughters and one great granddaughter were as bright in their lives as the comet in the skies.
An outstanding achievement in his ministry was recognized when he was named “Pastor of the Year” in the Kentucky Conference for 1959-60, having given leadership that literally resurrected a congregation that was down to meeting in a private home in Frenchburg, Kentucky. His District Superintendent, Dr. Rose, called his work a miracle of dedication and leadership.
In the early 1960’s, Halley and Jessie transferred to the Louisiana Conference where they served until his retirement. Their ministry touched many lives in Pleasant Hill, Hornbeck, Slaughter, Boyce, Merryville, Baker, Marrero, and Indian Bayou. It was my privilege to serve as his District Superintendent when he was the Baker pastor in the Baton Rouge District, and he and Jessie became warm friends as well as neighbor colleagues to the McGuires.
Halley was a talented person in ways that defy my personal understanding. He was an artist of some note, and a beautiful painting of a typical southern Louisiana scene of calm water, moss-draped trees and setting sun hangs in our home as a gift from Halley and Jessie. It speaks to me now of the peace that he has achieved after a long and difficult illness. His love for God’s creation was in evidence in his ministry, his painting and in his life. Nurses reported to Jessie that at Christmas time he sang “Silent Night” with carolers on the television without missing a word, even in his state of disorientation.
Following his retirement, he returned to Milton, West Virginia, in 1985, to live until his death on January 4, 1990. May you sing unto the Lord, Halley, and paint the skies with your spirit until we meet again.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1990; p. 226………….By Douglas L. McGuire|