Mary-Em T. Howard - 1/8/18 - 8/23/13
A Legacy of Volunteerism
Mary-Em Teresa Hardie Howard of La Mesa, a "little redhead abounding with energy" had an effervescent personality. She leaves a legacy and calling to others for volunteerism and she certainly set the example in this herself. One of her greatest joys was cuddling premature babies at Mercy Scripps Hospital - she looked forward to donning her pink uniform
and going each week to hold the infants…which she did until she was 85 years old and volunteered over 30 years and 7000 lifetime hours to Mercy Scripps Hospital. Mary-Em began volunteering as a young wife and mother as a "Gray Lady" in the military hospitals.
Mary-Em received the Pope Pius X Medal for teaching 30 years in the Catholic Church School of Religion (CCD program) and she taught in each country or state in which she lived. Even though she has lived in La Mesa since 1964, prior to that, she traveled and lived around the world. A little girl born in Norman, Oklahoma in 1918 to Ralph and Teresa Hardie, she accompanied her family to San Diego in 1927, grew up in Pacific Beach and graduated from La Jolla High School as a life member in California Scholarship Federation. She was selected to be one of seven students to represent the Junior Red Cross in Washington D.C.. She continued on to graduate from UCLA with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1939 and then earned her Teacher's Credential at San Diego State College
She married Robert C. Howard (Bob) an Army officer in 1941 and started a family. The family grew as they moved around the world, living in Turkey, Japan and many states within the U.S. While living in Turkey with her husband as deputy attaché, she and the family traveled throughout Europe, Asia and to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre within the walled Old City of Jerusalem.
In 1990, Mary-Em received the honor of Woman of Dedication presented by the Salvation Army, Women's Auxiliary, Door of Hope. She shared this honor with her mother, Teresa A. Hardie, who was one of the people who influenced her so much in life. Mary-Em gave her time and exuberant energy to each group over the years. She was co-founder of the Newman Club at San Diego State College, past president of the Social Service Auxiliary, life member and past President of Mercy Hospital Auxiliary (1993 Volunteer of the Year), life member of the La Mesa Historical Society, San Diego Historical Society and La Jolla Historical Society, life member and past Vice-President of La Mesa Beautiful, life member and past Vice President of University of San Diego Auxiliary, a 67 year member and past Vice President of Chapter FW P.E.O, member of Phi Kappa
Gamma sorority which became Alpha Phi, Corporate Board member of Alpha Phi Sorority (recipient of their Ursa Major Award recognizing community service), member of the Missionaires, life and charter member of Friends of Nazareth in support of the Sisters of Nazareth. She truly exemplified the philanthropic spirit.
As someone who enjoyed the spotlight, Mary-Em appeared on television in "Yours for a Song" with Bert Parks which taped in New York City and again with her family on "Family Feud" with Richard Dawson which taped in Los Angeles and where they won the grand prize.
Mary-Em and her late husband, Colonel Robert C. Howard, met at a Men's and Women's Glee Club skating party when they attended UCLA together. They were married on October 12, 1941. Together they sang in the choir at St. John of the Cross Church and were choir members and docents at San Diego Mission de Alcala, were Knight and Lady of the Holy Sepulchre,
and members of the Salvation Army Auxiliary. Both Mary-Em and Bob were dedicated to planting trees for their beauty to the community and for their love of nature. They attended numerous Mercy Balls where they would dance so gracefully together.
She continued to be actively involved in many San Diego organizations until her health diminished in the last few years. Her family is thankful to her dear friends from these various groups who have been by her side and visited her.
With all of her accomplishments, Mary-Em always said that she was most proud of her husband and their six children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her husband, Bob, preceded her in death. She is survived by her loving and devoted family, her brother John D. Hardie; her children John Robert Howard, Sister Mary Peace Howard, Don Howard and
wife Debbie, Mark Christopher Howard, Kathleen Thompson, Terri Mannes and husband John; nine grandchildren, five great grandchildren and delightful nieces and nephews.
Her funeral Mass will be held Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 10:00 am at the San Diego Mission de Alcala with a reception to follow in the La Salla room, 10818 San Diego Mission Rd. Internment will follow at 2:00 pm at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. A rosary will be held at Merkley-Mitchell Mortuary, 3655 Fifth Ave., the preceding evening, Wednesday, September 11, at 7:00 pm with visitation from 5:00 - 8:00 pm. www.merkleymitchell.com
If you choose and in keeping with Mary-Em's philanthropic nature, donations may be made to the Carmelite Monastery, 5158 Hawley Bl, San Diego, CA 92116; or Nazareth House, 6333 Rancho Mission Rd, San Diego, CA 92108; or Windridge Solitude, 1932 West Linda Lane, Lonedell, MO 63060.