|Birth: ||Nov. 25, 1917|
|Death: ||Nov. 20, 2012|
Percy Howard Jr. 94, long time educator, rancher and civic activist passed away November 23, 2012. Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Huntsville TX.
Mr. Howard was born November 25, 1917 in Palestine, TX to Percy and Lottie Howard, the second youngest of eight children. He committed his life to Christ at a young age. Percy's early education began in Anderson County and continued as an undergraduate at Jarvis Christian College. He subsequently earned a Master's degree from Texas Southern University. Percy served his country in the Army Air Forces during World War II as a Staff Sergeant. He was honorably discharged in 1946. Percy moved to Huntsville after returning from overseas military service and on January 24, 1947, he was united in marriage to Alice Wiley. For 33 years, he served the Huntsville education system and hundreds of students in a number of capacities. He began at Sam Houston High School as a teacher, coach, counselor and principal. When the schools merged in the late 60's, he continued his career as vice-principal, counselor and administrator of the alternative school. After his retirement, he founded the Howard Educational Scholarship Fund for exceptional high school seniors. Percy had a strong commitment to improve the community around him. This included serving as: Huntsville City Council Member from 1983-1991, Mayor Pro Temp from 1987-1991, Board of Directors for the Trinity River Authority, Huntsville Housing Authority and Community Day Care Center. He was also a member of the American Legion, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Martin Luther King Celebration committee and Rotary Club of Huntsville where he received the Paul Harris Award for service to the community. Mr. Howard was a faithful member of First Missionary Baptist Church of Huntsville, TX where he served in many capacities including: Member of the Trustee Board, Deacon and Head of the Finance Committee.
He is survived by a host of family and friends who share stories and life lessons of him including his loving wife of 66 years, Alice; their children, Malcolm, Rosalyn, DeAndra, Percy III and Michelle. Percy and Alice have 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Percy was blessed to also have a host of special nieces, nephews and cousins who regularly visited and worshiped with him.
Family and Friends are invited to celebrate Percy's life on Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 11:00 a.m. at Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 426 Highway 190 East, Huntsville, TX 77320. Interment will follow the service at Harper Cemetery, in Huntsville. Mr. Howard will lie in state from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at Sam Houston Memorial Funeral Home and from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday at Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
The Howard family would like to thank you for your thoughts and prayers, please continue to lift us to the Lord in this challenging time.
Those wishing to leave memorial condolences for the family may do so at www.shmfh.com.
Taken from the Huntsville Itemonline, 28 November 2012...
HUNTSVILLE — A Huntsville community leader will be remembered today when family and friends gather for the funeral of former city councilmen Percy Howard Jr., who died last Friday at the age of 94.
Just days after his death, members of the community reflected on their time with Howard, and the consensus was that he always had people's best interest at heart.
"He had a way of making things happen," said William B. Green, Ph.D, who served on city council with Howard more than 20 years ago.
Green didn't know Howard before being appointed to council in 1984, but he remembers Howard asking him tons of questions as someone who was always thorough in knowing more about a subject. Green was applying for the council vacancy and Howard wanted to know enough about the economics professor to feel comfortable with giving him a vote.
By all accounts, it was never like Howard – who served as an Army sergeant in World War II – to be unprepared.
"One of the first issues that we had on council was in issue in regard to zoning. Huntsville has a very unique kind of zoning but at the time we didn't have any," Green said. "And so I thought I'd go to the library to see what books I could find to read about it. When I went over there, every one of the books had already been checked out.
"I went to find out who had checked them out – Mr. Howard. He was doing his homework. So I was very impressed that this was someone who, like me, didn't know just a whole lot about the issue. What do you do to learn about it? Well, one thing you could do is go to the library. He was there doing the work, getting ready."
Not all council members come to the meetings prepared, something Green noticed in his time in local government and as an observer since. But "Mr. Howard," as most people refer to him, was razor sharp.
Howard had already a longtime educator and administrator in the Huntsville education system when he joined city council in 1983 and today, memories of Howard date as far back as the ‘60s when he was a teacher, coach, counselor and principal at the segregated Sam Houston High School.
Even after integration, Howard worked in similar roles at Huntsville High School. Matt Lumpkins is the Director of Parks and Leisure in Huntsville and a 1974 graduate of HHS. Lumpkins remembers Howard from his school days, before they served on the Cemetery Board together.
That was just one of many contributions from Howard, which included Board of Directors for the Trinity River Authority, Huntsville Housing Authority, and Community Daycare Center.
"He was a fine man who always tried to do the best for people," Lumpkins said. "He was just an outstanding individual."
There were so many other stories and all of them end with Howard being someone who knew how to solve problems, find common ground even if there was little to share.
"I learned a whole lot from him in terms of how to make things happen because he knew how to and did it in a very quiet kind of way," Green said. "He worked behind the scenes, would talk to people and find a way to make things work, which you wish politicians would still learn how to do.
"There's not everybody who has the style about them that they can do it in a quiet and easy kind of way without being so confrontational. He was always one to know how to get things done. That's why he got appointed to so many different things. He got appointed because here's a man who could make good decisions, who could understand the issues and if he doesn't understand them he'll research until he does. Mr. Howard was a fine, fine man."
Services will be held at Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church at 11 a.m.
Taken from the Huntsville Itemonline, 28 November 2012...
The quiet, courageous life of Percy Howard Jr.
By Jane Monday Special to The Item
HUNTSVILLE — (Editor's note: The following are remarks made by former Huntsville Mayor Jane Monday at the Nov. 28 funeral of Percy Howard Jr., former Huntsville City Council member, educator and civic leader. Howard, 94, died Nov. 23.)
We are here today to celebrate the life of a remarkable man. Percy was gentle, wise and courageous. He was a giant. I had the great privilege in 1991 to interview Percy and Alice about their lives. When the family was gracious enough to ask me to speak today, 1 thought of no better way than to share some important stories from Percy's life in his own words.
Percy grew up in Palestine and was coaching there after the war ,but he had a problem. The team had no uniforms or equipment. Percy, who was one of the best problem solvers I have known went to the white school's football coach and explained his dilemma and he told him to select what he needed from his surplus. He did and put it out there for the players to find anything that came near to fitting.
Soon he was called to Huntsville in October 1946 to teach seventh-grade math and to coach. Again he had no equipment. Percy went to the football coach at Sam Houston State to find used equipment for his players. The other problem he had was no transportation to play out of town football games. Percy again solved the problem by finding a man with a flatbed truck. He loaded the players and started for Navasota. About two to three miles outside of town, the truck broke down. They had to push it into Navasota and by the time the game started they were not worth very much and got badly beaten.
Percy was always able to open doors and make things happen. Sam Houston High School needed to be accredited and Percy worked with representatives from Prairie View and Texas Southern colleges and then he turned to Dr. Clark at Sam Houston State and Mr. Curry in the library there. They let Percy use the library and his debate team too. Three years later after long hours and hard work Sam Houston High School became the 19th African American high school to be accredited in Texas.
In 1966 Percy became the principal of Sam Houston High School after Scott Johnson retired. Racial tensions were running high. Percy said "they had quite a discussion about it." Doesn't that sound like him? He said there were many committee meeting to discuss the problems of integration and he worked with Mr. Park. The question was whether to start at the top or bottom. The school board was trying to decide which the community could handle. Percy said that the black youth were opposed to it. They had a winning athletic program and were winning national debate awards and many others.
The board looked for educators who had both the discipline and demeanor to make the move successful. They decided to start at the top with the high school. Percy was chosen to go to the white high school as assistant principal and served with Frank Stiles while Coach Davis went to the black high school.
I asked him how he felt about the first day of school, and he admitted he was a little nervous. He said they had mature professional teachers who could face up to the youngsters. After they integrated the high school they only had one bad instance. They had a stabbing caused by a Houston student that had recently moved into the area.
At the same time Huntsville faced another big challenge. There had been discussions about integrating the downtown square businesses, but nothing had been successful.
A large group of outside protestors gathered on the square outside the Raven Cafe, and the scene was getting nasty. The Texas Rangers were here and were looking for a way to settle it without violence. They were afraid if the protestors entered the Raven that they would destroy the property. They turned to one of the most respected men in Huntsville.
They went to the First Missionary Baptist Church and sought out Percy that Sunday morning. Percy was the assistant superintendent of the Sunday School, and the Rangers called him outside to talk to him. Neither Alice nor the children knew what was going on. The Rangers explained to Percy that they needed someone to go with them and cross the picket lines. Percy did not hesitate and just said, "Let me get my hat." He and Mr. Wallace went down to the square with the Rangers and stepped out of the car. He said as he looked at the crowd of angry protestors that "he was up to his ears in it now, so they had better go through with it." They were escorted through the protestors and at the door he saw about 12 to 15 white men having coffee and Mr. Ray Berry sitting at the counter. Mr. Berry said, "Come on in, Percy, and have a cup of coffee," and that was how a courageous man brought about peaceful integration of our businesses in Huntsville.
Not everyone was happy about the way it was done, and some blacks and whites were angry with Percy. In a statement that sounds just like him he said, "I lost a little friendship from either side but it was the right thing to do."
Percy was not through yet. Sam Houston State University was still not integrated. Dr. Lowman was dying, and so they waited until after his death. There were people around the area who wanted to send students that Percy knew would not be successful. He wanted a qualified student. He found one in Mr. Patrick. Percy went with him personally to register, get his books and pay his tuition. Patrick graduated to become a successful math teacher.
Percy also sought to bring our community together with his gentle manner in many ways. For years we all attended the services at Emancipation Park on Juneteenth. He would call and ask you to participate, and you automatically said "yes sir." You did not tell Percy no. We would hold hands and sing "We Shall Overcome" together and renew our commitment to make Huntsville a better place to live.
Percy accomplished a lot through the years for all of us with his courageous ways, but in conclusion, I want to talk briefly again about his wisdom. I had the privilege of serving with Percy on the Huntsville City Council in the 1980s. Percy was greatly respected by the council and was elected mayor pro tem. It did not matter if we were in executive session or in the council chamber full of people, when you asked Percy what he thought he would say, "Now let me see," and then he would pause and think about it. It always got so quite you could hear a pin drop and then out of his mouth would come words of wisdom that went straight to the solution and that we all took to heart. He was a wise man and represented all of us well.
So to this gentle, courageous and wise man we say thank you today for all he has done for all of us and for his wonderful family that will carry on his legacy for years to come.
Taken from the Huntsville Itemonline...Dec 9, 2012
Created by: Ronald G. Hightower
Record added: Feb 16, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33931845