James Howell, 1924-2018

Moeller Funeral Home, Valparaiso, is handling the arrangements for James Wyman Howell, 93, of Wanatah, Indiana, who died at home on Thursday, April 12, 2018.

He was born to Wyman Blaine and Lovella (Spangler) Howell on May 31, 1924, at the family farm home in Clinton Township, near Wanatah.

James married Norma Lee Cites in 1946. She preceded him in death on May 8, 2012. He knew she was the one for him when they started dating as teenagers.

In high school, James was an outstanding basketball player and graduated from Clinton High School in 1942. He attended 1 year of college at Purdue University, playing on the freshman basketball team.  In the summer of 1943 he enlisted in the Navy and was trained to fly PBY amphibious planes. He was stationed in the Philippines at the end of World War II. After being honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946, he attended Valparaiso University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in mathematics and science in 1950. He obtained his Master’s Degree from Purdue University in 1963. From 1950–1958, he had 1-2-year teaching positions at the LaPorte County high schools of LaCrosse, Hanna, Union Mills, Rolling Prairie, and Clinton Township. He spent the last 30 years of his career at Westville High School teaching high school math, retiring in 1988. Early in his career he coached basketball, baseball, volleyball and track. At Westville High School he sponsored the Mathematics Club for 22 years. As the Junior Class sponsor for six years, he supervised the construction of elaborate decorations for the proms held in the school gymnasium. In 1952 and 1953 he worked at Kingsbury Ordnance Plant at night while still teaching by day. Most summers he was employed as a carpenter. He salvaged materials from many barns, houses and sheds, which he used for building home additions (his own and his children’s). He was Scoutmaster of Boy Scouts Troop 33 in Wanatah from 1960–1965 and 1969-1974. He loved children, especially babies. He ran a truck farm, specializing in watermelons, cantaloupe and sweet corn. He was known to pull the occasional prank as a school boy and adult.

James was a devoted and loving father who always supported his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For him, home was the best place to be. He also had a special place in his heart for many of the students he had taught and coached.

He is survived by 6 children: Diane (Ted) Woolever, Timothy (Linda) Howell, James D. (Bonnie) Howell, Amy (Gary) DeSmet, Jonathon (Margaret) Howell, and Nathan (Irene) Howell; grandchildren: Chad Howell, Matthew Mertz, Rachael Marks, Eric Woolever, McKenzie Ballou, Cory Clarke, Troy Webb, Nicole Ballou, Alison Moore, Adrienne DeSmet, David DeSmet, Jaime Howell, Wyman Blaine Howell, and Hannah Howell; and 18 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings: Vivian Teeter, Robert Howell, Helen Garab and Marian Hock.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, April 17, at Wanatah Funeral Chapel, 309 N. Main St., Wanatah, from 4 to 7 p.m. A funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, at LaCrosse Christian Church, 504 S. Washington St., LaCrosse, Minister David Buche will officiate, with additional visitation starting at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Westville Cemetery.  

Memorial donations may be made to VNA Hospice of Northwest Indiana, 501 Marquette St., Valparaiso, IN 46383; or Boy Scouts of America at www.scouting.org.

Messages of condolence may be posted below on WNLP as well as at www.moellerfuneralhome.com.

3 Responses to “James Howell, 1924-2018”

  1. darren wojcieszak

    Apr 17. 2018

    he was a great teacher and had a great time while in his class

    Reply to this comment
  2. Anita M. Way

    Apr 17. 2018

    Dear Linda and Family, I am so sorry, yet comforted to hear of Mr. Howel’s eminent journey into The Promised Land. How wonderful a Promise to be experienced. No cold weather, no war and peace like a river. Praying you will find grace and calm in your life, in memories and his love will live within your heart. In God’s love, Anita Way

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  3. Amber List

    Apr 18. 2018

    I’m sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. He was a pleasure to teach with at Westville High School. I loved his humor and his devotion.

    Reply to this comment

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