|Birth: ||Apr. 2, 1952|
|Death: ||Mar. 29, 2011|
Rick E. Howell, 58, of LaSalle, Michigan died Tuesday in Monroe from injuries he received while attempting to successfully divert his crippled private aircraft from crashing into a crowd of several children playing at Munson Park in Monroe. This heroic and unselfish act may have cost him his life.
Rick was the son of Earl J. Howell II and Violet M. Howell born April 8, 1952 in Port Clinton, Ohio. He married Shirley Keys December 8, 1984 in Monroe, Michigan.
A loving Husband, Dad, Brother, Papa, Uncle and friend, Rick ?never met a stranger.?
He was President and CEO of Conforming Matrix since 1994, a member of Monroe County Golf and Country Club, Arthur Daly Post 334, Grand Lodge Free & Accepted Masons of Michigan, National Football Foundation.
He also served on the Board of Northwest Ohio Area Industries Pension fund and was a Monroe County Sheriff Special Deputy.
Rick was also owner of R&S Holdings, LTD (Rick & Shirley), Triple F Aviation (Flying For Fun) and RTF Aviation (Rent To Fly).
Rick served in both the United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps and was a Vietnam Veteran.
Rick is survived by his wife Shirley of 26 years, 3 sons, Chris (Tina) Howell, Ricky Howell and Ron (Tracey Richle) Howell, 2 daughters, Richelle (Craig) Groesbeck and Tracy (Derek) Bowman, 1 sister, Vicky (James) Patcher, 2 brothers, Russ (Joann) Merrihew and Randy (Marilyn) Howell, 2 half sisters, Tonya Mitchell and Annette Winkler, 10 grandchildren, Kellie, Josh, Jake, Reagan, Caden, Keith, Britany, Alyssa, Blade and Ryleigh, and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Violet Howell and a brother, David.
Visitation will be Saturday, April 2, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Sunday, April 3 from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Bennett Funeral Service of Monroe. Funeral services will be at 12:00 pm on Monday April 4, 2011 at the Monroe Missionary Baptist Church, 14260 S. Dixie Hwy., with Rev. Roy Southerland officiating.
Any charitable contributions should be made to St. Jude?s Hospital or Motts Children?s Hospital in memory of Rick E. Howell.
Police officials have confirmed that the pilot of the single-engine plane that crashed and bursts into a ball of flames in a soccer field at Munson Park was LaSalle resident Rick Howell who was coming home from a business trip in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Howell and his two passengers, Nathan Brahier and Jeremy Tate
died in the crash shortly after 4 p.m. The passengers reportedly were a salesman and an engineer from Toledo.
The bodies off all three victims have been removed from the wreckage, which will remain in the field until federal officials arrive from Chicago in the morning.
Mr. Howell, who was in his 50s, often flew his plane on business trips. He is survived by his wife and grown children.
Witnesses, meanwhile, are calling him a hero for his ability to avoid the tennis courts, the Playscape, which was full of children, and houses in the nearby neighborhood.
The PA 46 Malibu plane, which was equipped with six seats, reportedly was experiencing engine trouble before it crashed. Police officials said it touched down at nearby Custer Airport and lifted off again heading south. It went a short distance before the plan banked over the River Raisin and headed in the opposite direction.
Witnesses told The Evening News that they heard popping noises shortly before the plane nose-dived and crashed in the field, then burst into flames. Those on the ground said the pilot was trying to make an emergency landing and was able to avoid further disaster.
"He's a hero," said a teary-eyed Ed Slaughter, who was at the Playscape with his daughter and mother. "He saved a lot of lives."
Motorists driving along N. Custer Rd. said they watched in horror as the plane flew over trees and crashed. Rosemarie Braun, her son Aaron and friend Emily Hodge stopped their car and ran to the burning wreckage.
"We yelled out `hello! Hello! Hello!'" Ms. Braun said as firefighters doused the wreckage. "But I didn't hear anything."
At the scene barricades and tarps were erected around the wreckage. Monroe police is investigating with assistance from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. A member of the Federal Aviation Authority was at the scene.
******Thank you to Kathie L. Webb Blair
for sponsoring Rick's memorial*************
Roselawn Memorial Park
Created by: Karen
Record added: Mar 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67639447