Wood, glass crafter was drawn to animals in the wild and in art
Clifford Howard loved to make and collect items fashioned from wood, and then give them away.
“He made carvings of different waterfowl, and he gave a lot of them to his friends,” said his daughter, Sharon Johnson. “I have a lot of his carved ducks.”
In his home wood shop, “he made all kinds of fancy trivets with a scroll saw and winter scenes with trees and snow,” she said.
Stained glass was another material he shaped, crafting decorative sun catchers and birdhouses. “He made me a really ornate birdhouse that lights up,” his daughter said. “He was a heck of a guy. There was nothing he couldn’t do.”
Clifford N. Howard of Greensburg, formerly of Jeannette, died Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at his home in the Redstone Highlands senior living community. He was 92.
Born Oct. 7, 1926, in Jeannette, he was a son of the late Norman L. and Hazel Garver Howard.
After graduating from Jeannette High School in 1944, Mr. Howard enlisted in the Air Force in 1945. Serving during the final year of World War II, he was trained as a photographer while stationed in Colorado. “He still had photos of Pikes Peak and different areas,” which were donated to a Denver library, Johnson said.
Before his retirement a few decades ago, Mr. Howard was vice president of Howard Gasoline and Oil Co. of Harrison City, a family enterprise dating to 1923 that he co-owned with his late brother, Eugene. Other local companies Mr. Howard had a hand in included Shur Hit Archery Co. and Jeannette Mirror Works, which made and hung mirrors, his daughter said.
He was known to share helpful advice with other businessmen and was a member of the Jeannette Masonic Lodge and the Jeannette Rotary, from which he received the Paul Harris Award for charitable contributions. “He gave a lot of money to charities and helped a lot of people,” his daughter said.
He was a member of First Presbyterian Church congregations, in Jeannette and later in Greensburg.
Mr. Howard enjoyed fishing and hunting and was treasurer of the Forbes Trail Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. He served on the board of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association from 1995 to 1999, when the organization was involved in mine reclamation projects near Saint Vincent College and at Powdermill Nature Reserve.
Through the years, he purchased wildlife-themed carvings and bronze sculptures, many of them at the watershed association’s annual art auction benefit. He and Grace, his late wife of 63 years, recently donated more than 40 of the art pieces back to the association, which displays them in a restored barn at its Ligonier Township headquarters.
“They were very supportive of the watershed and our mission,” said association Executive Director Susan Huba. “They got to come see that last gift they made back to us.”
Mr. Howard took his scroll saw with him when he and his wife moved to an apartment at Redstone Highlands in Greensburg. “He made door signs for almost everybody there,” his daughter said. When his wife was no longer able, he learned to make pizzelles and distributed those to neighbors, as well.
“They’re going to really miss him there,” she said.
In addition to his parents, wife and brother, Mr. Howard was preceded in death by a sister, Shirley Howard, and a great-granddaughter, Riley Howard.
He is survived by two children, Thomas C. Howard of Export and Saron L. Johnson of Greensburg; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Kepple-Graft Funeral Home, 524 N. Main St., Greensburg.
Memorial donations may be made to Loyalhanna Watershed Association, 6 Old Lincoln Highway West, Ligonier, PA 15658.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .