Gary Gene Howell, 87, of Mason City, IA, passed away on June 16, 2023. A memorial service to celebrate Gary's life will be held on Saturday, July 22nd, at 11:00 am, at First Presbyterian Church in Mason City. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Humane Society of North Iowa, First Presbyterian Church, and Iowa Natural Heritage Society.
Gary was born on April 23, 1936, in Winterset, Iowa, to Lola and Aaron Howell. He was raised on a farm near Winterset, where he developed an affection for agriculture. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Business from Iowa State University. While at Iowa State, he served in the Army ROTC – Reserve Officer Training Core.
After completing his ROTC commitment, he began a 45-year career with Farm Credit Services of America. The first 7 years of his career were spent in Iowa City and DeWitt, Iowa. He moved to Mason City in 1965 where he raised his family and worked for Farm Credit until his retirement in 2004. During this time, he immersed himself in the Mason City community. He was active in his church and volunteered in numerous organizations including the Rotary Club, YMCA, Humane Society of North Iowa, Music Man Square, and the Mason City School board. While maintaining a busy work and community schedule he remained a devoted family man. Gary continued to work part-time after retirement for Fred Greder at Benchmark Agribusiness.
He had many hobbies including traveling to Europe, taking care of numerous pets and visiting grandchildren. He was a talented musician, playing the accordion and in the church bell choir. Gary played the clarinet his entire life. He loved playing in the Mason City New Horizons Band. Previously he played in the Mason City Municipal Band and the NIACC band. With his love for agriculture, he acquired land east of Mason City and farmed it for many years. Gary had a strong interest in land preservation and protecting the environment. He and his wife Deborah are donating a portion of their farm to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.
Gary is survived by his loving wife, Deborah Howell, and his three sons, David Howell, Dean Howell (Janice), and Mark Howell (Lori). He was also a proud grandfather to Emily (Michael), Caroline (Steve), Megan (Sree), Wesley, Madeleine, Erick, Macy, Molly, and Riley, and great-grandfather to Patrick and Colin. Gary is also survived by his brother, Duane Howell (Dorothy), and sister, Karen Van Essen and his sister-in-law, Nancy and numerous nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lola and Aaron Howell, and his brother, Walter.