John A. Howland


John (Jack) A. Howland, 88, died at The Royal Nursing Home in Falmouth on Sunday, May 5. The cause was chronic respiratory problems.

He was born on March 21, 1925, the son of Delos A. Howland and Naomi Grimm Howland, and grew up in Cranston, R.I. After graduation from Cranston High School in 1943, he entered Brown University but was immediately swept up by the draft.

After basic training in the Combat Engineers, he was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program studying at Lake Forest College, north of Chicago. When that ill-fated program was closed, he was sent to the West Coast to join the 383rd Infantry of the 96th Division in training for the Pacific. He participated in the invasions of Leyte and Okinawa in which he was wounded both times, the latter serious enough to be evacuated to a hospital on Saipan. After operations, he was returned to the States, recuperating at the rehab hospital at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod where he sat out the rest of the war. He was discharged in October 1945.

He returned to Brown in the Class of 1948. It was at Brown that he met his wife to-be, Melissa Tinker, daughter of Harold L. Tinker, a longtime and well-remembered resident of West Tisbury. They were married shortly after graduation.

Jack worked first in General Electric’s Business Training Program at their Bridgeport, Conn., plant, transferring to the advertising division of the Construction Materials Department.

He then embarked on an advertising career that led him to several agency jobs, ultimately with Chas. Dallas Reach in Newark, N.J., as Copy/Account Executive for their New Jersey Bell Account which evolved into a “if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em” move that led to a 27-year career in the Bell System, ending as Director of Advertising at AT&T in New York. In addition to all national advertising, Jack was responsible for such other Bell System programs as the Bell Telephone Hour, the Leonard Bernstein Children’s Music Hour, Bell participation in various World’s Fairs, Disney Land and Disney World and all trade shows.

Inasmuch as his wife, “Missy,” had been a “summer kid” on Martha’s Vineyard, they were frequent visitors to the Island, retiring to their home in Lambert’s Cove in 1982 after early retirement when the Bell System was broken up.

In retirement, Jack served n several civic boards: M.V. Hospital, Vineyard Conservation Society, West Tisbury Personnel Committee, Duke’s County Historical Society among others.

He was pre-deceased by his wife 60 years in 2009. There will be no services.