Berta Howell

Honored by:Fred Hallman
Brick location:E:15  map

Born: August 1891 Died: October 1992

Berta Howell affectionately known to her family as Mamaw was born in Jasper, Alabama and moved to Texas when she was a girl. She spent the rest of her life there marrying George Will Howell and raising three daughters; Thalia, Norda and Leah and one son George Will Howell Jr.

 During her 101 years on this earth she was blessed to receive from her children six grandchildren seven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren in addition to a wealth of anecdotes that she willingly shared. Mamaw despite the indignities of age remained vivacious, witty and dignified.

She was always willing to tell tales of her childhood and early married life. Wondrous tales of travel on buckboard wagons of cooking on a wood-fired stove (how she could get those biscuits to come out so flaky was truly amazing) and of how people entertained themselves before radio and television. Mamaw's lifetime spanned cars airplanes and men walking on the moon. It also spanned radio and television to see those moonwalks. With the grace, humor and above all the dignity she revealed to everyone that met her throughout her life she set an example of unconditional love for her daughters granddaughters and great-granddaughters . . . indeed for everyone.

An example of how she was able to touch people's hearts is this poem that was read by her son-in-law at her 100th birthday celebration:


There is a comforting thought at the end of each day when I'm tired lonely and sometimes sad. It sorta grabs hold of my crusty old heart suggesting that it be merry and glad. It gets in my soul and drives out the blues and finally thrills thru and thru. It's just the sweet memory that chants the refrain: I'm glad I touched shoulders with you. I'm glad that I live to battle and strive for the place I know I must fill. I'm glad for the sorrows I bear with a grin; for what fortunes may bring good or ill. I may never be wealthy and I may never be great but always honest loyal and true. I feel a little stronger and a little better just because I touched shoulders with you.