James “Jim” Marion Howell died on October 5, 2017 at the age of 82 in his Christiansburg home after suffering a stroke on July 7.
Jim, known as “Sonny” to family and long-time friends, was a devoted husband, father, church-goer, lover of golf, cars and travel, and a real-life rocket scientist. He had a keen sense of humor, warm smile, was a great storyteller and could solve a New York Times crossword puzzle faster than anyone!
Jim was born on April 2, 1935 and raised in Radford, Virginia to James and Janie (McCraw) Howell. He is preceded in death by his parents and his devoted wife, Joy Howell. He is survived by his son, James “Trey” Howell, of Christiansburg and three step-daughters and two grandchildren he loved and cared for as his own, Caryn Krumwiede and her husband Scott Bowers of Altamonte Springs, Florida, Dawn (Krumwiede) Wiese and her husband Larry of Lexington, Virginia and Cheryl (Krumwiede) Schumacher of New Smyrna Beach, Florida and grandchildren, Jillian in Lexington and Fisher “Fish,” in New Smyrna Beach. He is also survived by his sister Wanda (Howell) Garrison, nieces Lynn Garrison of Eggleston, and her daughter Maria, and Lisa (Garrison) Toti and her husband, Dan, of Salem and their children Daniel and Leah as well as his brother Allen Howell and wife Barbara of St. Augustine, FL, his nephews Allen, in Tennessee, and Scott and Lisa, in Georgia, and their children Candra, Cameron and Lindsey. He is also survived by his first wife, Trey’s Mom, Lyn Howell, of Jupiter, Florida with whom he retained contact and friendship.
Jim graduated from Radford High School and the University of Virginia with a degree in engineering. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and a veteran of the U.S. Navy and U.S Army Reserves. He had a remarkable career in the aerospace industry working from coast-to-coast from Provo, Utah to Los Angeles, California, to Washington, DC before returning home and finishing his career at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, then operated by Hercules. He was involved in projects ranging from the first Mars Lander Project to the development of the current U.S. Department of Energy to the explosive that is used today in automotive airbags.
Jim lived a full life and enjoyed golf with his buddies, travel with his wife and children, bridge with couples all over the New River Valley and was an active member St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Christiansburg. During the July 4th holiday, prior to his stroke, he played golf with his friends, boated with his family and watched fireworks at Smith Mountain Lake. While he will be sorely missed, we’re comforted knowing he’s with his parents and his beautiful bride in heaven.
The family wishes to thank everyone who has been such a support to us. We want to particularly thank his care team from Passionately Devoted Health Care Services of Roanoke. Their support to him and to the family cannot be underestimated.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may directed in his honor to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Christiansburg, New River Valley Carilion Hospice and Brandon Oaks Rehabilitation Center in Roanoke.
The family received visitors at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on Monday, October 9 followed by a memorial service at St. Paul’s. Any flowers may be sent directly to St. Paul’s. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.