The McCreary County Record


October 29, 2009

Dr. Jerry F. Howell, Jr., 68

Dr. Jerry F. Howell, Jr., 68, of Whitaker Street, Morehead, Kentucky, Professor Emeritus of Biology and founder of Morehead State University’s environmental science program, passed away Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

He was born October 18, 1941, in McDowell, Kentucky, and was the only child of the late Jerry F. Howell, Sr., and Buena Ramsey Howell.

Jerry is the husband of Lois Taylor Howell, also a retired MSU faculty member, whom he wed August 25, 1963. He is also lovingly remembered by several Howell cousins, Taylor family members, and a multitude of friends and colleagues.

Dr. Howell graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. However, the students of McDowell High School in Floyd County “adopted” Jerry as a member of their class.

For many years he has attended the Class of 1958 reunions.

Dr. Howell received an undergraduate degree from Eastern Kentucky University and graduate degrees in forestry and land management from North Carolina State University. He earned the PhD. in Ichthyology from the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Howell came to MSU in 1972 as director of the environmental education center. Under his leadership, environmental science became one of the most popular undergraduate degrees at the University. He later served as chair of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, started the MSU Water Testing Laboratory, and helped introduce environmental education into the statewide public school curriculum in Kentucky. Dr. Howell was among the organizers of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education (KAEE) and also held leadership roles in numerous professional organizations. He retired from MSU in 1997 after 25 years of full-time service.

For several years, Dr. Howell wrote a newspaper column on environmental issues, entitled “Our Fragile Earth,” which was syndicated to newspapers and other publications in East Kentucky and beyond. He also raised money for several community and charitable causes and with his father co-founded a scholarship endowment to help students in Appalachia attend college. That endowment is now managed by the Christian Appalachian Project.

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