Family and friends are invited to say goodbye to (and celebrate the life of) James Mendel Howard, of Sharon Grove, who died early Saturday morning at his home. He was 77.
Services will be Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Latham Funeral Home, with interment to follow at Glenwood Cemetery. Visitation will be Tuesday night from 5-8 at the funeral home and one hour before the service Wednesday.
Mendel was born in Leitchfield, Ky., on Jan. 2, 1941, the first child of Stanley and Lorene Howard. He graduated from Elkton High School in 1959 and first attended the University of Kentucky, where he met his wife of 54 years, Geri Wink. He graduated from Western Kentucky State College in 1964 with a degree in dairy science. As an agriculture events coordinator at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, he was a lead organizer for the National Farm Machinery Show, now in its 50th year. That interest led to his becoming a regional sales representative for Sperry New Holland.
Even though those jobs took him all over the country, Mendel was happiest when he was driving a tractor - preferably one that started with a key rather than one that rolled down a hill and needed its clutched popped. He was a farmer first and a farmer last. He showed Jerseys as a youth and passed along his respect for livestock to his children.
He owned his own cask of Maker’s Mark bourbon, and was a connoisseur of fruitcake, Moon Pies and ice cream. Among his talents: conversation with strangers and a machine-like precision in placing Christmas lights.
He is survived by his wife Geri and their three children, Dr. Leigh Anne Howard of Evansville, Ind.; Todd Howard of Sharon Grove and his wife Anilia, Laura Tutor of Anniston, Ala., and her husband Phillip; grandchildren, Nicholas Tutor of Sharon Grove and Victoria Tutor of Anniston; and his brother, Sheril Howard of Elkton. He was preceded in death by his sister, LoVella Overbey.