Ernest Bennie Ray Howell roared into this world on January 19, 1949 and left more quietly than expected on October 16, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Revell Howell, and all his siblings.
Bennie Howell didn’t have an easy life, which is probably why he didn’t take flak from anyone. Though, he would take your hand tools and lose them. Some consider this theft, but Bennie Howell called it friendship.
Bennie Howell was a man of simple means. But all who knew him knew they were welcome to anything he owned. If you were ever looking for Bennie Howell, you just had to look for the trail of smoke or listen for the loud boom.
While he could yield amazing results with quick flare-ups of his temper, getting irritated at Bennie Howell, as many often did, would likely result in nothing more than just you being irritated. He was equal parts ornery and endearing, as any old man set in his ways usually is. There will never be another like him.
Bennie Howell loved a good tomato but understood how hard it could be to master a great garden. That didn’t stop him from trying, though. In fact, many of his friends can probably look out in their backyards and see a thing or two he planted, even if they didn’t ask for them.
Bennie Howell could often be heard singing “crappie-crappie in the brook; come on out and bite my hook” on a pond bank he may or may not have had permission to fish. Inevitably he’d catch a catfish. But it didn’t matter; they all fried the same.
You could make Bennie Howell a bad cup of coffee, but you’d only do it once. You could prepare a holiday meal, but Bennie Howell would make it better for you the next year. If you talked to Bennie Howell twice, you were his buddy, whether the conversation made you feel that way or not. If you talked to Bennie Howell more than twice, you were family. Bennie Howell may have only had a second-grade education, but he made it through his seven decades with street smarts and well-timed cuss words. If you ever talked with him for any amount of time, you’re probably hearing him say one of those words in your mind right now. He was truly one-of-a-kind.
Despite Bennie Howell’s rough façade, he chose to be a loving father when he didn’t have to be and often gave when he had nothing to give. His family and friends meant the world to him. Left behind to tell his tall tales (and attempt to cook the Christmas ham) are his sons, Nathan (Cassie) and Jason, his grandsons, Barrett and Cooper, and a host of family and friends.
The Good Lord sure has his hands full with Bennie Howell. But, Bennie Howell had simply grown tired of keeping us all in line. We will have to try our best without him. We LOVE you Bennie Howell, and you will be sorely missed.
Bennie’s family will host a visitation for all those who would like to come and share their favorite Bennie Howell stories. Visitation is scheduled from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at Sullivan Memorial Chapel in Kensett. There are, certainly, many stories that shouldn’t be repeated, but those are the ones we will most want to hear.
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