It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that our beloved Dr. Richard Lee Howard, 78, died peacefully at home overlooking his gardens, and surrounded by his family on July 28, 2020, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was a man of faith and strength and was a lifelong Orthodox Christian.
A native Charlestonian, Richard was born June 11, 1942, first-born son of Sabe Isaac and Rose Mary Howard. He loved his family fiercely and enjoyed a particularly close and unique relationship with each sibling until the end of his blessed life. They had a bond that couldn’t be broken.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Sabe Isaac and Rose Mary Howard, his older sister Carolyn Howard Stevens, paternal aunts and uncles, Ammaline Howard, Rosaline Howard Brody of Charleston, and, and Victor N. Howard of Florida, and maternal uncle Joseph George Howard of Charleston.
Through the grace of God, Richard’s faith sustained him. He was a beloved son, brother, uncle, godfather and great uncle. He is survived by his brother, Dr. Edward E. Howard, sisters Jolene Howard, Janet M. Howard, Margaret Howard Teeter (Andrew), and Sabrina Howard Stump (James); nephew, Dr. Matthew D. Stump, and nieces Dr. Jacqueline H. Stump, Elizabeth Stevens Bloch (Tom), and great nephew Thomas M. Bloch III.
Dr. Howard attended Charleston High School and West Virginia University. During his undergraduate studies, Dr. Howard achieved several distinctions as a member of the National Blue Key, Helvetia, Sphinx and president of the freshman class of 1960. He was also a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. After three years of his pre-dentistry courses, Dr. Howard received early acceptance into the West Virginia University School of Dentistry where he obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1967. Upon completion of dental school, he entered the United States Air Force as a captain and was stationed during the Vietnam era at Dover Air Force Base at Dover, Delaware.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Dr. Howard returned to Charleston, WV, where he partnered as an associate with a local dental office. After one year, Dr. Howard set up his own dental practice as Howard Family Dentistry and several years later was joined by his brother, Dr. Edward Howard, thereby founding Howard and Howard Dental, focusing on Comprehensive, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry. In addition to practicing in West Virginia, Dr. Howard was also licensed to practice dentistry in the state of Florida.
His long-tenured career in the field of dentistry is a commitment to his patients’ well being with excellent dental and oral health. Dr. Howard maintained memberships in the Kanawha Valley Dental Association, the West Virginia Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentists (AGD), the International College of Dentists (ICD), and was founder and twice president of the Virginia Street Dental Study Club.
He was a member of the Beni Kedem Shrine, the Legion of Honor, Shrine Jesters, a 32 degree Mason, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Charleston Symphony, the Charleston Community Music Association, and the West Virginia University Woodburn Circle of Honor. He was a major supporter of his church, St. George Orthodox Cathedral of which he was knight in the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.
He enjoyed golfing, travelling and managing various real estate holdings.
In addition, Dr. Howard served on the WV Dental Association Executive Council in the late 1970’s. He was a founder and director of Capitol State Bank (now known as Summit Bank – Charleston.) In 1987, he designed and built the Governors Court Apartments in the East End and was awarded the Builder of the Year Award by the National Home Builders Association.
He established scholars of WVU School of Dentistry via the WVU Foundation and mentored 23 WVU Dental School Graduates. He also served a preceptorship under Stuart Granger, DDS, School of Gnathology and Occlusions.
His passion for golf and snow skiing was exceeded only by his zest for adventure. He travelled worldwide to far away places and upon his return each time, the stories and memories he made and told could fill a book. He had a keen sense of leadership style unmatched. He took on challenges and conquered each one knowing that the outcome would be positive and fair. His generosity was exemplified by his devotion to many contributions to his church, his passion and love of dentistry, his many organizations, to those in need, and to his family.
He lived a full and accomplished life and leaves behind a legacy of which we are all proud. He truly loved and was loved by many.
His family extends and recognizes with special thanks Richard’s doctors, Dr. Steven Jubilier, Dr. Ola Landgren of Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York City, NY; Dr. Ali Aburahma, Dr. Sandra Elliott, the CAMC Cancer Center and multitudes of nurses and health care providers here in Charleston and New York City that made this long journey with Richard and his family.
Richard’s wishes were to have a large gathering of friends and family for a celebration of life, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety and health of family and friends, there will be a private funeral with immediate family only officiated by the Reverend Father Joseph Hazar, Dean, and the V. Reverend Olaf Scott of St. George Orthodox Cathedral. Interment will follow the private funeral service at Sunset Memorial Park, South Charleston, West Virginia with full military and Masonic participation.
Friends and family are invited to the visitation for Richard from 5 to 7 pm, Thursday, July 30, 2020 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, 190 Court St, Charleston, WV 25301. Attendees are expected to follow protocol by wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. George Orthodox Cathedral Foundation, the CAMC Cancer Center, 3416 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, WV; Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York City, NY, or to the Richard Lee Howard, D.D.S. Memorial Scholarship Fund, WVU School of Dentistry via the WVU Foundation.
To express condolences, please visit www.barlowbonsall.com.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, 1118 Virginia Street East, Charleston, WV.