Joseph McGee Howell (1947-2022), was the son of Joe and Mary Frances McGee Howell and the brother of five sisters: Mary Jo, Ramona, Helen, Sondra, and Juanita. A graduate of CHS (1965), former member of Boy Scout Troop 88, and a member of Claremore First Methodist, he was retired from a career of humanitarian work in Africa and Asia.
Joseph’s Memorial Gathering will be Saturday, June 17, at 1:00 at the Country Cottage Restaurant just north of Locust Grove on Highway 82, in the direction of Salina. (Point of contact sister Helen at email@example.com)
After OU graduation (1969), Okie Joe, as he came to be known, went to West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. There he was on a team whose mission was to introduce farmers to the use of oxen to plow their fields. The team accomplished its mission which for 50 years has improved the standard of living of many families in that region of Dahomey (now Benin).
He found his life work there, and after grad work in French (OU) and Animal Science (OSU), went back to Africa. He worked for 3 more decades on projects in Togo, Cameroon, Senegal, Mozambique, Cambodia, and others. Heifer Project took him to Mozambique providing goats to farmers after the civil war there. He resettled families in Cambodia returning from refugee camps (while the Khmer Rouge was still active there). In Senegal he trained water buffalo to till the rice fields. There were many more.
Immersing himself in totally new surroundings, learning to live day to day speaking French in West Africa and Portuguese in Mozambique, he made many lifelong friends, changed lives, and mentored many young persons. His name brings high praise from people in faraway places who knew him and his work. Claremore can be proud to have sent Okie Joe out into the world.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Joseph McGee Howell, please visit our floral store.