We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Harper-Talasek Funeral Home - Killeen
Frances Miller(née) Cherry Howell, of Killeen, Gilmer, and College Station, Texas passed away on July 9, 2022, at the age of 85. Frances was born in Jennings, Louisiana in 1936. She was married to John E. Cherry, who preceded her in death in 1972, and then married Dan Howell who preceded her in death in 1997. Frances, also known as Fran and Nana Owl, graduated high school in 1953, and set off to serve her country in the Women’s Army Corp (WACs) where she learned to become a dental assistant. She excelled in playing basketball for Sandia Army Base and met her first husband sharing this mutual endeavor. She was an all-state guard in high school and passed on her love of basketball to her children and grandchildren.
Frances went to Central Texas Community College in Killeen, where she distinguished herself in Who’s Who in American Junior Colleges and graduated with an Associates Degree in Secretarial Sciences. Shortly afterwards, Frances worked as church secretary for Pershing Park Baptist Church and then the First Baptist Church in Killeen.
She met and married Dan Howell and moved to east Texas and enjoyed raising her youngest daughter, Susan, and Dan’s son Patrick. She became an avid gardener and a prolific wildflower propagator following in the footsteps of Lady Bird Johnson. She collected and grew many pastures of wildflowers by never letting Mr. Howell mow the pastures until the flowers went to seed.
Frances loved babies and always had a soft spot, a smile, and a lap to hold them on. Her grandchildren and her great grandson, Emry, gave her so much joy when she was with them. Frances volunteered in whichever church she was a member of. She had a beautiful alto voice and sang in the church choir. She loved singing anytime, anywhere. There was rarely a road trip without a radio sing-along.
Frances had a servant’s heart volunteering at local libraries, taking care of young children as a nanny, working at thrift stores that benefited hospices or animal shelters and helping as a hospice volunteer doing whatever was needed.
Frances was a beautiful woman and had a smile that lit up her face. That smile will be missed. Frances was preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jean Louis Miller, her husbands John Cherry and Dan Howell, and her youngest son Jack Cherry.
Survivors include her son, John E Cherry and daughter-in-law Sandra, her daughter Frances (Frankie) Brost and son-in-law David; and her daughter Susan Petty and son-in-law Brian; grandchildren Jon David Brost and his wife Katie; Kendall Cherry, Aidan Petty and his wife Mikayla and their son Emry; Grayson Cherry, Alexa Cherry, and Kylie Petty. Frances has two surviving sisters Eva Cormier and Jackie Watlington. Frances came from a large family and had numerous nieces and nephews who she enjoyed visiting with and playing pick-up games of basketball even into her early 70s.
On Saturday, July 30th at 10:00am, friends and family will gather for a celebration of Frances Howell’s life at Harper-Talasek Funeral Home in Killeen at 506 N.38th Street. There will be a short memorial service and internment at the Killeen City Cemetery to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be given to a hospice of your choosing, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, or the Institute of Reading development (readingprograms.org).