Robert E. Howard ’51

Robert E. Howard ’51 died on January 26, 2019, in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

(The following was published online at on May 17, 2018):

Dr. Robert Eliot Howard, 90, of Lincoln, MA, formerly of Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, passed away peacefully on January 26 at his home, in the loving care of his family. He was born May 23, 1928, in Boston, the second son of the late Stanley and Edna (Thomas) Howard. Bob was a graduate of Milton Academy and received an A.B. degree in chemistry from Bowdoin College in 1951.

Following graduation from Bowdoin, Bob enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, serving from 1951 to 1954. Especially memorable was the winter of 1953 on board a Coast Guard weather ship in the North Atlantic. His duties included climbing the ship’s highest rigging for an iceberg watch (pre-radar), no matter how rough the conditions.

Bob married the love of his life Josephine Smith of Morris, NY, on Aug. 27, 1955, and entered Tufts University School of Dental Medicine the following month. Graduating from Tufts with a D.M.D. degree in 1958, Bob and Jo moved to Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, where he opened a widely respected and busy dental practice. He practiced for over 40 years before retiring. Bob loved living in Manchester and participating in many activities there, such as the Manchester Council on Aging and Friends of Trees. He was a skilled sailor with the Manchester Frostbiters at Tuck’s Point and an expert tennis player on the courts with friends, children and grandchildren. Bob and Jo continued living in Manchester, maintaining an active community presence until 2017 when they relocated to Lincoln to be nearer their children and grandchildren.

Long weekends and summer vacations at the Howard Family cottage on Maine coast in Christmas Cove provided lifelong special enjoyment for them and their growing family. From Bob’s youth, he was an avid sailor at the helm of the Damaris, the family’s wooden sloop. He was a determined and successful skipper in the Cove races, scheduled regularly in the challenging winds and tides of Johns Bay. The beautiful Maine coast fueled Bob’s love of nature, which he instilled in his children and grandchildren.

Singing was a lifelong passion for Bob, even in his final weeks. At Bowdoin, Bob’s resonate bass voice was a welcome addition to the Bowdoin Glee Club. He was a member of the Manchester Chorus, and the Manchester Helmsmen, an a cappella group. Bob especially enjoyed singing with the Christmas Cove songsters.

Most of all, Bob loved his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Josephine, a son, John E. Howard and wife Christine of Sudbury, MA and two daughters, Kimberly H. O’Donnell and husband Christopher of Wellesley, MA and Anne H. Bassler and husband Stu of Belmont, MA, and seven grandchildren, Lindsey O’Donnell Welch and her husband Tim Welch ’12, Adrienne O’Donnell ’15 and her fiancé John Lefeber ’14, Kylie O’Donnell, Alexa and Katie Bassler, and Timothy and Adam Howard.

Bob was predeceased by his brother, Thomas P. Howard.

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