(Posted Feb. 25, 2021)
On March 28, Howard Edward Shumate will celebrate the milestone of all milestone birthdays–his 100th. The Mount Sterling resident has lived a life marked by service to his country, farming, music, family and more.
The fifth child of eight born to James A. Shumate and Christine Kleebauer, Howard grew up helping his father on the family farm outside of Mount Sterling.
Before he was drafted into the U.S. Air Force, Howard worked for Curtis Wright, a factory in Columbus that made airplane parts for World War II. He entered the military on Sept. 26, 1942, and was discharged on Jan. 8, 1946. During his years of service, he was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, and spent time in New Orleans, Australia and the Philippines. He worked as a cook and has many stories to tell, including the time his mess sergeant wrongly told him to use a whole box of cornstarch for a batch of baked goods. His unit was preparing for deployment to Japan when the war ended.
After his military service, Howard returned home and continued farming with his father. He was in a serious farm accident in the 1960s, nearly losing his leg when it got caught in the tractor’s power takeoff. His father found him on the ground and the tractor in the farm pond. Good neighbors came in and took charge of the crops.
Coming from a family who enjoyed country music, so did Howard. His father played the violin, and his sister, Betty, played the piano. Howard played guitar and bass and, for a number of years, performed in a country band with area residents Clark and Paul Barker, Ralph Streitenberger and others.
Howard met Ermalee Younkin and they were married on Feb. 14, 1963. They celebrated 55 years together. They raised two children, Steve (Lora) Bowers of Mount Sterling and Diane (Jim) Sarver of Piqua. Several grandchildren and great-grandchildren round out the family circle. His sister, Ruth Ellen Graves, 95, lives in Columbus. His sister, Nancy Hall, 88, lives in London.
Besides watching the Cincinnati Reds, Howard loves mowing his yard and patronizes Ben & Joy’s Restaurant almost every day for a meal.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no in-person birthday festivities are planned, but Howard’s family has come up with a couple of ways the community can help celebrate Howard’s big day.
The first is “100 Meals for Howard.” Anyone can contact Ben & Joy’s to pay for a meal for Howard. The goal is to reach 100 meals in honor of his 100 years. The restaurant is keeping a calendar. So far, the first two weeks of March are covered. Anyone who would like to participate can stop by the restaurant at 35 S. London St., Mount Sterling, or call (740) 869-4324. The average meal cost is about $9.
Additionally, Howard would enjoy receiving cards and notes, which can be sent to 8555 Dyer Rd. SE., Mount Sterling OH 43143.