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.
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.