Betty Louise Howell

Betty Howell, a lifetime resident of Amarillo, died Sunday, August 6, 2023.

A service will be conducted Friday, August 11, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, with arrangements made by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors.

Betty Louise Howell
Betty Louise Howell

Born January 26, 1940, to Bill and Frances Askew, Betty attended Wolflin Elementary School, Austin Junior High School, and graduated as valedictorian in the Class of 1958 at Amarillo High School.

Betty attended Amarillo Symphony concerts from the age of three to watch her mother playing violin.  She began taking piano lessons from Grace E. Hamilton at the age of seven and played violin at Wolflin and Austin and viola at Amarillo High School and Interlochen.  Her good friend Eddie Melin would say with a twinkle in his eye that the year she played viola in the Amarillo Symphony was long before musicians were paid.

Leaving music behind, Betty received a BBA, summa cum laude, at the University of Texas in Austin where she served as President of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and was a member of Alpha Beta Gamma and Beta Gamma Sigma honor societies.  Shortly before graduation in 1962 she married Joe K. Howell.  After both graduated, they returned to Amarillo to make their home and rear their two daughters, Melissa and Jennifer.  Betty and Joe designed, built, updated, and enjoyed living together in the family home on Danbury for nearly 50 years.

Betty began her work career as a file clerk for Retail Credit Union in the summer following ninth grade.  At the University of Texas she worked for Dr. Faborn Etier.  After college, she worked for her family business, Askew & Brown; for what became the Don Harrington Discovery Center; and for Harrington House, West Texas A&M University, Amarillo Area Foundation, and Amarillo College Foundation.

Many of her years were spent in volunteer leadership roles serving numerous non-profit organizations including Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Amarillo Area Foundation, Amarillo Botanical Gardens, Amarillo Little Theater, Amarillo Panhellenic, Center City, Chamber of Commerce, Children’s Learning Centers, Don Harrington Discovery Center, First Presbyterian Church, Harrington Cancer Center, Harrington House, Junior League of Amarillo, Opportunity School, Panhandle-Plains Historical Society/Museum, Preservation Amarillo, Ronald McDonald House, United Way, YMCA, and YWCO.  Among the numerous projects for the benefit of the community, perhaps her favorite was co-chairing the first Funfest in 1978 as a collaboration between the Junior League and the City of Amarillo.  More importantly, she loved working with hundreds of wonderful people through the years.

She enjoyed living, loving, working, and achieving.  Among her most cherished memories were projects with her Dad and later with her grandsons Andrew and Elliott.  In her later years she enjoyed reading, collecting, gardening, and reminiscing.

Betty is survived by her husband Joe; two daughters, Melissa Howell of Frisco and Jennifer and husband Richard McElreath of Amarillo; two grandsons, Andrew and Elliott McElreath of Amarillo; and two brothers, Robert Askew and wife Faye and John Paul Askew and wife Judith of Amarillo.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to the Askew Family Scholarship at Amarillo College, P.O. Box 447, 79178 or to a favorite charity.

16 Replies to “Betty Louise Howell”

  1. Betty was a gracious lady and friend. Thoughts and prayers for the family. Truly loved this lady. 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼

  2. Betty was my very best friend from the time I met her.
    Jimmy Fritchie and I plotted to connect Betty with Joe Howell. I was honored to be maid of honor in their wedding.
    What a model of service to the community she became.
    She was beautiful inside and out.
    With love from Jeanette Boo Miller

  3. It was My Privilege to Know Mrs. Betty Howell.
    She was a Classy Lady, Well Respected.
    My Deepest Sympathies to the Howell Family.
    Thomas Lee Musser

  4. Your mother was my lifeline when my 15 yr old son was killed in a car wreck in 1996. She helped me to set up his scholarship, kept me informed on how it was doing. She went to Randall High with me to present the first scholarship. Betty helped me with picking out the students who received the Austin Allen Scholarship. She was the shining light in my very dark and painful life. Betty never forgot about me. We stayed in contact even after she left Amarillo College until I moved away. Your mother was a very special gift to the ones around her. I will pray for y’all and sending hugs.
    Sincerely, Leeann Allen Burnam

  5. Jennifer & family,
    I was in town when you sent R the news and walked over to the house to hug you! Know you are in my thoughts! I’m praying for sweet memories to warm you & peace to surround you as you grieve. A couple of years ago I was in town working on a painting instillation and went walking the old hood in the mornings. I ran into your mom in front of your house. She was as poised and energetic as always & she shared her wisdom on some things I was working through. I love how she was honorable to your dad and spoke so favorably about you and your family! She was a gentle mentor to me while also being a power house of a lady.
    One of my favorite memories- the 1st time I spent the night & she came in to find us roller-skating in the kitchen. She calm and matter of factly told you to get off the counter with your skates on.
    I thought, this woman can keep her cool!

  6. I knew Mrs. Betty Howell from the 1988 AISD Scholars Program where I was one of the teachers. Mrs. Howell was our expert on the history of the houses and buildings along Polk Street. I still remember her jumping on the bus with a smile and infectious energy as she talked for over an hour and a half about each and every house and building along Polk Street. There was no better ambassador for the city of Amarillo. Her love for the city and her desire to give back is something I have never forgotten. For the next 25 years, I took my classes at Caprock on bike tours of Polk Street using much of the information I learned from Mrs. Howell.
    Thank you for loving kids and loving Amarillo. You have left a meaningful legacy for all of us!

  7. Betty will always be one of the sharpest, funniest, most beautiful women we’ve known. She gave tirelessly to her community and always took the high road. Praying for her family.
    Love you to all,
    Mike & Kristy Wilkerson & Family

  8. Betty was an accomplished lady that gave so much to those around her. She was a blessing to all of us. I celebrate her life. We ask for God’s peace for Joe and her family.
    Dan Thompson

  9. Betty and husband Joe have been friends of mine for 50 years. Betty’s energy, organizational skills and love for her family and community were something to behold. Hers was a “life well lived”. She was truly one of a kind. Rest in peace, Betty.

  10. I served on several non-profit Boards with Betty. She was always knowledgeable, considerate and pleasant to work with. She will certainly be missed. May God comfort and strengthen the family as you celebrate her life.

  11. Betty’s fingerprints are all over Amarillo. All she accomplished was not for her own gratification, but for the good of the organization and our city. She was a generous and tireless donor of her time, talent and energy. I am so very grateful to have watched her, learned from her and been a beneficiary of her countless gifts of service to our community. I have no doubt when she arrived in heaven she started looking for things she could do to help out.

    1. Carol, your remarks are true to Betty as I knew her. Through the Amarillo Junior League, she directed me to fund the shelter for victims of domestic violence. She was smart, knowledgeable, and ready to improve Amarillo. I was blessed to know her. Lynn White

  12. Dear Howell family (especially Jennifer): Betty Howell was beautiful and such a gift to so many people. Growing up with Jennifer, I always admired her and her commitment to her wonderful family and to Amarillo. Praying for each and every one of you.

  13. Love all of you so much! She was a great lady and one of kind! Her generosity and friendship was unparalleled to my family. Prayers of comfort and peace!

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