Oscar Howard

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oscar Excell Howard, a lifelong resident of Verbena, Ala., passed away February 7, 2009, at the William F. Green Veterans Home in Bay Minette, Ala., at the age of 90, surrounded by family and friends. He went home to be with the Lord he loved and served from a young age.
Mr. Howard graduated from Verbena High School and attended Birmingham Southern College for one year prior to entering military service during World War II. He served in the U.S. Air Force from June 1941 until November 1945 and saw action in the European theatre as a reconnaissance pilot of P-51 aircraft.
He was shot down twice, escaping the first time with minor injuries, but was captured by German forces following the second incident, which took place on his 25th mission. He spent nearly one year as a prisoner of war in Barth, Germany, gaining his freedom from Stalag Luft I when the camp was liberated. He received several commendations for his service to his country and, upon his discharge in November 1945, he returned to his hometown of Verbena to begin a 40-year career as a U. S. Postal Service rural letter carrier.
Throughout his life, Mr. Howard was an active member of Verbena United Methodist Church, where he served on the board of stewards and taught Bible studies for nearly 60 years. He had a passion for Christ and the Word of God.
He was associated with the Montgomery Chapter of American Ex-POWs, and was a member of the Caterpillar Club, which is comprised of men whose lives were saved by a parachute.
Mr. Howard, affectionately known as Excell, was preceded in death by his parents; Argent and Oscar Howard, and two brothers; Ormond Lee Howard and Ezra Gleeson Howard. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Maggie Pearl Dennis Howard, two daughters; Carolyn Howard Nelson (Tom) of Mobile, Ala., and Linda Howard Williams of Auburn, Ala., one son; Wendell Excell Howard (Kathy) of Austin, Texas, grandchildren; Andrea Lowry (Bob), Cynthia Nelson, Steven Nelson, Phillip Williams, Michael Williams, Casey Howard and Matthew Howard, great-grandchildren; Brooke, Lindsay, Abigail, Mason and Alec. He is also survived by one brother, John Latimer Howard (Winnie), sister-in-law Jean Howard, many relatives, and a special friend and caretaker, Cy Coffman.
Excell had many “adopted” children over the years who affectionately called him “Dad,” because he loved to mentor those who were younger in their Christian faith.
Funeral services will be held at Verbena United Methodist Church today, Feb. 10, at 11 a.m. The family will receive friends at the church one hour preceding the service. Interment will be in Verbena Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Verbena United Methodist Church, 8201 County Road 59, Verbena, AL 36091
The family would like to express their love and appreciation to the wonderful caregivers at the William F. Green Veterans Home in Bay Minette for their tireless devotion to “Oscar,” and to the many fellow veterans who became his dear friends.