Mary Ellenorah HowingtonAugust 28, 1917 ~ June 19, 2017 (age 99)
Mary Ellenorah Lowry Howington passed away, two months shy of her 100th birthday, in her home on Monday, June 19, 2017 surrounded by family and friends. She was born on August 28, 1917 in New Albany, Indiana, the youngest child and only daughter of Adalaide Jasper Lowry and Stewart Lowry. Mary, however, never knew her father due to her parent’s estrangement before her birth. The day after Mary graduated from high school she became the breadwinner for her mother and at times some of her extended family. In the 1940s they moved from New Albany to Palm Beach, Florida, then to Orlando where Mary worked for the Civil Service. While at work, Mary met her future husband, Erastus Cyril Howington (Rasty), and it was literally love at first sight. More than 50 years later, it was still hard for her to put into words the feeling that they both felt when they first saw each other. Mary and Rasty moved to Las Vegas where they married and worked for the Civil Service at Nellis Air Force Base. They had two children, Erastus Cyril Howington Jr. of Raleigh, NC, and a daughter Nedra Nual who died 3 hours after birth. Mary, Rasty and Cy (whom they called Butch) joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 7, 1964. It was at church that she was introduced to family history work, and she was hooked.
Rasty passed away on November 7, 1971, leaving Mary a widow at the age of 54. Cy had just left to serve a mission for the LDS church in England. Mary encouraged him to stay on his mission, assuring him that she would be OK, and then immediately dug into her new life by teaching herself how to drive. Becoming very independent she would drive all over the country, researching her ancestors and pursuing “clues” to their lives. She was very proud of the fact that she had an ancestor, Goodie Garlick, who was tried as a witch, but only found guilty of being extremely grumpy. Genealogy became one of her passions and she served in the Family History Center of the LDS church both in Las Vegas and in Raleigh for over 50 years.
Mary always loved learning and took many classes at UNLV in Las Vegas and, after moving to Raleigh in 1990, continued taking courses through the community college. Mary also made several friends at church who only spoke Spanish, so in her eighties, she started taking Spanish classes so she could converse with them. Writing was another of her passions and she wrote many stories and poems during her life. She sold her poems to greeting card companies and had one of her stories published in the Raleigh News and Observer. She continued to love words up until the end when playing banangrams and making word puzzles brought her a great deal of joy.
Mary’s 99 years of life spanned a time when women had just received the right to vote. She lived through the Great Depression, 2 World Wars and the magnificence and calamity that we have today. She embraced it all and was truly a woman of determination and courage.
Mary leaves behind her son, Erastus Cyril Jr. (Cy), daughter-in-law, Julie, 5 grandchildren – Lori (Dave) Collier, Janelle (Ismael) Vergara, Ben (Annie) Howington, Kimmy Howington and Holly (Ryan) Sweetwood – and 13 great grandchildren. – Chloe, Jonah, Max, Layne and Adalaide Collier, Judith Vergara, Jack, Lila, Alice and Georgia Howington, and Genevieve, Maggie and Caroline Sweetwood, her favorite (and only) niece Sherri Dominagoni as well as her dearest friend, Terry Moore.
Memorial Service will be held on Saturday July 8th at 2:00pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (5060 Six Forks Rd. Raleigh). There will be visitation with the family immediately afterwards.