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The Rev. Howard William Washburn, 89

February 24, 2012

The Rev. Howard William Washburn, 89, of St. Marys, died on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at Lima Memorial Health System.

Howard was born on Oct. 27, 1922, in Hackensack, N.J., to Adlagunda Bellm and Russell LeRoy Washburn Sr., and he was raised by his grandparents, John and Christina Bellm.

He was an all-state first baseman at Hackensack High School in 1941 and received a try-out with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thoughts of professional baseball were interrupted by Pearl Harbor and the onset of World War II. Howard enlisted in the Army, serving in the South Pacific Theater, including New Guinea and Leyte. He was present when Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed on the beach at Tacloban, freeing the Philippines.

After the war, Howard attended college on the G.I. Bill at Drew University in Madison, N.J., and Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. While in college in Iowa, Howard served as a Methodist supply minister to two small churches in Iowa. After undergraduate school he was assigned as pastor of the Methodist church in Brighton, Iowa, while he began seminary at the Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University. He transferred to a Methodist church in Jersey City, N.J., completing his divinity degree at Drew University, graduating summa cum laude and becoming ordained as an Elder in the Methodist church.

Howard became interested in and widely known for the Methodist Church’s ministry to older persons. He served as an administrator of Methodist Homes in Texas, New Jersey and California, and on the National Board of the Methodist Church in charge of homes for the aged. For the last 26 years, Howard had served as an administrative and special adviser to the president-CEO of Otterbein Homes in Ohio. Howard was a founder of Leading Age, the national organization of the not-for-profit services to the aging, receiving its highest award for service in 2001 and was a special honoree at Leading Age’s 50th Annual Meeting in 2011. He received Otterbein’s Outstanding Service to the Elderly award in 2001 and the United Methodist Association’s prestigious Olen Oeschger Memorial Award in 2004, among many other awards. Howard was a leader and a mentor to many of the nation’s caregivers to the elderly throughout his ministry.

Howard is survived by his wife, Barbara; two sons, John (Denni) Washburn and Jim (Chris) Washburn; four stepchildren, Brian (Leanne) Jewett, Andy (Suzie) Jewett, Karen (Skip Lindo) Jewett and Glen (Wanda) Jewett; grandchildren; and great grandchildren; a cousin, Elaine Anderson, and a daughter-in-law Sherrie Vissotski.

He was preceded in death by his son, Mark Washburn; his brother, Russell LeRoy Washburn Jr.; his sister, Beatrice Washburn Miller.

The memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Myer Community Room at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Community, St. Marys. The Rev. George Campbell and the Rev. William McOmber will officiate. Burial of cremated remains will be in Otterbein Cemetery, Lebanon.

 In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Otterbein St. Marys Lifestyle Community, Benevolent Fund, 11230 State Rt. 364, St. Marys, Ohio 45885.

The family will receive friends one hour before services in the Myer Community Room.

Arrangements are by Bayliff and Son Funeral Home, Cridersville. 

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