Thomas Dwain “Rusty” Howell passed away on March 9, 2018, at the age of 89. Born on June 28, 1928, in Comanche, Texas, to Lamar Howell and Opal Glasgow Howell, Rusty was raised in Comanche and entered Texas A&M University at the age of 17. After serving in the Corps at A&M, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture and Chemistry. After graduation he worked as a cowboy in the Rio Grande Valley until he accepted the Assistant County Agent position in Harrison County in 1948. While Assistant County Agent he was particularly active working with kids in the FFA program. In 1951, he married Joy Lois Etheridge in Marshall and took a job driving a cement truck for Halliburton. After the birth of their first child, Steve, they moved to Kilgore where his job was located. In 1954, he went to work for TriState Oil Tools in Kilgore as a fishing tool operator. His daughter, Leslie, was born in 1959, during the time when he had developed his stature in the oil and gas industry to the point that he was the first-call troubleshooter for many major and large independent oil and gas companies all over North America with a wild well, blowout or particularly difficult down hole problem on a well. After managing several regions in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi for Tristate, the family moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1970, They moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he managed the Northeast region, eventually becoming Vice President of International Affairs for TriState (which by that time was Baker International) and traveling and overseeing operations all over the world, including Egypt, Australia, Scotland, Alaska and Singapore.
In 1977, he left Baker International and, with his longtime partner, Quinton Carlile, formed Marshall Exploration, Inc., including Martex Drilling Company and H&C Well Service, building it into a very successful independent oil and gas firm through 1980’s, before merging with Sonat, Inc., in 1989. He then went into business with his son and daughter as Howell Oil & Gas, Inc., and East Texas Fuels, Inc., continuing his involvement in oil and gas exploration and production and branching out into fuel distribution and convenience store management. Rusty was a dedicated rancher and one of the premier Charlois breeders in the nation. Bulls from his herd are scattered all over the United States. He was a 32nd degree Master Mason and a member of the Marshall Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite Temple in Dallas, and Sharon Shrine Temple in Tyler. He was the longest serving active member of the Texas Ranger Association Foundation and was a long-time supporter of the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement. His involvement in Texas politics for the benefit of the oil and gas industry, and particularly independent oil and gas producers, is legendary. He was a member of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners (TIPRO) for over fifty years serving in many capacities including President. During his tenure as chairman and board member of the Marshall Economic Development Corporation since its formation, he was instrumental in MEDCO bringing 56 companies to Marshall and Harrison County and 23 companies expanding their business in the city and the county, netting over 4,600 jobs for the local economy. With no regard for personal benefit, his work to create opportunities and business activity in his city and county has benefited many families, as has his personal generosity and philanthropy, often exercised anonymously. The forthrightness, honor, and integrity he exhibited in all of his interactions was an inspiration to those who knew him. His love for his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren was immense and shown constantly.
Mr. Howell was preceded in death by his loving wife of 66 years, Joy Lois Howell, and his parents.
He is survived by his brother, Victor Howell, of Corsicana; his sister, Charlotte Arthur, of Malakoff; his daughter, Leslie Howell Chambers, and son-in-law, Steve Chambers of Harleton; his son, Steve Howell, and wife, Leigh Howell, of Marshall; Granddaughters Hillary Mitchell and Emily Fulbright; Grandsons Sam Howell, Ben Howell, Trey Sandlin and Christian Sandlin; and great granddaughters, Caroline Sandlin, Evelyn Harris, and Lottie Joy Sandlin; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. His love for his family was boundless.
After a private graveside service, a memorial service for Mr. Howell will be held at the First Baptist Church of Marshall on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 11:00 am under the direction of Sullivan Funeral Home.
Pallbearers will be Steve Chambers, Trey Sandlin, Christian Sandlin, Ben Howell, Sam Howell, and Drew Toole. Honorary pallbearers will be Jerry Berry, Ron Walsh, and Larry Spikes.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, 2222 Welborn St., Dallas, TX. 75219, and or the Texas Ranger Association Foundation, 104 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706