Henry “Harry” duBignon Howard died on July 12, 2021 in Savannah at Azalealand Nursing Home.
He was the son of May duBignon Stiles Howard and Lee Howard, M.D. and was born in Savannah, GA, on April 28, 1930. He was a member of the Catholic faith. He graduated from Savannah High School in 1948 where he was a captain of the boxing team that won the State Championship. He graduated from Duke University in 1954 where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. He was a loyal follower of Duke athletics, particularly basketball. For 35 consecutive years, he and his wife, a UNC graduate, hosted a small enthusiastic party for the Duke – Carolina basketball game. Following college he served for four years as an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps. His service in the Marine Corps had a life-long meaningful impact on him. He lived up to the slogan, “Once a Marine Always a Marine.”
He married Louise Manning Milliken of Southern Pines, NC on October 8, 1955. After Harry’s completion of his tour of duty in the Marine Corps, they moved to Savannah in 1958. Beginning in 1959, Harry spent many decades in real estate sales, management, and land development with his partners and friends, Troy Bouy and Bill Hall as Bouy, Hall and Howard Enterprises. In the 1970’s he served for two years as the first President of the Savannah Chapter of the Georgia Hospitality Association and later as Chairman of the Savannah Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.
He was a member of the Ardsley Park Garden Club, The Oglethorpe Club, the Cotillion Club, and the Savannah Yacht Club where he enjoyed playing tennis for many decades and served for several years as Chairman of its Tennis Committee. He always expressed fond memories of Sunday afternoons with his wife playing doubles tennis with the Maners and the Buchmans. He was a charter member of L’Alliance Francaise and was a past member of the Order of Descendants of Pirates and Privateers through his ancestor Christophe Poulain duBignon, a minor French nobleman, who was a privateer under the authority of the king of France at the time of the American Revolution. Harry began bird hunting with his father at the age of six and enjoyed hunting all his life. He shared the presidency of the Chatham Dove Club with his good friend Bobby Howell for many years. In 1978 Harry was the fourth group of American dove hunters permitted to enter Cuba after Fidel Castro came to power around 1957.
Harry’s passion was establishing rose gardens for the public to enjoy. He planted gardens at May Howard School in honor of his mother, May Stiles Howard, the Fragrant Garden for the Blind, the Islands YMCA, St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, and Grace Presbyterian Church. In addition, he helped many friends establish and/or maintain their rose gardens. He was a Master Gardener and a Consulting Rosarian. He contributed dramatically to the growth and beautification of the Savannah Botanical Gardens, especially the Anne White Memorial Rose Garden, and served as President of the Savannah Rose Society for two separate terms. In 2018 he received the beautiful Club Horticulture Commendation under the auspices of The Garden Club of America, “With appreciation for his contributions to Trustees’ Garden Club and the City of Savannah and for sharing his expertise and love of roses with many.”
He is pre-deceased by his parents, his three brothers and their wives: John Couper Howard, M.D. (Dorothy West), Henry Lee Howard, M.D. (Julia Booker), Robert Mackay Howard, M.D. (Margaret Braun), and his sister, May duBignon Howard Zipperer (Alexander Lawton Zipperer).
He is survived by Louise, his wife of 65 years, and his children: Henry “Harry” duBignon Howard, Jr. (Rosa Roldan Solis Howard) of New Orleans, LA, Louise Milliken Howard Williamson (Charles Alexander Williamson) of Richmond VA, and Sue Ann Howard Tanko (Timothy James Tanko) of Brighton, MI, and his grandchildren: Charles Hamilton Williamson, Shepard Louise Williamson, Henry Bolling Williamson, Cameron Milliken Tanko, and Couper Frances duBignon Tanko. He is also survived by numerous much-loved nieces, nephews, great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
His family would like to give special thanks and recognition to Azalealand Nursing Home for its kind and compassionate care of Harry. We want to especially recognize Leigh, Mary Ellen, Rose, Lou, Pierre, Debbie, and Rheta along with the many other caregivers who gave special attention and love to Harry and to his wife.
Contributions may be made in his memory to the Savannah Botanical Gardens – 1388 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah, Georgia 31405 or to a selection of one’s choice.
A graveside service will be held in the Greenwich section of Bonaventure Cemetery on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 11 o’clock with the Reverend Patrick S. O’Brien officiating. A celebration of Harry’s life will follow the service at the Savannah Yacht Club.
Direct eye contact, loving words, and a warm smile are as meaningful to the family as a traditional handshake or hug.