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Johnnie Doyle Howerton
Tahlequah Daily Press
Tahlequah, OK
April 4, 2012
Submitted by: Sabrina Hitchcock

Johnnie Doyle Howerton was born on Dec. 30, 1920, in Noel, Mo., to John Wesley and Cora Catherine (Oakes) Howerton, and passed away on Sunday, April 1, 2012, in Tulsa.

Services are Thursday, April 5, at 2 p.m., in the Cookson United Methodist Church in Cookson. Interment will follow in the Cookson-Proctor Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Hart Funeral Home.

Johnnie married Gwen Ellen Powers on Feb. 24, 1942, in Lanagan, Mo. To this union, four children were born. He embraced life, playing basketball and baseball throughout his high school days, hunting and fishing and watching sports. He was proud that he had an opportunity to try out for a Major League Baseball team after graduation from high school, but broke his arm the day before the try-outs and never got another chance. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and proudly served his country during World War II in the South Pacific with the First Cavalry Division, 44th Tank Battalion. He was a member of Gen. MacArthur's Flying Column that liberated 3,700 internees at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on Feb. 3, 1945. He served in New Guinea, Leyete, Luzon and the Philippines. He drove a gasoline truck to the front lines.

Johnny returned home from the Army in 1945 at the end of the war, and with the help of the GI Bill, began training as a meat cutter with the Kroger grocery company. His career was in the grocery business for over 30 years and he loved it. He was a meat cutter, a grocery store owner, a grocery store manager, and a supervisor for IGA and Fleming Foods. He retired in 1982 and launched a new career as a full-time fisherman.

He loved this second career more than the first. He enjoyed hundreds of hours of fishing the beautiful waters of Lake Tenkiller and enjoying his home at Cookson.

He was a member and served as a deacon in the Cookson United Methodist Church. He was instrumental in the development of the Tenkiller Area Community Organization, and the TACO building, the fire department, and he worked on many Cookson Jubilees for the development of the community.

He and his wife moved to Broken Arrow in 2002.

In June of 2011, Johnnie was honored by the Oklahoma Honor Flight Foundation and was treated to a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Monument. Johnnie attended the Broken Arrow Adult Day Center for four years. He loved going there and enjoyed the wonderful people and games. In September of 2011, he moved to Saint Simeons Episcopal Home in Tulsa. He loved it there because of the kind and caring staff, not to mention the good food. During his 91 years of life, Johnnie lived in Noel, Mo., Joplin, Mo., Lamar, Mo., Pryor, Fort Smith, Ark., Cookson, Broken Arrow, and Tulsa.

Johnnie was preceded in death by his wife and parents; son, Frankie Gene Howerton; daughter, Sandra Lea Ellison; brothers, Ozro, Charlie and Claudie Howerton; and sisters, Mary Louise Miller and Virginia Perkins.

He is survived by daughters, Donna Kay Short of Broken Arrow, and Steva Ann Guthrie and husband John of Alma, Ark.; grandchildren, Johnny Ellison of Cookson, Billy Ellison of Lincoln, Ark., Tris Chew of Tahlequah, Robert Short of Broken Arrow, Rian Short of Broken Arrow, Robin Wood of Van Buren, Ark., Erin Mata of Alma, Ark.; 24 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends and loved ones.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Saint Simeon's Episcopal Home, 3701 N. Cincinnati, Tulsa, Okla. 74106, or the Alzheimer's Association Oklahoma Chapter, 2448 E. 81st St., Ste. 3000, Tulsa, OK 74137.

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