Rev. Donald Ray Howard

October 29, 1945 ~ February 11, 2021 (age 75)


Rev. Donald Ray Howard, EMR, Plymouth, Minnesota died February 11, 2021 at home surrounded by members of his family.  He had been in failing health for a number of years.

Don was born on October 29, 1945 along with his twin sister, Sandra, in Petersburg, Indiana, the son of Stanley R. Howard and Mary Jane (Curry) Howard.  He graduated in the top ten percent of his class from Rushville High School in 1963.  Following graduation he worked at a number of jobs with most of that time at Philco Ford Corporation in Connersville, Indiana.  In 1968, he attended Concordia Junior College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While at Concordia, he met the love of his life, Candace Stacey Katterman. They had their first date on Valentine’s Day of 1969 and were married on October 4th of that year. After graduation, he worked for a short time and then returned to school at Concordia Teacher’s College in Seward, Nebraska in the summer of 1971.  Following his graduation in the summer of 1973, Don served churches in Minnesota and Connecticut as a principal and teacher, as a Director of Christian Education in Florida, as a principal and teacher in Texas, and as a Director of Christian Education in Oklahoma.  While serving at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Lawton, Oklahoma, he enrolled at Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and pursued his Masters in Divinity and was ordained into the pastoral ministry in October of 1999.  In addition to his pastoral duties, he served the Oklahoma District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod as the Secretary of Education from 2000 through 2009 and District Board Director from 2009 through 2011.   Don served Holy Cross Lutheran Church for 28 years retiring on May 31, 2015.  While in Lawton, Rev. Howard served on various community boards including Cameron Campus Ministry, Weed & Feed, and Holy Cross Learning Center - Board of Directors.  In addition, Rev. Howard was instrumental in establishing the Lawton area Family Promise program which serves homeless mothers and their children.

During his service to the church, Rev. Howard was honored to marry countless couples including his children and his niece and to baptize hundreds of children including his grandchildren and niece. Don found a treasured ability in visiting those facing illness and injury to bring comfort, communion and peace. He was able to share his faith and humor during many difficult times and to conduct funeral services which were personalized with loving details of each person; he always found compassionate ways to celebrate the life of the loved one who had gone home.

Rev. Howard was a storyteller, who loved telling stories, especially to children.  He loved children and relished being part of their learning and growth. In addition to his many responsibilities over the years, he enjoyed many opportunities to read to preschool and grade school children and became a treasured storytime reader to dozens of classrooms over the years. He was an avid reader and was truly a lifelong learner of many topics. He taught bible studies for years and was an active participant in bible studies even though his final months and days. He loved playing sports, especially softball, volleyball, and golf. He was an enthusiastic coach for different sports his sons played during their school years – always ready to make sure their teams had support and leadership. He was responsible for getting softball teams established in two of the congregations he served.  He delighted in making others laugh and never took himself too seriously. 

He is survived by his wife, Candy, of the home; two sons Brody J. Howard (Cynthia) of Plymouth, MN and Barth Trevor Howard (Shanna) of Midwest City, OK; 5 grandchildren, Ashton and Adria Howard of Norman, OK, Graydon, Kian, and Skitch Howard of Plymouth, MN.  A brother, Stanley Howard Jr. (Linda) and many nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father and his two sisters, Marilyn Workman and Sandra Cooper.

A private Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.  Memorials should be made to the ALS Association Chapter of MN, 1919 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN, 55104, 612-672-0484, 

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