Karen Elaine Horton Howell was born July 1, 1948 to the late MSgt. Edwin Horton (Ret. USAF) and Monta Horton at Eglin AFB, Florida. After spending part of her childhood in Tripoli, Libya, she grew up in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida and graduated from Choctawhatchee High School. She met the man who would become her husband of over 49 years while working as a resort lifeguard. It was love at first sight for him, but she would need a bit more convincing.
She married Bernard Howell on August 30th, 1969. The first of two children arrived in 1972. In 1974, she moved to Bernard’s hometown of Chattahoochee, Florida. A second daughter joined the family in 1977. Karen operated her own in-home daycare for several years. When the girls were old enough to be trusted not to burn down the house, Karen went out into the workforce. Over the next 15 years, only one fire was reported. Karen worked at Knots N Such Florist and Gifts and after its closing, Magnolia’s of Chattahoochee. Karen was a magnificent floral designer and decorator. Many in town and surrounding areas attest that no one else’s work could ever hold a candle to the beauty and quality of hers. Her golden heart and loving spirit were the added bonus to her customers.
Karen was a voracious reader and loved all things sci-fi, fantasy and action/adventure. (It is a little known fact that she was actually the 7th Avenger and the original Mother of Dragons.) She truly had a zest for life. She loved going on road trips with her children and the “sister of her heart” Frances Basford (they never got lost, but rather had “adventures”). She found renewed strength in working in her daughter Susan’s vineyard, and gained newfound youth in activities with Christie, Johnny, and JJ like winning the biggest prizes at Dave and Busters, catching the biggest fish on Lake Seminole, and watching her J-Boy play sports. Karen was the “Grannay” of the ballfields, having adopted dozens of children and their families and loving them like her own.
Karen was a devoted and selfless wife and mother. She is survived by husband Bernard (her silver knight), daughters Susan (her sunshine) and Christie (her laughter) and grandson JJ (he who made her cup runneth over). She also leaves behind two beloved sons in law she considered sons: Bruce Paul and Johnny Dolan. Additional survivors include special “sisters” Marti Howell Conner and Frances Basford and her wonderful neighbors Betty “Mama Bear” Barfield and Sheila “SheShe” Blount. Karen was a lover of animals great and small. Besides being the proud grandmother to numerous grand-dogs and grand-cats, she will be missed greatly by her own kitties: Raider, Ghost, and Callie.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to either of the following causes that were dear to her heart: Jackson County Partners for Pets 4011 Maintenance Drive Marianna, FL 32448 and Gadsden County Humane Society PO Box 1268 Havana, FL 32333
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at McAlpin Funeral Home in Sneads, Florida on Monday, December 31, 2018 at 10:30 AM EST with Reverend Robert Johns and Reverend Mike Hutcherson officiating. Visitation with family and friends will be Sunday, December 30, 2018 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST at McAlpin Funeral Home.
Interment will be private on a later date.