The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


January 11, 2013

Gary E. Howland

Published 1-12-13

ENID, Okla. — Math and Science Instructor at College of the Sequoias.

Gary E. Howland passed away in the early morning of Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. He was born May 5, 1938, in Anthony, Kan., across the state line from Wakita, Okla., where he grew up on his family’s wheat farm that still produces today.

At Gore High School in Wakita, he played all sports and was Valedictorian of his graduating class.

He earned a National Science Award Scholarship to Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

At Northwestern, he was on the Dean’s List, served as Junior Class Vice President, Senior Class Treasurer and earned a double major bachelor degree in math and physics with a minor in geology. He also earned his education degree from Northwestern, while student teaching at Blackwell High School in Blackwell, Okla.

A highlight from Gary’s time at Northwestern included a meeting with a 29-year-old Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958. As President of the college’s Wesley Foundation Chapter, Gary attended a panel discussion, where Dr. King was the headline speaker. Gary described the experience as inspiring and said Dr. King’s exceptional charisma filled the room.

In early 1959, Gary met his future wife, Laurita Lash at a friend’s picnic at Salt Plains, near Jet, Okla. On Aug. 28, 1960, Gary and Laurita married.

After earning his education degree, Gary taught 7th and 8th grade, while coaching football and basketball in Carmen, Okla., from 1960 to 1963. While at Carmen, Gary won a National Science Foundation Award that included a full scholarship at New Mexico Highlands University. He, Laurita, and their 1-year old daughter Carrie moved to New Mexico, where Gary earned a master’s degree in natural science. After graduation, Gary taught math and science at Palo Verdes College in Blythe, Calif., from 1964 to 1967.

In the fall of 1967, Gary joined the faculty at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., where he taught for 37 years, including most summers.

He taught physics, all math courses, astronomy, geology, ecology, biology, and physical science.

He was head of the math and science department for three years during his tenure.

Gary also served a year as President of the College of the Sequoias Teachers Association and provided leadership on several committees.

Students selected Gary Teacher of the Year in 1981-82 in appreciation of his outstanding service.

A few years after his son, Steven Howland, began teaching in the English department at C.O.S., Gary retired in 2003.

Gary enjoyed watching Oklahoma and Kansas football. He also had high hopes for the Fresno State Bulldogs in their most recent bowl game in Hawaii. His hobbies included playing music, fishing, welding, rock hunting and exploring the outdoors during camping trips throughout the western United States.

Gary was an avid photographer, and his family enjoyed viewing the slides that documented their outdoor adventures. He adorned his office with photos of vintage aircraft he took when visiting air shows with his family.

Gary is survived by his wife of 52 years, Laurita (Lash) Howland; daughter, Carrie Howland Tyler and husband Tim Tyler; son, Steven E. Howland and wife Betsy Hughes Howland; two grandchildren, Owen and Olivia Howland; sister, Judith Howland Jones of Hewitt, Texas; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family gathered for a private service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Gary Howland Math and Science Scholarship, 915 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA  93277.

Tributes and condolences may be made at

Arrangements entrusted to Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia, CA 93291 (559) 732-8371.

(Submitted by family)

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