Cover photo for Katharine Sarah Howland's Obituary
Katharine Sarah Howland Profile Photo
1930 Katharine 2024

Katharine Sarah Howland

November 26, 1930 — February 10, 2024

Katharine (Sally) Howland, age 93, of Hallieford, Virginia, went on Sunday, February 10, 2024. She was at home, where she had enjoyed living for 30 years. She retired after 21 years as Personal Secretary to Stanley Woodward (Assistant Chief of Protocol, then Chief of Protocol, State Department; Chief of Protocol, White House under FDR and Truman; Ambassador to Canada): “The best secretary I ever had…in appreciation of tireless, cheerful—not to mention efficient— services over the years past, present and future.” Before that, Sally worked for the Washington Post in Washington, D.C. after which she wrote many published editorials. Previous was New York City where work led her into the ground-floor histories of advertising and live television. Sally’s birth and up-bringing was in New Rochelle, NY., where she was very close to her family as daughter of Horace Howland and Adelaide O’Connor and sibling to Constance Manning and Horace Howland, Jr., all pre-deceasing her. Sally loved playing field hockey, lacrosse, softball, and basketball, as well as being a cheerleader. Sally loved the Thousand Islands in Ontario, Canada in the summer. She enjoyed movies, Broadway, traveling, reading, cooking, baking, visiting with friends, and many volunteer jobs in her youth and throughout her life. Sally engaged in lifetime volunteer work at local churches to include both Catholic schools of her daughter. She managed parish receptions of all kinds at Annunciation Parish with excellence, enthusiasm, and laughter. A single working mother who put freshly-made meals on the table almost every night, she also gardened, and catered in a one-bedroom apartment her daughter’s small pre-dance dinner parties that left many a boy and girl with tiny tarts and cream puffs in purses and rented pockets. She was an active parent in her daughter’s schooling, summer camp life at WAREDACA, Girl Scout Troop, other extra-curricular activities, and church life at Annunciation Parish and Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, renting a cottage so her daughter’s friends would have a safe place to enjoy beach week. She tremendously enjoyed the life-long invitations of her sister and brother[1]in-law for her and her daughter to spend holidays with her niece and nephews who she loved very much. 

In Mathews, Virginia, she was an active, devout, and beloved member of St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church, who loved her and served her needs up to and after her leaving them for Jesus. In the Mathews Women’s Club, she took the women to Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.  She loved the Gloucester[1]Mathews Gazette Journal, which she fervently read and pondered as she wrote her editorials and made her phone calls to editorial staff. As a Friend of the Mathews Memorial Library, she adopted Annie Plummer and Mary French’s, Dictionary Project, now 19 years in the running. Each year she awaited the joy of not only handing out the dictionaries, but showing children how to use them. Her more than 22 years at the Mathews Memorial Library was one of the highest joys of her volunteer life, second to the Church. She enjoyed getting to know and serve the community, talking with people, recommending books, and making them laugh. She had an endless stream of suggestions; one notably was Sally’s Reading List. Patrons complained they wanted quality books, and Sally was the voracious reader who could supply them with suggestions. Sally was active at Hands Across Mathews, at the Bay Aging’s Mathews Meals on Wheels program where she ended up as a very grateful recipient with freshly-made meals as opposed to frozen, the brainchild of a person she always admired, Nelda Gibbs. An avid animal lover, an incredible and humorous helicopter mother, friend, and person who overcame obstacles in her life with help from and supplication to God, Sally will be missed by all she touched with her indominable spirit, her good humor, spunk, drive, gifting, abundance of life, and most of all—love, which she got from the Lord and passed it straight to others. 

Goodnight, Mom, I love you, see you soon. Daughter, Jennifer Howland. 

Family, friends, acquaintances are welcome at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 2 at St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church for the Resurrection Mass and reception. Attire: Colorful, no black. Eternal thanks you to all our family, especially Elizabeth Manning), our spiritual family, friends, and neighbors who came running to aid Sally whenever she needed something during her lifetime. 

Memorial contributions can be made to Riverside Walter Reed Hospice who tirelessly served and fearlessly, thoroughly, and tactfully taught everything about death and dying; Mathews Meals on Wheels for their tireless and excellent giving; Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home and Cremation Services for kind, gentle, and detailed handling and approach; the County of Mathews Ruritan Club (and other anonymous friends) for the unbelievably generous sensitivity shown during Sally Howland’s end of life; Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad for the multiple trips and lift assists with good humor, professionalism and gentleness. 

Thank you to Carol McCormack from Church of the Visitation for directing music for the Mass; Mary Marshall for administrative coordination of the Mass. To Kay Helm of Mission Writers and Life & Mission, Greg Lewis of the Mathews Memorial Library, and Mary and Paul Flaherty of St. Francis DeSales Church for making possible access to the Resurrection Mass for far-away family and friends. Sally went where? And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given her understanding so that she could know the true God. And now she lives in fellowship with the true God because she lives in fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and He is eternal life. That’s where Sally went., and Sally still is. (1 John 5:20).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Katharine Sarah Howland, please visit our flower store.


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