Bennett Kelly Howze, Sr., age 95, died on December 20, 2014, after a long and valiant struggle with cancer and heart disease. He was preceded in death by his parents, Katherine Mae Deaver and Melvin Chappell Howze, sister Myra Snyder, four brothers, Everett, Thomas, William, and John, and granddaughter Lori Starnes.
Blessed by many talents, Ben enjoyed a long and varied career. After attending UT, and serving in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Erwin and graduated in 1948 from ETSC. He taught in Asheville, North Carolina for one year. He married Ann Trimble in 1949 and returned to Erwin to live. Ben worked briefly for the Clinchfield Railroad, and then began a career in teaching and administrative positions in Unicoi and Washington counties, South Haven, Michigan, and Bradenton, Florida. Ben studied guidance and counseling at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for three years. In 1962, the family moved back to Erwin. He was also a licensed electrician and worked in the construction of nuclear power plants.
After retirement, he and his wife became charter members of the ETSU learning in retirement group, where he taught several classes. He was a gifted woodworker and enjoyed jewelry-making, a craft which he studied in rock clubs and through classes at Wildacres, North Carolina. He loved to travel and with his wife had visited numerous national parks. He had a lifelong interest in gardening, and planted fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens on the home place. Ben was a member of the Erwin Presbyterian Church, where he served as Elder and Sunday School teacher.
He is survived by his wife, Ann, three daughters, Karen Loughmiller and husband Joe, Christine Molder and husband John, and Elizabeth Starnes and husband Rusty; and three sons, Bennett Kelly Howze, Jr., John Stephen Howze and wife Shawna, and Martin Howze and wife Emily, and sister-in-law Charlotte Howze. Grandchildren are; Emily Rivenbark, Julia Rusk, Joseph Loughmiller, Jason Howze, Brittany Pierson, Leah Howze, Nicholas Howze, Logan and Madeline Howze, Bonnie, Natalie, Ashley, Daisy, and Noah Starnes, and Katie Edwards. Great grandchildren are Derrick and Carter Edwards, and Tabitha and Jeremiah Rivenbark, William Howze, and Harrison Pierson. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at the Erwin Presbyterian Church at 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 27, 2014. Following the service, the family will receive friends at a reception in the Fellowship Hall. The family will attend a private graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Erwin Presbyterian Church, 105 North Elm Avenue, Erwin, TN 37650 or to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, 1020 Jericho Drive, Kingsport, TN 37663.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family through our website at www.valleyfuneralhome.net. These arrangements are made especially for the family and friends of Bennett Kelly Howze, Sr. through Valley Funeral Home, 1085 N. Main Ave., Erwin, TN. 37650, 423-743-9187.