Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Howard departed this life on August 14th, 2021. Known as "Miss Pinky," she was born in Charlotte, NC to the late Alma Grier and the late Roy Wheeler on June 9th, 1931.
On June 7th, 1952, she met and married the late Charles Lee Howard. From this union they had seven children - Gwendolyn (Gwen), Evelyn, Charlie, Carl, Patricia (Pat), Calvin (Reggie) and Christopher (Chris).
While living in Charlotte, she was employed at Johnson C. Smith College where she worked in housekeeping. In 1960 she and Charles moved to Philadelphia to continue their life together. She remained in the home caring for her children and as they grew in age she worked as a waitress at a local diner. She returned to school later in life to obtain her certification as a geriatric home health aide where she worked for many years. She loved her work and her clients were like family. She worked with passion and care, always attentively providing for clients as she did with everyone in her life.
She was a devoted and loving mother and if you knew her you would know that her children were her life. She served as Den Mother of her son's Cub Scout Group. She was affectionately known as Aunt Pinky to her children’s friends and neighbors. Having seven children caused her home to be a hub for other children in the community. Visitors always felt welcomed and were greeted with a smile and a kind word.
Mary knew the Lord from a young age. When seeking a church home she found and became a member of Mizpah Seventh Day Adventist Church. She was baptized at Mizpah on June 23rd, 1979 reaffirming her commitment to the Lord and his calling on her life. She remained very active in the church for many years in several roles and capacities. She was a Sabbath School teacher in her early years, an usher and then Head Usher. She also served as a Deaconess and Community Service (Outreach) Member. Her commitment and loyalty to the church was demonstrated in all that she did in service and her relationships with her church family. Mizpah was her heart and soul. When life circumstances brought about change and she was no longer able to attend in person, she would talk about her friends at Mizpah so affectionately. She looked forward to receiving her Sabbath School books and talking to different members when they called. She was always with Mizpah in spirit, even though she was unable to be there in person. Mary loved God and demonstrated His work in her daily life. She encouraged others in the word and prayed faithfully for their comfort and peace. She was a committed soldier for our Lord.
By the grace of God, she was recently able to celebrate her 90th birthday with family and friends. It was a wonderful time, an excellent final memory for her family and one of the happiest days of her life!
Mary is the last of her generation. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles, and her son Charlie Lee Howard. She is survived by her children Gwendolyn McNeil, Mary Evelyn Curtis (David), Carl Howard (Natalie), Patricia Robinson (Jackie), Calvin "Reggie" Howard and Christopher Howard (Sonya), 25 grandchildren, 39 great grandchildren, one great great granddaughter, goddaughter Tonya Robinson, numerous beloved nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
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