Thomas 'Tom' Ewing Howard, age 86, of Norman, passed away on Monday, October 5, 2020. He was born in Shamrock, Oklahoma, June 16,1934, to Carl J. and Dora A. King Howard. He attended elementary and high school in Shamrock. Thomas graduated from Shamrock High School in May 1953. He then attended Oklahoma State University until he joined the United States Marine Corps with the ‘Oklahoma Buddy Company’ on January 27, 1954.
On April 30, 1954, he married Norma Whetstone in Drumright, Oklahoma. Tom served in the U.S. Marine Corps for twenty years. He advanced through the ranks from a Private to a Captain. He served his country in the Korean War. He did two tours in the Vietnam War and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service. He also served two separate tours overseas in Japan. His most rewarding tour of service was as the Marine Liaison Officer at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, caring for the wounded marines and their families during the Vietnam War.
After retiring from the Marine Corps on July 31, 1973, he attended the University of Oklahoma where he earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Business Administration.
He started his second career with the U.S. Postal Service in 1974, at the Technical Training Center in Norman, Oklahoma. In August 1985, he transferred to the U.S. Postal Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He was the Manager of the Field Programs Branch in Potomac, Maryland and Norman, Oklahoma. He retired from the Postal Service on December 31, 1989, while he and Norma were living in Burke, Virginia. They returned to Norman, Oklahoma, January 1990, to enjoy his retirement years traveling around the country by RV. Over the years, they have enjoyed many trips visiting their children and grandchildren. He really enjoyed playing golfing and going fishing.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Dora Howard; daughter, Kathryn Howard May; and brother, James D. and his wife JoAnn Howard.
He is survived by his wife, Norma Whetstone Howard; son, Thomas and his wife Julie Howard; son, Tim and his wife Jacklyn Howard; grandchildren, Jennifer and her husband Chad Cochell, Jacob Zuker, Whitney and her wife Jessica Howard, Kayla Howard, Leanna Howard, Thomas E. Howard, II, and Jon-Paul Howard; great grandchildren, Keaton and Nolan Cochell, Jackson and Wavelyn Howard; sister-in-law, Paulette Whetstone Barnes and husband Fred Barnes; many nieces; one nephew; and many great nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to either the Oklahoma Cancer Society or the Alzheimer’s Association.
THOMAS E. HOWARD
CAPTAIN, USMC (RETIRED)
In his own words written for a squadron reunion
When the Squadron broke up in 1964, I was transferred to Jacksonville, Florida to attend AE (B) School. Upon completion of school in 1965 I was assigned to the Naval Air Maintenance Training Group, Memphis, Tennessee, and subsequently reassigned to teach the electrical and electronic systems of the CH46 Helicopter at the NAMTG Detachment, Marine Corps Air Facility, Santa Ana, California.
In 1966, along with many other Staff NCOs. I was given a temporary commission as a 2ndLt. I remained with the CH46 Helicopter detachment for approximately a year before being reclassified and reassigned to the 1st Marine Division. I joined the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Hue City in early February 1968, just as the 1968 TET offensive was beginning. Needless to say, I was not happy, not impressed with the environment, and did not have a commode that flushed. By the skin on the back of my neck, which got very thin, I made it through the year and was reassigned to the Marine Barracks at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California.
During the first year at Treasure Island I was the OIC of the Separations Center, where we processed all marines returning from the Asian arena that were eligible for separation. After that, I was fortunate to be assigned to the Naval Hospital at Oakland, California as the Marine Liaison Officer. This was one of the most rewarding assignments anyone could ever imagine. There were, on the average, approximately 75 Marine amputees, 15-20 terminally ill patients, 5-10 paraplegics and approximately 50 ongoing psychiatric patients.
During March of 1971, I reverted to MSgt and was assigned to VMA 211 (an A4 Squadron), as the Avionics Chief. The Squadron was in Iwakuni, Japan at the time and, shortly after arrival was promoted to MGySgt. We spent much of that year on deployments, with the last three months back in Viet Nam at an abandoned AF Base just north of Saigon.
I spent the last year and a half of my Marine Corps Career as the Maintenance Chief of VMFAT-101, an F-4 Pilot/RIO Training Squadron stationed at the MCAS, Yuma, Arizona. While there, I was very fortunate to be able to spend several hours in the back seat of both the F-4 and the A-4 2-seat Trainer. It was a great ending to an enjoyable career in the USMC. I was very fortunate to have been able to serve with many great and long-time friends.
I retired at the end of July 1973.
After retirement, I worked for a year as the Manager of three departments within a manufacturing company, Worthington Pump Company, Shawnee, Oklahoma. I managed, simultaneously, the Warehouse, Shipping & Receiving, and Assembly departments. Unfortunately, I saw the sun come up too many mornings while actually being on the day shift! A year of that was enough.
In 1974, I went to work for the U.S. Postal Service at the Postal Training Center in Norman, Oklahoma, writing self-study prerequisite training booklets for their resident training course. I did that for approximately one-year before being promoted to Manager of that Department. The training center was located on the University of Oklahoma campus and during my assignment there I took advantage of the educational opportunities and acquired both a Bachelor and master’s degree in business administration.
In 1985, I was promoted and reassigned to U.S. Postal Service Headquarters in Washington D.C., where I managed the training organization responsible for design and development of all Craft training programs. This encompassed training for approximately 250,000 Letter Carriers, 150,000 Main Handlers, 100,000 Custodians, 35,000 Maintenance employees, etc.
I retired from the Postal Service at the end of 1989 and returned to Norman, Oklahoma where I performed contract services for the USPS over the next ten years. At the end of June 1999, I hung up my work clothes for good, bought a motor home, and a wardrobe of golfing digs. I haven’t worked a day since!