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Howard Oliver '46 August 9, 2022 1:38 PM updated: August 9, 2022 1:44 PM

Howard Ross Oliver
March 29th, 1925 - July 23rd, 2021

Howard Ross Oliver was warmly received into eternity on July 23 at age 96.

Many would be surprised to learn that Howard, a Texan transplanted to Pittsburgh, was born in San Jose, CA. The youngest of three brothers, he was the son of a Texas entrepreneur who had moved his family to California to try and make his mark. The depression and a fire that burned the Oliver Dehydrator warehouse led to Howard’s mother taking her three sons by herself on the long drive back to Dallas, her hometown, leaving Howard’s father in California until he could get back on his feet financially.

Howard, his mom and his brothers moved into a three- bedroom house in Dallas with an aunt and two grandparents. He and his brothers had newspaper routes to help support the family. Howard learned that his father had died in a car wreck in San Jose when he was 14 having not seen his father in nine years.

Howard graduated from North Dallas High School as a leader in ROTC and entered Texas A&M University as did his oldest brother. After a year and a half of college, Howard joined the US Army, serving in Europe during WWII. His unit was diverted from an assignment to stabilize captured German towns to combat in what turned out to be defending the north limb of the Battle of the Bulge. His unit then moved through France and on to Germany where Howard contracted hepatitis and was hospitalized in Verdun until VE Day. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

Returning from the war, Howard completed his electrical engineering degree at Texas A&M but not before having a blind date with the woman who was to become his wife for almost 74 years, Joan Dawkins. They married between semesters his senior year.

Immediately upon graduation, Howard and Joan left Texas for Pittsburgh and the beginning of a long career with Westinghouse Electric Corporation. His career at Westinghouse led to assignments in Buffalo, St. Louis, Dallas, Abilene, Southern California, Mexico City, Cordoba, Spain and finally back to Pittsburgh.

Despite these many relocations, Howard and Joan found time to have two children, Nancy and Bob. And Howard continued his military service as well…in the Army Reserve retiring as a full Colonel.

Howard strove to be a devout Christian his whole life. In the 40 plus years he and Joan lived in Pittsburgh, they were active members of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Howard supported the church mission in a variety of ways including as an elder, worship recorder, volunteering in the rummage sales and even handling phones in the office. Howard was a board member, and along with Joan, life-long supporters of The Salvation Army making an impact in Mexico City as well as Pittsburgh.

No question Howard and Joan love Nancy and Bob and their spouses, David and Karin. But their pride and joy expanded greatly with their four grandchildren and their spouses: Paul Gray (and Erin), Jeffrey Gray (and Janelle), Scott Gray (and Callie) and Sara Oliver (and Eric). And even the beloved grandchildren may have been topped by the nine great grandchildren of whom four are named in honor of Howard.

Howard has been described as a humble, helpful and caring man with a huge heart. But one of his grandsons may have said it best: “Howard was a compassionate soul and a model for the type of man I want to strive to be.”

A memorial service will be held on August 8 at 4 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Howard’s honor be directed to Westminster Presbyterian Church https://www.westminster-church.org/give

and The Salvation Army Pittsburgh https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/western-pennsylvania/ways-to-give/.  Please add or view tributes at www.beinhauer.com

 



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