NORMAN — Mary Irene (Pyle) Howell, 94, passed away Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Norman. She was born October 11, 1918, in Pauls Valley to E. C. Pyle, originally from Missouri and Mattie Bell (Yarnell) Pyle, originally from Searcy, Ark.
A private family celebration of her life will be held on Saturday.
Mary, known as “Midge” to her family and friends from Pauls Valley, attended college for two years at the University of Oklahoma, which she loved, before she was forced to drop out for financial reasons due to the Great Depression. She then became one of the first stewardesses for Braniff Airways and was stationed at Love Field in Dallas.
After the war started, Mary left Braniff and went to Arizona to be trained as a Registered Nurse. She then worked with soldiers in Montana. Following the war, she returned to Pauls Valley to work as a county health nurse. It was at this time that she met Tom “Peachy” Howell of Davis, a war veteran, and they were married in 1950.
They had four children, Lynn, Curt, Eleanor and Jim, which they raised in Davis. Mary’s greatest regret was that she developed tuberculosis when Lynn, Curt and Eleanor were very little. Her illness took her away from her family for a year while she was in the sanitarium in Clinton. Jim was born during that year.
Mary was a wonderful mother, dedicated to inspiring in her children a love of learning, travel and culture. She introduced her children to the great works of art and music. Mary also loved new music, such as the Beatles and the Doors. She even helped organize a teen dance club, “Davis Teen Town,” so that local youth had a place to socialize and dance.
After her children and husband Tom were gone, Mary relocated to Norman, where she spent the remainder of her years. It did not take Mary long to find new friends in Norman with common values and interests. She became very active politically, joining many groups, such as Common Cause and the Democratic Women’s Club, and peppering newspaper editors with her letters. Mary also became busier than ever with her artistic projects. She had a wonderful time in Norman until her last few years, when her health failed.