Former treasurer praised for his devotion

Published 9:56 am Monday, November 30, 2009

The man who was always know as “Kenny” as someone who was a friend to all in Lawrence County.

That’s how colleagues and friends are recalling former Lawrence County Treasurer Kenneth Howell, who died Friday at King’s Daughters Medical Center at the age of 84.

The 1943 St. Joseph High graduate and Navy veteran served for 20 years as the treasurer taking office in 1985 and working at that post until his retirement in 2005.

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County Auditor Ray T. Dutey worked side-by-side with the treasurer for almost the 20 years Howell was in office. The two served on the county’s budget commission and the board of revision.

“Kenny was a quiet type, He was a good friend to me,” Dutey said. “I never heard him say a bad thing about anybody. He was always willing to help. If anyone had a problem, he would work with them.”

It was former Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton who encouraged Howell to run for county treasurer. For years Howell had managed the Ironton S.S. Kresge’s.

“Kenny was Mr. Western Lawrence County,” Walton recalled. “Kresge’s was a place that everyone in Western Lawrence County went to at least once a month and he saw everybody at least once a month.”

When Bernard McKnight was approaching retirement, Walton said he went down to the dime store to suggest Howell put his sights on county office. He already was serving as Hamilton Township Trustee.

“He loved people. He loved to work with people and people knew it,” Walton said.

For years County Recorder Sharon Gosett-Hager would have her morning coffee with Howell, whose office was just across the hall from hers.

“We would go over the latest in the county,” she said. “My heart goes out to the family. It is a personal loss to me. He treated everyone equally. He had a heart for the people.”