Mr. Jack Murray Howbert

09/28/1929 - 09/22/2023


SOUTH HILL - Jack Murray Howbert, our Dad and Pappaw, passed away Friday Sept. 22, 2023. He was 93 and he lived a good life. He was about as fine a man as you’d ever hope to meet. He was a man of great faith, which sustained him throughout his life. He was a leader at Tabernacle Baptist Church, where he sang in the choir for many years and with a men’s group called The Joyful Noise. He served the church as a deacon. Dad was one of the few people you’d ever meet who lived up to the high moral standards we all set for each other. A native of Roanoke, Dad was born Sept. 28, 1929 to Irvin and Sadie Howbert. When he was a child, his family moved to West Virginia, where he grew up on the railroad yard, in Wilcoe. That shaped Dad’s life in many ways. After Dad graduated from Gary High School as the Class of 1947’s Salutatorian, he embarked on a long career with Norfolk & Southern Railroad that took him to Grundy, South Hill, back to Roanoke and finally, to Portsmouth, OH. Dad met the love of his life - our mom - Elaine Hancock, at a party when they both ended up in the kitchen washing dishes. After he married her, legend has it that Mom never had to wash another dish. They were partners in the truest sense of the word. He retired to South Hill and built a retirement home on land Elaine inherited along “Looney Lane” in the midst of all his wife’s brothers and sisters. They treated him like another brother and the family he married into was just as important to him as his own. Dad earned the nickname MacGyver because he could fix just about anything and the community learned about those skills quickly as evidenced by the number of lawnmowers in his shed that people brought him to fix. It was the most visible form of his Christian service. Fortunately, he passed those skills - and that ethos - on to his children. We all have our own toolboxes and everything! If you ever wanted to be entertained, you only needed to show up at the Howbert home and listen to one of the impromptu family sing-alongs that took place around the piano with Dad carrying the baritone part in unmistakable fashion. Jack Howbert was immensely proud of the four children he and Elaine brought into this world, the six grandchildren their children raised and the nine great-grandchildren that have come along in recent years plus two more in the pipeline. We could write an obituary two miles long and not run out of stories about the leader of our clan, but we’ll wait and share the best of them when we gather for visitation Sunday, from 2-4 p.m. at Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral Home in South Hill and at his Celebration of Life service Monday at 11 a.m., also at the funeral home. Burial will take place at Crestview Memorial Park following the service. Dad was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, a sister and his wife. He is survived by four children, Katrina Howbert, of South Hill, Jack H. Howbert (Susie) of Chillicothe, OH, Mark Howbert (Mary) of Lebanon, OH, and Becky Whitfield (Johnny) of Louisburg, NC; six grandchildren, J.D. Howbert (Marie), Matthew Howbert, Chris Howbert (Alicia), Jeff Howbert (Connie), Anna Kate W. Frost (Michael) and Pitt Whitfield; and nine great-grandchildren plus two on the way. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to Tabernacle Baptist Church, 23875 Highway 47, South Hill, Va. 23970 or to a charity of your choice in Dad’s memory. Online condolences may be made through our website, Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Howbert family.

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15 reviews of this entry
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  1. I am so sorry to read about the loss of your Dad. I lost many phone contacts not saved in the cloud one of which is yours. Enjoyed meeting Mr. Jack at my sister’s service in Roanoke. Love and prayers to you and your family

  2. So sorry to hear about Jack, he was one of a kind. I have missed him so much since I retired. He always had a big hug and a big smile for me when ever I saw him and on some occasions a box of candy. He will always be remembered and loved.

  3. Katrina I am so so sorry to hear of the passing of your dad. My heart breaks for you my friend. I was planning on coming to the service but unfortunately I did know the arrangements until after the fact. I love you very much and miss you bunches 💗 may God wrap his loving arms around you for ever and always 💖 💛

  4. Katrina, what a beautiful obituary. I feel like I knew him now. I’ve heard of you speak of him often. Seems like that era made some of the best men. I’m so sorry for your loss, but celebrate with you a life well- lived and a gratefulness for his great legacy.
    Diana Michael

  5. I just learned of Jack’s passing. I am so sorry to hear about his passing. I considered Jack a good friend and brother in Christ. He always brought laughter and joy when ever we got together to sing with Joyful Noise. My sincerest condolences to his family.

  6. Katrina, I am so sorry for the loss of Jack. It was such a blessing to know him. This was one of the most beautiful obituaries I have ever read. What a true testament to the wonderful Man your Dad was. I will miss him greatly. God Bless you and your family

  7. Jack

    My 4 grandchildren loved Jack stories and he gave each one a diffent name.
    They had the best time while my two sons and I work on the Hancock Home Place. They came to their NaNa sharing Jack wonderful stories. Great Christian Man.Love David Lawson & family

  8. Katrina and the Hobart Family

    When I came through Saturday and saw all the cars in the yard,I thought perhaps you were having a family gathering to celebrate your dad but not in this way, even told my husband it must be his birthday… I am so sorry

  9. God called home one of his best, when He called Jack home this week! We all loved Jack and always enjoyed the way he greeted us at church! He was a solid Christian and showed it in every thing he did and said!
    We will miss you greatly Jack! 💔❤️‍🩹

  10. PaPa Jack will be greatly missed. More than a neighbor – best friend, adopted parent, adopted PawPaw!! We loved him greatly! You are all in our thoughts and prayers and just down the road a piece for anything! .

  11. What a great man and special neighbor! Our thoughts and prayers to the family, especially Katrina who in recent years has been there for our family so many times!
    What a blessing Jack Howbert was to everyone!! God Bless him!! He will truly be missed!

  12. Katrina.
    Your relative, Toni, who lives in Rianoke, and is a friend of Leslie, told her of Jack’s passing. We are very sorry to hear this. You have such wonderful memories to remember Jack with.
    Love and prayers,
    Leslie and Evelyn Lambert

Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral Home & Crematory

PO Box 422
1504 N. Mecklenburg Ave.
South Hill, VA 23970
Local (434) 447-7171
Fax (434) 447-3212


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