March 19, 1936 – Jan. 8, 2020
Helen S. “Hallie” Howell, of Buffalo, a civic volunteer who played a key role in the approval of city development projects in the 1980s and 1990s, died Jan. 8 in Buffalo General Medical Center after a chronic illness. She was 83.
Born Helen Stith in Baltimore, Md., she attended Bryn Mawr School there and studied at Wellesley College and the University of Rochester.
After marrying Edward D. “Ned” Howell, an industrial engineer and corporate executive, she lived in Mexico, Colombia and Louisville, Ky., before coming to Buffalo in 1965.
Mrs. Howell worked part-time in real estate investment, management and sales.
At one time, she had the largest business of breeding and selling angelfish in the eastern United States.
In 1979, Mayor James Griffin appointed her to a Citizens Advisory Committee on Community Improvement. As chair of its capital budget subcommittee, she helped prepare the city’s annual program for construction and rehabilitation projects.
She led the review of various proposals for funding in the city budget, narrowing them down and making recommendations. Most of the recommendations were approved by the mayor and Common Council.
Among the projects the committee approved were renovations to the Col. Francis G. Ward Pumping Station and construction of the downtown baseball stadium and the School 99 Makowski Early Childhood Center.
Griffin appointed her to chair the full Citizens Advisory Council in 1991, a post she held for four years.
She was a two-term director of the Health Systems Agency of Western New York and co-chaired the Transportation Subcommittee of the Greater Buffalo Development Foundation, where she helped create a countywide mutual aid arrangement for snowplowing.
She was a docent at the Darwin Martin House and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
She led classes on how to lead a healthy life with chronic diseases.
An active member of the Wellesley College Book Club, she also enjoyed playing bridge at the College Club of Buffalo.
Her husband, an executive with Carborundum Corp., died in 2002.
Survivors include two daughters, Cecelia Spitta and Emerson Nagel; two sons, Edward and Peter; a brother, Wilmer C. Stith; and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will be scheduled in the early summer.