It is with a sense of loss that the Ministries and Faith Development staff group informs you of the death of the Reverend Dr. Charles A. Howe. He died on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. Rev. Howe was 88 years old.
Rev. Howe was born on May 4, 1922, in Utica, NY, to Raymond Miller Howe and Ethel Louise Williams. He attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, earning his AB in chemistry in 1943. He enlisted in the US Marine Corp and served for three years in the Pacific Theater during WWII. After the war he returned to UNC earning his MA in 1949 and his PhD in 1951, both in chemistry.
He worked for Merck & Co for five years where he developed techniques to synthesize riboflavin, earning several patents for his work. He left Merck to teach, joining the faculty of Clarkson College in Potsdam, NY. While in Potsdam, Rev. Howe and his family became active members of the Universalist Church in Canton, NY. During his time there, he served as church school teacher, worship leader, and moderator. As his commitment to the church grew during those years, he sought a more active role for himself by pursuing the ministry. He attended Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary, earning his BDiv in 1966. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 1996.
After graduation, he was called to the First Unitarian Church of Austin, TX, and ordained there in 1966. He was subsequently called to the First Universalist Church of Syracuse, NY; the Wilmington UU Fellowship, Wilmington, NC; and the UU Church of Kinston, NC. He was named minister emeritus by the Wilmington, NC, congregation. He served several additional churches as Interim Minister: the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in Charlottesville, VA; the Fourth Universalist Society in New York City; and the UU Fellowship in Gainesville, FL. After his retirement, he was a member of the Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU, in Chapel Hill, NC, and the UU Fellowship of Raleigh, NC.
He was a member of the Commission on Appraisal from 1989 – 95 and of the UU Historical Society. For the Society, he wrote numerous articles for the Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography. He also wrote The Larger Faith: A Short History of American Universalism; For Faith and Freedom: A Short History of Unitarianism in Europe; and The Essential Clarence Skinner: A Brief Introduction to His Life and Writings, all published by Skinner House. Rev. Howe was active with People of Faith Against the Death Penalty and was a lifelong advocate for social justice.
Rev. Howe is survived by his wife, Ann Clark Howe; his children, Judith Louise Howe (Robert Harangozo,) Marjorie Ann Howe Chenery (Peter Chenery,) David Darrow Howe; and his grandchildren, Patricia Elizabeth Chenery, Sarah Watters Howe, Nora Isabel Howe, and Caroline Howe Harangozo, as well as several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of the life of Rev. Howe took place at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Please send messages of condolence to Ann Howe, 1811 Park Drive, Raleigh, NC 27605-1612.