Alvin Ray Howard, 93, of Memphis, Missouri, passed away Sunday, March 10, 2019 at Boone Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, following complications from surgery.
Alvin was born to Elmer William and Edith Elizabeth Wiley Howard on September 16, 1925, on the family farm in rural Scotland County, Missouri.
At the age of 15, Alvin graduated from Memphis High School with the Class of 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1944. Since the war was winding down, Alvin and his fellow cadets were allowed to receive an early discharge. He received an honorable discharge in 1945. Alvin enjoyed sharing stories of his time in the service. In one story, he told of flying on a B17 that landed at the Naval Air Station in Ottumwa, Iowa. He only flew into Ottumwa once because he didn’t realize at an earlier time that was an option but had he known that, he would have come home for visits more frequently.
After returning from the service, Alvin met Barbara Jean Scott and they were united in marriage on June 25, 1950 in the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at Gorin, Missouri and to this union two sons were born: Brian and Neil.
Alvin and Barbara began their married life on a farm which had been family owned for many years. Alvin enjoyed row crop and cattle farming his entire adult life and never retired. In fact, he was running a combine just a few days before his passing.
Alvin was active in several pilot organizations. He and Barbara acquired a 1946 Cessna 140 in 1956 after which they both began flying lessons and earning pilots licenses in 1957. They joined the Missouri Chapter of the International Flying Farmers as well as the Missouri Pilots Association and were active members in both organizations for many years. In addition, Alvin was highly involved with a local pilot’s group, the Glen Wiley Pilot’s Association. In December of 2015, he was the recipient of the Wright Brothers’ Master Pilot Award for 50 plus years of accident-free flying. Alvin flew as pilot in command on his 90th birthday. He loved visiting with his pilot friends and accompanied his son, Neil, who also has a pilot’s license, to many events each year.
Surviving are his sons, Neil Blake Howard of Memphis, Missouri and Brian Scott Howard and wife, Rachel, of Columbia, Missouri and one grandson, Drew Howard. Other survivors include his brother, Wilmer Howard of Fair Oaks, California; nephews, nieces, cousins and a host of friends.
Alvin was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, in 2011; his parents, Elmer and Edith Howard; his father and mother-in-law, Eldon and Myrtle Scott; two brothers: Melvin Howard and Vernon Howard; three sisters-in-law, Mildred Howard, Margaret Howard and Dorothy Hannum and one brother-in-law, Dr. Jack Hannum.
Visitation will open at the Memphis Funeral Home after noon on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, with the family present to greet relatives and friends from 6 until 8 P.M. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, March 14, at 2 P.M. at the Gorin Pleasant Grove Baptist Church with Pastors Mark Drummond and Mike Wilson officiating. Music will be provided by Lori and Joe Fulk. Burial will follow at Union Cemetery in rural Scotland County. Casket bearers will be Paul Applegate, Brent Rockhold, Rock Schaller, Mark Glasscock, Randy Mauck, Tom Deberry and Duane Arnold. Honorary bearers will be Lloyd Erickson, Paul Tague, Allan Hulet, Mike Hulet, Mark Humes, James Vassholz, Rusty Anders and the guys of the Glen Wiley Pilots Association.
To honor Alvin’s memory, a memorial may be offered to the Pheasant Airplane Building Fund or to the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and may be left at the church or funeral home or mailed to Memphis Funeral Home, 377 South Market Street, Memphis, Missouri 63555.
Online condolences may be made to the Howard family at memphisfuneralhome-mo.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Memphis Funeral Home.