He was my namesake, Uncle Howard, botany professor, who had served in WW II in the Pacific, and four times stormed island beaches under fire and survived to tell the tale. He returned to “Hays, America,” as a professor at Fort Hayes State College at Hayes, Kansas, and became curator of the Sternberg Museum of Natural history. He had inspired my interest in science, and after I graduated from medical school he would laughingly refer to us as “the two Dr. Howards.”
I last saw him in 2012 when this picture was taken of him standing by his photo on the wall honoring curators of the Sternberg Museum. He had just provided our admission to the museum at the visitor’s desk and patiently waited while the lady kindly thanked him for his lifetime membership and support of the museum. She then gave an overview of the museum which he knew in detail. We proceeded to the main gallery when I asked Uncle Howard to pause briefly so I could get a photo of him by his picture
Hurried footsteps raced from visitor’s desk as the clerk’s excited voice rang out, “He’s on the wall?” She was very excited to learn more about him and left both Uncle Howard and us with a priceless memory. He led us about the museum and pointed out their most prized displays including the huge fossil “fish within a fish.” He also referred to it as “death after dinner.”
We had a great time, and it turned out to be our last visit with him. He passed away on April 10, 2014, just three weeks shy of his 100th birthday. He had survived the perils of war and went on to create memories for a multide of people, and still possesses a special place in our hearts to this day.