Charles David Howell
David “Babe” Howell, 84, passed away Saturday, May 4, 2013, at
Mission Hospital-St. Joseph Campus, Asheville, surrounded by his
Born in a Mill village in Monroe on June 25, 1928, to Claude and Ollie Howell, Howell left Benton Heights High School at 17 years of age to join the war effort. He served the United States Navy honorably from 1945 to 1949. Howell was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific, American Theatre and Good Conduct Medal. He commented on his years in the Navy as forever impacting and molding his life. The Navy is where Coach Howell was first introduced to organized football.
Returning home to Monroe he played on a high school championship football team inspired by Coach Jim Gudger. Howell received college football and baseball scholarships to Western Carolina University. Jim Gudger coached Howell again in football and baseball at the collegiate level, along with fellow Monroe native, Tom Young. Howell considered Gudger his greatest mentor in life.
At his beloved alma mater, his years as a left-handed pitcher earned him the nickname “Babe”. Charles “Babe” Howell completed Bachelors and Master Degrees from Western Carolina University in physical education and administration. Howell enjoyed coaching many sports over the years including football, baseball, wrestling, swimming, tennis, track, and girls’ basketball.
He began his coaching career at Sylva High School in 1954-1957; East Fannin High School, Blue Ridge, Georgia, 1957-1961; Cherokee High School, Canton, Ga., 1961-1965; Sylva-Webster/Smoky Mountain, Sylva, 1965-1990; and Avery County High School, Newland, 1994-1997. Howell coached seven state high school championship teams, five in football and two in baseball. He was the first high school coach in N.C. to win a football and baseball championship in one school year. Coach Howell retired in 1997 as the winningest high school football and baseball coach in North Carolina history. After his retirement he volunteered and mentored numerous teams, coaches, and players until his death. He served as an athletic director over the course of 44 years in Georgia and North Carolina.
Howell was inducted into eleven Halls of Fame in North Carolina and Georgia, including the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame in Raleigh.
Howell lived a full and adventurous life. He had numerous hobbies including a passion for travel, photography, painting houses, the outdoors, walking and hiking, drinking good coffee, and eating good food. Howell was devoted to his family and made a deeply positive impact in all of our lives.
Howell was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Lou Cowan Howell; two younger brothers, Bruce S. Howell of Monroe and Ottice Lee Howell of Charlotte; one baby sister, Betty Gene Howell, and two infant step-granddaughters, Ansley Claire and Claire Elizabeth Horney. He is also survived by his wife Peggy; one younger brother, Larry M. Howell and his wife, Mary, Mint Hill; two daughters, Ann Mabry, and husband, Mike, of Marion; Marthe Howell Marlor of Panama City Beach, Fla.; two grandchildren, Krissy Mabry of Washington, D.C. and Casey Mabry and his wife, Brooke, of Marion; three stepsons, Martin Horney IV and his wife, Leslie, of Newland; Matthew Horney and his wife, Amy, of Cranberry, Mitchell Horney and his wife, Becca, of Crossnore; seven step-grandchildren Harrison, Chandler, Ethan, Elli, Maddie, Ayla, Mattux, and one great-grandchild, John Christopher Mabry.
A memorial service for Howell will be held 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home in Newland. The family will receive friends immediately following the service at the funeral home. Military rites will be provided at 4 p.m. at the Town Square in Newland.
On Saturday, May 11, at 4 p.m., a memorial service will be held at Babe Howell Field, located in Carr Hooper Stadium at Smoky Mountain High School, Sylva, weather permitting. Otherwise, services will be held in the Smoky Mountain High School gymnasium. The family will receive friends beginning two hours prior to the memorial service.
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