Dear Frank, and others who knew and deeply respected John Howell, as Joe and I have, It must be THE John Howell to whom you refer, since you mentioned Heather, his daughter, who for at least three years was like a “big sister” to our twins when they were toddlers and then in preschool at the NY Religious House.
John was one of the most lucrative “permeators” in the New York Religious House in the early 70s, as an employee of the Bank of Montreal. Moreover, he was the first up every day, rang the bell and announced “Praise the Lord, Christ is Risen!”, and was one of the last to turn in, because he was a key member of the House Priors, our leadership quatrain that had responsibility for guiding the internal and external mission of a then 50-member Religious House.
John brought left-brain analysis and critical, conservative review to RH deliberations, as well as sensitive, compassionate understanding. Somehow, he figured out how to keep each in balance, and our community benefitted.
When Joe and I learned that John had decided to leave the Order and become part of Gene Marshall’s community, we rejoiced that he continued in meaningful, disciplined service. After the OE Diaspora, and when we (the Crockers) moved to Maine, Joe, and other OE colleagues, Don Clark and David Morton, attended a program in Bonham, Texas, and delighted in reconnecting with John.
At this time of John’s passing, Joe and I send our condolences to Heather and her brother Drew; to their Mom, Melinda; and to any of John’s grandchildren. We join with you all in celebrating the completed life of a courageous, generous-spirited, “revolutionary” conservative, who, we believe, deeply loved the Church and embraced radical possibility, frequently at great cost to himself. We believe John Howell was, unquestionably, a Good Man. Grace. Peace and love,
~~ Marilyn and Joe Crocker