Retired Navy Lieutenant Commander John Alexander Howard died at Carolinas Medical Center Northeast on Monday night following a brief illness.
The son of Henry Sylvester Howard and Jessie Combs Winecoff Howard, John was a standout basketball player at Odell High School and attended Appalachian State University on an athletic scholarship. Following graduation, he served a full career as a Naval aviator, where his tall, slim frame brought him the call sign “Spider,” also his longtime nickname on the basketball court. During the Vietnam War, he flew from aircraft carriers to conduct numerous missions over North and South Vietnam, and spent a year as a forward air controller with the Mobile Riverine Force.
Following his retirement from the Navy, John returned to his hometown of Concord, North Carolina, where he raised a family and was a member of Forest Hill United Methodist Church.
A widower, he was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, the former India Ann McLendon, in 2004.
He is survived by his four children, Patrick Howard, Paul Howard, Katie Little, and Heather Howard; ten grandchildren, Mary Katharine Moore, Lauren Howard, Morgan Howard, Amelia Howard, Stephanie Howard, Kendra Scott, Ian Howard, Robin Howard, Jeremy Thomason and Ashley Thomason; and six great grandchildren, Reed Brittingham, Luca Scott, Bucky Phelps, Jenna Davis, Colton Martin, and Joseph Plettenberg, Jr.
The family will receive friends on Friday, November 30, from 6:00 until 7:00, Service at 7 with Military honors at Hartsell Funeral Home, 460 Branchview Drive, NE.
Hartsell Funeral Home of Concord is serving the Howard family.
Online condolences may be made at www.hartsellfh.com