EDMESTON – Don Howard, who taught science at Edmeston Central School for 32 years, died May 5, 2017, at home, surrounded by his family.
He was born on the family farm in West Edmeston, to Lynn and Edith Howard. He graduated from Leonardsville Central School. He attended SUNY Oswego for a year before marrying the love of his life, Irene Baldwin, and transferring to SUNY Plattsburgh so they could both finish their degrees. Their plans were altered with the arrival of their son Dave, and a year later with Dan. Don worked one to three jobs while carrying a full load to support his family and graduate from college.
After graduation, he accepted a position in Niagara Falls for one-year teaching first grade. He then returned to this area due to concerns for his father’s health and took a job at Edmeston Central School, where he taught for the next 32 years. He started teaching kindergarten and first grade in Burlington Flats, which he loved. However, the principal requested he move to junior high, because they needed some male teachers in those grades. He taught social studies and science there for the rest of his career. To increase his teaching skills, he attended summer school for four years at Colgate University, resulting in a Certification in Science Education.
Don always worked additional jobs, to support the family. Some of his jobs included working as a helper for his mason, father-in-law, Hobart Baldwin, and selling microscopes to schools. A car accident on the way home from a Florida vacation resulted in buying a new RV. This in turn led to starting an RV business in 1964, which he ran until 1995, when he passed the business on to his youngest son, Dion.
He never lost his love of farming. At various times through the years, he owned cattle, ponies, pigs, chickens, goats, and rabbits. He even toyed with having a pet skunk at one time, which lead to a very memorable night in the Wharton Creek with tomato sauce and Lysol trying to get rid of the smell. Don loved horses and at one time owned 20 Pony of America (POA) ponies, to include a State champion, Stingeroo’s Tomahawk. During that period, he was also involved in the POA Club.
He was active in many civic organizations at various times in his life. He was a Boy Scout leader and member of the Edmeston Rotary Club for several years. He was a volunteer fire fighter, and founding member of the Edmeston Emergency Squad for 45 years.
He is probably best remembered by friends for his love of music. He sang in the 2nd Baptist Church choir for 50 years, and then the Methodist Church choir. He participated in the Cooperstown Farmers’ Museum Christmas Gala choir and other area cantatas and choirs. When the Peet Hook Community Players was formed, Don played a variety of roles in many of their productions. He also, directed some Edmeston High School senior plays.
Don is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Irene (Baldwin); six children, David (Maryellen) Howard, Daniel Howard, Deborah (David) Pentecost, Dion (Kim) Howard, Donna Pesta (Travis), and Denys (John) Axtell; eleven grandchildren, Christine, Thomas, Rebecca, Matthew, Kayleigh, Jessica, Sienna, Megan, John, Morghen, Austin; and four great grandchildren, Tiernan, Abigail, Nathan, Lilliana and Evelynn.
He is predeceased by his brother Douglas; sisters, Jeanette Howard and Marylou Williams; and grandson Michael Howard.
Calling hours will be 4-7 p.m. Monday, May 8, at the Delker & Terry Funeral Home, Edmeston. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, at the Edmeston United Methodist Church, with Rev. Rebecca Parry officiating. Interment will be in Edmeston Union Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Catskill Area Hospice, 2nd Baptist Church of Edmeston, United Methodist Church of Edmeston, the Edmeston Fire Department or Edmeston Emergency Squad in loving memory of Don.