No announcement yet.


No announcement yet.

WWII Vet, Teacher, Civil War re-enactor Harry B. Howe dies

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • WWII Vet, Teacher, Civil War re-enactor Harry B. Howe dies

    Below is his obit from Newsday, but I can tell you that this man didn't even start reenacting until he was in his late 60s and into his late 80s he could still outrun any teenager on the drill field.

    He'd also be the first one to turn out for drill in his accouterments and NOTHING else. He had some great stories about his time serving under Patton and was always the first to engage the public as an educator and historian.

    Harry is the ONLY person I knew who had actually met a Civil War veteran. He actually held a Civil War veterans hand when Harry was a Boy Scout during a memorial day parade.

    I'm so very sad to hear about his loss. He was a true hero and mentor to so many of us in this hobby.

    Harry B. Howe never met a role he didn't like.

    From the plays in which he performed as a high-school teacher to Santa Claus to a Union Civil War soldier, the longtime Valley Stream resident always was ready to jump into character.

    "He was a show-off," said Howe's son Jonathan of North Babylon. "He liked to play characters and he was a character, too."

    Howe died in his sleep Wednesday at his Valley Stream home, his son said. He was 96 and had lived for 70 years in Valley Stream.

    Howe participated in Company H, 119th New York Volunteer Infantry Historical Association, a Civil War re-enactment organization based at Old Bethpage Village Restoration.

    His friends from the re-enactors' group said Howe was a grandfatherly figure. "He was well into his 80s and he'd be on a Civil War hike, wearing a backpack in Virginia heat and marching with men much younger than him," said Jim McKenna, site director at Old Bethpage. "He was just an inspiration, a warm, sweet guy with a lot of stamina."

    Harrison Hunt, former curator at Old Bethpage, said Howe took his period roles seriously. "Whatever it was, the militia or period dancing, he made sure he knew the drills, knew the steps," Hunt said. "He always had a sunny disposition and was very good with the public."

    Born in Manhattan, Howe served in the 6th Armored Division in Europe during World War II. After the war, he worked for Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue and then as a business teacher at Floral Park Memorial High School. In 1976, after retiring, he became involved in military re-enactments.

    Howe also was a popular Santa Claus, especially during Christmastime at Old Bethpage. Jonathan Howe said his father always played Santa for family and naturally expanded the role at the historical site. His son said Howe was so good as a 19th-century Santa that Old Bethpage officials got him a special, red-and-white period suit for his performances.

    Besides his son, Howe is survived another son, David Howe of Cutchogue; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. His wife, Edwina, died in 2006.

    A memorial service is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Valley Stream, followed by burial at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.
    [COLOR="DarkRed"] [B][SIZE=2][FONT=Book Antiqua]Christopher J. Daley[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

  • #2
    Re: WWII Vet, Teacher, Civil War re-enactor Harry B. Howe dies

    Harry was a good friend of mine, and we did quite a few events together at Old Bethpage. He was one of the most energetic reenactors I knew, despite his advanced years. His favorite tune was Gary Owen, and in more recent years, I had to avoid playing it in his presence, since he could not resist getting up and dancing a jig whenever I played it, no matter how tired he was.

    All of us at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, and the 119th NY will miss him.
    Eric Marten


    • #3
      Re: WWII Vet, Teacher, Civil War re-enactor Harry B. Howe dies

      It is good to hear that he was lucky enough to pass in his sleep.Eric,I am sorry for your loss.
      Cullen Smith
      South Union Guard

      "Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore always carry a small snake"~W.C. Fields

      "When I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey; and when I drink water, I drink water."~Michaleen Flynn [I]The Quiet Man[/I]


      • #4
        Re: WWII Vet, Teacher, Civil War re-enactor Harry B. Howe dies

        I first met Harry during my first battle event...Bentonville went down to 18 degrees..the only concession Harry made (after Mark Adler made him) was to sleep in a wall tent...he was up and running with the lads all weekend...after a 12 hour mean feat for a man in his late 70's at that time
        He was always a gentleman, ready with a smile, and of course an attraction to all the young ladies! While his loss is mourned, he's earned his reward

        Ave et VAle
        Pete Bedrossian
        150th NY/3rd N.C.T.


        • #5
          Re: WWII Vet, Teacher, Civil War re-enactor Harry B. Howe dies

          Harry was a seminal figure to me in the hobby since I began as a young man in the early 1990s. I was inspired and in awe of his endurance and tenacity despite his age and in the midst of much younger folks. He is a treasure to this hobby and to America as a fighting man of the "greatest generation".