Merced Express

March 18, 1937


Amos E. "Ed" Howard passed away in his sleep Wednesday night from a long illness which had confined him to his bed during the past year. He was stricken just prior to the municipal election last April and spent a few days in the hospital, but was removed to his quarters in the Merced hotel shortly before election day. His health improved somewhat, but for several months he has been near death.

Howard declined to withdraw from the council race last year in spite of his illness and this indomitable spirit manifested in his life remained with him until the end.

He was born in Oroville in 1872, the son of Amos E. Howard, pioneer northern California jeweler. He came to Merced in 1899 and established a jewelry business he conducted until 1910 when he sold it to L. A. Peck and moved to San Francisco to become a salesman for Shreve and Company.

He returned to Merced in 1914 at the request of the late G. C. Jones and the two leased El Capitain hotel which they operated for eight years. About the time they relinquished the hotel lease, they purchased the Merced hotel and the Hotel Fox in Taft. Howard recently disposed of his interest in the Merced hotel to Mrs. Anna Howell and Miss Sue Moran, the daughters of the builder and original owner of the hotel.

As a public official, councilman and mayor of Merced, Howard established a reputation of honesty, independence, tolerance, and fostered movements and legislation to promote the welfare of the community.

His special hobbies were children and the fire department and he devoted a great deal of energy improving the fire department and fostering activities furthering the welfare of the children of the community.

One of his last acts in this direction was to sponsor a movement for municipal operation of the abandoned swimming pool that there might be a safe place for Merced children to swim. His illness prevented him from achieving his aim and the movement, without its backer, was forsaken by others.

Howard was elected to the council in 1906 and 1908. After his return from San Francisco he served on the board from 1922 to 1926 and he was elected mayor in 1924. Again in 1928 he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late C. R. Thompson until 1930. He was elected again in 1932 and served until 1936.

Ed Howard in a quiet way is known to have assisted many of his friends in a financial way. He was generous, possessed a fine sense of humor and could be counted upon for good advice on matters generally, enjoyed a prank at the expense of his friends and accepted their reciprocating acts along this line in a jovial and good natured way. His passing will be mourned by hosts of friends.

He was a member of Yosemite parlor, Native Sons, Odd Fellows lodge and a charter member of the Merced Elks.

Funeral services will be conducted by the Elks lodge in the Ivers & Alcorn chapel Saturday morning at 10. Burial will be in the family plot in Masonic cemetery.

He is survived by his son, Harold Howard of Los Angeles; a brother, Clarence Howard of Oroville; a sister, Mrs. Belle Balentine of Oakland; a cousin, Dr. J. W. Wilson, San Francisco.

Contributed by: Carol Lackey