- Written by webmin
I first met Paul Howard in, I think, 2005, when he and a couple other hot rodders stopped by Hemmings HQ on their way back from the Rolling Bones open house to his house in Massachusetts. He noted me ogling his Model A with a flathead V-8, sitting tall, black, and fenderless, clean and straight, but far from flashy. We spoke a little about hot rods, and he headed back home. If I recall correctly, it was chilly that day, but with the top up and bundles of clothes and blankets, he and his wife Marge seemed not to mind; they were happy enough to be out motoring in their hot rod.
Paul would stop every time he passed through Bennington and we’d chat. I’d see him at the hot rod events I attended throughout the region – the Gathering of the Faithful, Ty-Rods, more Rolling Bones open houses – and make sure to catch up with him when I did. A warmer, friendlier guy you’d never meet, and he introduced me to many people he thought a young hot rod-oriented guy should know and kept me in the loop as far as New England hot rodding events went. I even ran into him at Bonneville the year I went and had a nice chat with him on the salt, and I still have hanging in my office the print-out of a 2006 email he sent to Lentinello clamoring for Hemmings to run more articles by yours truly. That’s the kind of guy Paul was.
Paul died Wednesday night after suffering a heart attack. He was out in Arizona where he had wintered the last few years, which meant he and Marge were able to go for a ride in the roadster the day before, and he was able to hang out with his Arizona-based hot rodding pals that day. On the one hand, I’m saddened by the news: I meet a lot of great people in the course of doing my job, and Paul was one of the best. He made everybody feel welcome, he had a compliment for everybody he knew, and he was just plain cool. On the other hand, I’m glad he was able to get out and enjoy his roadster, make some time for his friends and be with his wife on his last day.
A few years ago, I posted some photos of Paul and his high school hot rod, a 1933/1934 Ford pickup. If you don’t mind, I’d like to republish them here, along with a detail of a poster that our mutual friend Mark Phelan created and a few other photos of Paul’s roadster that I took over the years. Gonna miss you, Paul.
UPDATE (19.February 2011): Mark Phelan informs us that Paul’s memorial service will be 10 a.m. March 5 at the First Church of West Bridgewater in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Hot rods are welcome and encouraged.
UPDATE (28.February 2011): Just wanted to get a link up to Paul’s obituary.