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Martin Howell

September 2011



Well, damn! — Let’s celebrate this completed life of one of our remarkable colleagues as he would have wished–with joy and laughter, wild stories and deep appreciation for a life lived on behalf of.


Martin Howell died suddenly on July 22nd in Yakima, WA from an aneurism or blood clot.  He was 64 years old.  I talked today with one of his close colleagues, Mary, at the Yakima consulting firm in which Martin was a key player for many years, having retired just a couple years ago.  From her I learned —

  • that 300 people came to the funeral, which was held in the local museum auditorium;
  • that there were strict orders that no one was to wear black–so it looked, according to Mary, like a beach party in Hawaii;
  • that a huge screen in the front featured a shot of Martin in the swimming pool with a goofy expression;
  • that stories poured in from all over the world;
  • and that the only time there were tears was when his brother from New York, who had been estranged from Martin for many years, took the stage to share how blown away he was to learn about his brother’s life and to wish that he had known him better.


Martin was for many years an ICA ToP trainer (in his own inimitable way, as you might guess), and I invited him to join me on a half a dozen occasions to do courses in Seattle during the ’90s.  Had we asked participants to rate our trainings on a scale of sheer fun, these would have won hands down.  Yakima is pretty solid Republican small town rural eastern Washington, and the fact that Martin as an openly gay man could be so highly respected and even adored there always seemed a marvel to many of us.  Couple that with the fact that his partner (another ToP trainer in Yakima) in much of the training and facilitation he did was a devout Mormon, and you have some picture, if you didn’t know him well, of how wonderfully human and engaging Martin was.


Martin may not have kept up with many of his Order colleagues, and the obit from the local paper doesn’t even mention this part of his life.  For those of us who knew him, however, we celebrate the completed life of a dear colleague and friend —

~~  Gordon Harper



Martin was one of those Development guys who circuited in the 70s and brought care and humor to religious houses.  As a prior in Cleveland, I always enjoyed Martin’s great spirit, engagement in the religious house and his meticulous development work.  We researched and called on many Cleveland foundations together. Sometime in the last two years, Martin called and shared information about his consulting practice; and we laughed alot about those days in Cleveland. He was always a great colleague and will be missed,

~~  Mary Laura Jones