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1953 Stephen 2021

Stephen Acton Howell

August 5, 1953 — December 25, 2021

Stephen Acton Howell was born August 5, 1953 to Jimmy Acton Howell and Merry Jon (McMinn) Howell in Rapid City, South Dakota.  He was born into an Air Force family and spent his childhood years living in several places before settling down in Columbia, Tennessee. He attended Middle Tennessee State University before enlisting in the Navy. After the Navy, he attended Columbia State Community College where he met Linda Welch, who he would soon marry and spend the remaining 41 years of his life. They were married on June 7, 1980.

The die-hard Vols fan completed his degree in Engineering at the University of Tennessee and then took a job in Newport News, Virginia at the Shipyard. After a brief stint in North Carolina, he moved to  Huntsville, Alabama which is where he ended up raising his family. Stephen was well known at his places of employment for his hard work and dedication, as well as his pranks and jokes. In the Monrovia Community, he was active in all things pertaining to his children. He was president of the Monrovia Junior High/Middle School Booster Club for several years and heavily involved with the youth athletic community, having coached a multitude of young girls and boys in baseball, softball, football, and basketball.  He was also one of the founding members of the Monrovia Parks and Recreation Association and served as the initial MPRA basketball commissioner. He helped bring youth football back to the Monrovia community in the early 1990s. In addition to his involvement in sports, he was an active member of Monrovia Church of Christ, in charge of their benevolence ministry for several years. He was known to many of the children and youth as the Candy Man, as he always had a large bag of candy, he handed out to the children prior to church services. 

His family meant everything to him. Together with the love of his life, Stephen raised their five children. Through his example, he taught them the importance of God, love, family, hard work, truth and giving. The lessons that he taught his children in generosity and giving to the less fortunate are forever embedded in their hearts. Stephen gave so much to so many people, almost always without recognition. When he heard of a need, he did whatever he could to take care of it, even if it might set him back. 

Stephen has always been stubborn and headstrong.  Never has this been as obvious as the last five months of his life. He beat tremendous odds to continue to fight through unbelievable medical circumstances, but ultimately, on Saturday, December 25, 2021, Christmas Day -- his favorite holiday -- it became too much. He received the ultimate gift of eternal life and he is no longer suffering. 

Stephen was preceded in death by both of his parents, Jimmy Acton and Merry Jon Howell, a very special aunt, Carolyn McMinn, brother, Michael Dwayne Howell, and a sister, Kimberly Dawn Howell.  He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Linda Welch Howell, his children, Laura (Ric) Wilkinson, Jim Howell, Katherine (Scott) Shivers, Benjamin Howell and Michael (Hannah) Howell and his siblings Todd (Sharon) Howell, Jill (Phil) Grooms, and Holly Holt. He also leaves to carry on his legacy, 13 grandchildren (Samuel Howell, Ariana Howell, Jacob Wilkinson, Arlington Wilkinson, Caitlin Wilkinson, Daniel Wilkinson, Caleb Wilkinson, Sawyer Howell, Rowan Howell, River Howell, Ryker Shivers, Ryan Shivers, and Rhett Shivers), a multitude of nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and other family and friends who will miss him greatly.

Arrangements have been made for a celebration of life for Stephen at Monrovia Church of Christ at 595 Nance Road; Madison, Al 35757 on January 2, 2022.  The family will accept visitors from 1pm-4pm and there will be a short memorial to follow officiated by Ray Palmer. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to one of the following charitable organizations: Muscular Dystrophy Association, Monrovia Church of Christ Benevolence Fund, or The House of the Harvest.

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