Donald E. Howard, Jr.

1941 - 2024

COOPERSTOWN – Donald E. Howard, Jr., formerly of Cooperstown, died on June 9, 2024, after a brief battle with liver cancer. 

Don was born in Albany on July 11, 1941, to Donald E. Howard and Ruth Frisbie Howard. He grew up in Schoharie and graduated from Schoharie Central School in 1959. In high school he was a soccer goalie, played basketball, and ran track, helping the school win its first team county track title in 1959. 

Don attended Union College and graduated in 1963 with a BA in History. He lettered in volleyball and was a member of Delta Phi Fraternity. He then attended SUNY Oneonta to finish his graduate work for teaching. 

In 1964 he was hired to teach seventh and eighth grade history at Cooperstown Central School. Later, he taught a senior elective in Psychology for 13 years. In 1994 he was named Teacher of the Year. After teaching for 36 years he retired in 2000. Don loved eighth graders for their spirit and willingness to learn. He had a vast knowledge of American History and liked to tell stories that made history feel real and exciting. He was beloved by his students. 

While Don enjoyed teaching and working with his students, his real passion was in coaching. A lifelong "sports nut," he coached Jr. High basketball, starting the program in 1964, JV basketball, Jr. High track, starting the program in the Spring of 1965, cross country, and varsity track and field. In 1969, he teamed with varsity coach Dick White to run a highly successful basketball program for over twenty-five years. He had three undefeated JV seasons among his thirteen league championships. 

Don coached Jr. High track until 1971. He then took over varsity track when the founder of CCS Track and Field, Bill Eldridge, retired. Running on an egg shaped, six corner, cinder track was a challenge, but his athletes performed well and became very competitive. In 1979, after 33 years of track and field at CCS, the team finally won its first Center State Conference title. After 423 dual meet victories, winning 9 more league titles, three sectional titles, and having one State champion, Joe Senchyshyn, Don retired in 2007. While he enjoyed the competition of the sports that he coached, he most cherished the lasting friendships of his many former athletes. He was selected to the CCS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. 

After living in Cooperstown for 49 years, Don and his wife, Doris, moved to their camp on Great Sacandaga Lake in the Adirondacks and spent their winters in the Myrtle Beach, SC area. Don had many interests and hobbies. He was an avid underdog rooter, as evidenced by being a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, a diehard Mets fan, and a Jets, Nets and NY Rangers fan. He also enjoyed fishing, kayaking, golf, and a lifelong hobby of collecting baseball cards. 

Don is survived by his beloved wife, Doris, of 44 years, a great support through his teaching, coaching, and living. Surviving children are Kelly (Howard) Kerner and husband Chris, of Mount Joy, PA, Todd Howard and wife Jennifer, of Cooperstown, Scott Crain and wife Hope, of Portsmouth, RI, Marcia Marcia Marcia (Crain) Prasch and husband Rich, of Boise, ID, and Susan Crain of Boise, ID. Grandchildren include Clark Kerner and wife Gloria, of Manassas, VA, Anastasia (Kerner) LaMarca and husband John, of Bowdoinham, ME, Jack Howard, Brianna Crain, Gavin, Ian and Jane Prasch, Andrew Ready, and Alex Ready. Great grandchildren include Jack and Tommy LaMarca, and Reagan Kerner. 

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2024, in the Nicholas J. Sterling Auditorium at the Cooperstown Junior-Senior High School, with the Rev. Dr. Bonnie Orth, pastor of the Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church, officiating. Immediately following the service there will be a time to visit with the Howard family. 

Contributions in Don's name may be made to Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church, 22 North Main Street, Mayfield, NY  12117 and Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, 108 Steele Avenue, Gloversville, NY 12078.

Arrangements are with the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.