By Ray Tincher | For The Times-Post
Dozens of people came together in Lapel recently to honor and recognize the Jack and Jackie Howell family’s years of accomplishments.
The family received the first Lapel Community Honor Award, presented during a dinner at Lapel American Legion Post No. 212, Saturday, Oct. 23.
The award, the creation of which I spearheaded several months ago, is presented by the Legion and sponsored by several local businesses.
Jack and Jackie Howell have had a wonderful life.
“We have been married 68 years-plus, and we have lived in Lapel all of our life except the two years I was in the Army. I was a paratrooper for two years. I was a student at Anderson University when I got drafted. So, Jackie and I got married as I entered the service,” Jack said.
“Then later, I started teaching the sixth grade at Lapel in 1955.”
Jack said it was the perfect age level for him to teach.
“The administration tried to get me to move over to high school, but I loved teaching the sixth grade. I had as many as 45 kids in my room with no problems, because we were allowed to discipline the kids in our class. When they took that away from us, it totally changed our classroom problems.”
The Howells have had an influence on others in additional ways, too.
“We have also been on 15 Christian missionary trips. The last one was in Eastern Kentucky. Plus, I have taught Sunday School at the Ford Street Church for over 68 years,” Jack added.
Their other achievements include rearing three great sons who went on to have exceptional achievements themselves.
One thing their sons have in common is they’ve had successful careers coaching basketball.
Jimmy Howell just retired from coaching varsity at Lapel, where he established a record of coaching 625 games, which may stand for a long time. Jimmy also taught for 44 years.
Another son, Ron Howell, teaches and coaches basketball at Muncie Central. He is on his 42nd year there.
Their third son, Johnnie, teaches at Alexandra High School. He no longer coaches basketball. However, in 2005, he coached the Alexandrea girls basketball team to a state championship. In addition, his daughter Jodi was voted 2005 Miss Indiana Basketball. Four other girls on the team made the 2005 Indiana All-Star Team.
Johnnie had more than 300 wins before giving up basketball about 10 years ago.
Jackie proudly added, “Our three boys all took after their dad and became teachers. I worked at General Motors to support them.”
Jackie Howell had an admirable career with General Motors. She was one of the first females to be promoted into an executive position. Jackie was head of human resources for the company at Anderson.
Jack and Jackie Howell are usually seen together. When the Brockway Golf Course was open, they were regular golfers there.
One day, Jackie reportedly got an “eagle score” on one hole (an eagle in golf is a two on a par four).
Jack claims “that ball hit a rock in the creek, bounced out and rolled on the green, and rolled into the cup!”
The Jack and Jackie Howell family have accumulated an impressive collection of achievements.
In addition to Jack’s almost seven decades teaching Sunday School, he and his sons combined have taught local children for a total of 164 years.
Jack and Jackie Howell are deserving of the First Lapel Community Honor Award. They have contributed to the community in several ways. The Howell family is giving back to the community. They deserve our recognition and expression of thanks.
In January 2022, the second Lapel Community Honor Award will be presented to another person, family or business.
You can help us select someone. Send your suggestions/comments to: [email protected] You can remain anonymous if you choose.