Message I received From a friend of E.F. Buddy Howard:

a sermon
by Andrew Walton
based on John 10:7, 9(b), 10(b) for the funeral of E. F. Buddy Howard, January 25, 2001

John 10:
7 So again Jesus said to them, Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
9 (b) Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.
10 (b) I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Abundant life is a promise of the Gospel, the promise of Jesus himself. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Abundant life in a biblical sense has very little to do with the accumulation of wealth or possessions.
The Greek word for abundance would perhaps best be translated into English as without measure or boundless.
Life without measure. Boundless life. Abundant life.

If anyone ever lived an abundant, boundless, life without measure, it was Buddy Howard.
Perhaps, in the beginning it was from necessity. His childhood was turbulent, torn between a mother and father who dealt with demons of their own, he found himself spending more and more time, especially summers, in Forsyth with his aunt and uncle.

Next door he met another boy who would become a lifelong friend, and even his next door neighbor for the better part of his life. He and his new friend Harold Clarke did all the things little boys did in small towns.
One of their favorite things to do was shoot ducks. No they weren't hunters. They didn't even own guns. Shooting ducks was the art of finding long, clean cigarette butts and taking them to the barn to finish off. However their duck shooting days ended abruptly when Buddy polished off most of a cigar before going to a revival meeting at the Methodist church, where he interrupted the service doing what little boys do after smoking cigars.
That was only one of hundreds of exploits of his younger days. He was already enjoying life to its fullest.

At a young age Buddy fell in love with the automobile. His first one was half interest, with Harold, in an old Model T Ford that they saved from being a make shift saw mill. He would eventually own hundreds of cars in his lifetime. Nolan says he remembers spending many Saturday nights at the car auction with his daddy, buying old clunkers. I asked him, did Buddy fix them up, and he said, "No!" But he always had a fine car too.
Leigh tells me he owned one of the first Mercedes in Forsyth. But, it turned out to be a lemon. He ended up calling Mercedes officials in Germany telling them, "No wonder you lost the damn war!"

Speaking of war, there is no way we can remember and honor Buddy Howard without mentioning his military service in World War II. As we see this flag draped coffin, we are reminded that he was a true patriot. He loved his country and was proud of his service to her.

He was a United States Navy Seebee, and along with fellow Seebees with whom he would maintain contact the rest of his life, he built airstrips in the South Pacific. On these airstrips is where he fell in love with airplanes.

On a personal note, I shared his fascination with airplanes and on several occasions went to him for help in identifying planes in old photos I have. In retrospect, I have to admit I enjoyed hearing his stories a lot more than I enjoyed looking at pictures of airplanes. Oh, if we only had time to tell all of the tales that came from his days in the Navy.

The war was over, and Buddy still in the Navy was recovering in the hospital from an appendectomy when he fell in love again. This time to a nurse named Belle. The day after he was released from the hospital he came back "looking". He says it was for that French nurse.We know better, Belle. Can you believe he was still telling that story after 52 years of marriage?

Buddy loved children! Just ask his own. He went out of his way to make holidays special, particularly Halloween and Christmas. They always managed to have a family vacation trip. He was forever building things for his own children and the children of the neighborhood; boats, go-carts, make shift sleds, all manner of things. Some worked, some didn't, and some didn't work on purpose,but they always had fun. All the children loved him, because he was really just a big kid himself.

He was especially proud of his grandchildren and his great-granddaughter.

Buddy liked to have fun. He loved to play. Nobody, I mean nobody loved a practical joke more than Buddy Howard. Even if it was calling Belle an hour before their wedding to say it it was off, Or telling the post office attendant that the package of prescription drugs he picked up was the ashes of a deceased relative. He was always pulling somebody's leg.

And surprises! Oh, he loved surprises.
Surprise parties, surprise gifts, surprise trips.
He loved keeping a secret and then springing it on someone. When you got in a car with Buddy you never knew where you may end up. He may even be on the way to the airport.
Jokes and surprises were Buddy's way of telling you he cared.

By his own admission he had trouble showing emotion. So he was like the little boy on the playground pulling our pigtails . If he picked on you, he liked you.

Oh, by the way. Speaking of practical jokes, at the request of Belle, Nolan, Neil, and Leigh there seems to be one practical joke left unexplained in their neighborhood.
It seems that their neighbors put in a swimming pool one time, and all around town little cards like this appeared:


This card entitles bearer to lifetime membership for bearer and his family, and entitles him to all privileges as listed below, subject to rules as shone on reverse side.

  • -Free refreshments at any hour.
  • -Child Care. Bring your children and their friends. Pick them up at your convenience.
  • -Groups of 30 or less accommodated without prior reservation.


  • -Male members are required to wear bathing suits. (This requirement does not apply to lady members.)
  • -No "Goosing" will be permitted by female members.
  • -All ladies left unescorted by their husbands or boyfriends become property of the management.
  • -All members consuming over a six-pack must leave pool and go to rest room at least once every half hour.
  • I'm told the Clarkes never really knew where that card came from. Now you know!

    Buddy also loved music, especially the big bands. You heard some of his collection as you were gathering here this afternoon. How many of you knew he was the first ever drum-major at Mary Persons High School? People from all over the country would contact him for song lyrics, titles, and tunes. He loved music.

    Whether through military history, cars, or music, Buddy had a gift for connecting people and staying connected to them. This gift came into full bloom with his last love affair, the computer, the computer that he swore he would never have.
    Through his computer he was able to connect with hundreds of military friends and make hundreds of new ones. Allow me to share portions of just one letter that came in the other day:


    He never even met Buddy.

    Yes, I would say Buddy Howard lived an abundant life. I would say he claimed that promise of the Gospel with every ounce of his spirit. And the memories, the stories, the joy, the love that he leaves not only to those of us here today, but to scores of others is a testament to boundless, measureless, abundant love of life.

    Belle, Nolan, Leigh, Neal, grandchildren, other family, friends,
    we will miss Buddy, but we will be remiss if we stay sad too long.

    Please close this window after you have finished with it. Thank you, Mick