It is with great regret that we report the death, on Wednesday, January 15th, 1986, of Alan Howard, at age 71. after a relatively brief illness. Alan had entered Mississauga Hospital on Boxing Day for the treatment of heart problems, and was still a patient at the hospital when he passed away. The funeral service was held on Saturday, January 18th, with a large contingent of T.M.H.S. members in attendance, and interment was in Mount Pleasant Cemetary.[sic]
Alan Howard and his family took up residence on Toronto's Centre Island in 1918, when he was four years old, and Alan remained an Islander at heart throughout his life. He moved his residence to the city when the family home, on Lakeshore Avenue near St. Andrews Avenue, was razed in 1960 for the expansion of the Island park. Alan recognized the value of the Island to the residents of Toronto, but he remained a staunch supporter of the Island Community in its attempts to gain permanence during the three-decade fight against municipal expropriation, and he served as a witness for the Islanders in recent hearings concerning the future of the remaining Island homes. In latter years, Alan was unable to visit the Island on a regular basis, but he delighted in any such opportunity that became available to him, and he never held back when presented with the chance of expressing his opinions on the subject to municipal politicians.
Alan devoted most of his efforts to the preservation of the history of the Toronto area, both marine and otherwise, although ships were always his great abiding interest. He was an accomplished marine artist,- not only of lake vessels but also of famous ocean liners, and his artistic talent extended to the depiction of historic buildings, particularly those of England, from whence his family had come. He was a natural public speaker, blessed with a technique that held his audiences spellbound, and he regularly lectured to historical groups in the area. He spoke to T.M.H.S. on many occasions, and we cannot recall Alan using any notes whatsoever in presenting a programme.
Alan Howard was the first curator of the Marine Museum of Upper Canada, located in the Stanley Barracks at Toronto's Exhibition Park (they call it "Place" now), and served in that capacity from February 196l until his retirement in February 1981. The latter occasion was marked by a special "Soiree", held at the museum in his honour, and attended by many important personages, including the Mayor of the City of Toronto and the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Ontario.
Alan was a founding and honorary member of the Toronto Marine Historical Society, and in latter years was a member of our Executive Committee. He provided us with invaluable assistance in innumerable ways, and for many years he served as our "Den Father" at the museum. We were proud to have him with us, for he was a true steamboater, having been General Manager of the Cayuga Steamship Company Ltd. during its reactivation of the veteran Niagara steamer CAYUGA from 1954 through 1957. Above all, Alan was a true gentleman and a friend to all of us.
We express our sincere and deepest sympathy to the members of his family, and particularly to his wife, our "Den Mother" Barbara, and to T.M.H.S. member Tom Smith, of Palatine, Illinois, his stepson. Alan Howard, a man of so very many interests, did not have an easy life. Every movement and every activity posed a special problem for him, but Alan faced and surmounted those difficulties with a courage and a determination that few of us could ever muster. May he now find Eternal Rest and Peace. We of T.M.H.S. are all the more rich for having known him, and we pray that his memory may remain with us always.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.