03/10/08 — Former Duplin commissioner, Pleasant Grove chief dies

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Former Duplin commissioner, Pleasant Grove chief dies

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 10, 2008 1:49 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Former Duplin County Commissioner Larry Howard of the White Flash community of Duplin County died Sunday at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

His wife of 42 years, Janet, said Howard passed peacefully around midnight Saturday. He went to the hospital Friday night.

Howard, 61, suffered from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The disorder attacked Howard's neuromuscular system, leaving him unable to move his hands and arms for a long time, Mrs. Howard said.

Howard had been ill for about two years, his wife said. Active for most of his life, the consequences of his illness were difficult for him to take, she added.

"He was ready, as active as he had been," she said.

Howard worked more than 34 years for Carolina Telephone until his retirement in 2000.

But retirement didn't slow him down.

Howard was used to a vigorous life. He served eight years on the Duplin County Board of Commis-sioners, part of that time serving as chairman. He was a past master in the St. John's Masonic Lodge in Kenansvillle.

At one time, Howard worked full time at the telephone company, served as fire chief with the Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Department he started more than 30 years ago and sat on the Board of County Commissioners.

Howard was happiest with a full plate, said Fred Rouse, who took over as fire chief when Howard retired from Pleasant Grove.

"He was missed when he was sick, and he will be missed more now," Rouse said. "He taught me a lot, got me on the right track to take over as the new chief when he left."

During his tenure with the fire department, Howard helped get emergency medical services started in the county.

In addition to his wife, Howard leaves behind two sons, Jeffrey Scott Howard and his wife, Stephanie, and Patrick Scott Howard.

Funeral will be 2 p.m. Tuesday at Tyndall Funeral Home, with Bishop Hugh Harper, Bishop Joseph Scott and the Rev. Linda Grider officiating. Entombment will follow in Devotional Gardens at Warsaw and will include Masonic rites.

The family will receive friends tonight from 7 until 9 p.m., and at other times at the home.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to The ALS Foundation, Jim "Catfish" Hunter Chapter, 120-101 Penmarc Drive, Raleigh, N.C. 27603, or to the Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Department and E.M.S., 1794 Red Hill Road, Mount Olive, N.C. 28365.