Edith Richardson Howgate

by Lynn McMillen
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Edith Richardson HowgateEdith Richardson Howgate of Huntsville, Alabama passed away on November 26, 2023 at the age of 94.

She was born in Athens, Alabama, the eldest of eight, to John B. and Cora Richardson, and grew up in the cotton fields and creeks around East Limestone, where she caught crawdads and made mischief and lifelong friends. She graduated from East Limestone High School and worked as a florist, dress seller, and grocery store cashier while raising her two daughters as a young widow. She met her second husband and love of her life, David Howgate, in the check-out line where she worked, when he kept coming through her line to buy groceries. Over the next 60 years together they found joy, endured sorrows, and lived long enough that only love remained.

She was best known as Mar to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to whom she was devoted, even if she had strange ways of showing it. She was a mix of honey and vinegar, with a biting wit that could sting as much as it made you laugh. She liked to fuss, but didn’t like to be fussed over, and she worried too much about everyone and everything. She loved dirty jokes and old gospel music, which she sang daily even as her memory faded.

Born during The Great Depression, she knew how to make something from nothing, creating beauty wherever she was. She tried her best to make magic during the tough times.

“Are you hungry?” she’d ask as soon as you walked through the door, for filling bellies was her way of showing love. And as you’d left, she’d urge you to “Take care of yourself,” which is what she’d want us all to do. Hopefully with no more worries or work, her soul’s at rest.

She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers Buddy, Wayne, John David, and Joe, and daughters Beverly Rutledge, Edie Wolfe, and Erika Howgate. Survivors include her husband, Dr. David Howgate, her son-in-law Daniel Rutledge, her grandchildren, Sean Wolfe and his wife, Jennifer, Michael Wolfe and his wife, Kelley, Amanda Whisenant and her husband, Charles, Erin Ehsani and her husband Salvatore Stolfo, David Rutledge, Mackenzie McKannan Rufer and her husband Josh Rufer; her sisters Charlotte Rudd, Willodean Benge, and Diane Powers, six great-grandchildren, and many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 2 PM at Copeland Church in Athens, Alabama. Visitation will be from 1 PM until 2 PM at the church. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to Copeland Church, where she was a lifelong member, or to the Alzheimer’s Association. The family would like to thank Caring Strategies and her long-time caregiver, Jo Njubigbo, who provided loving and dignified care to the end.

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