LUMBERTON — Geraldine B. Howell, 75, of Lumberton, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on Feb. 25, 2013.
The funeral services will be 11 a.m. Thursday at the Chapel of Floyd’s Mortuary & Crematory, the Revs. Wayne Brewer, Kevin Taylor and Matthew Seals officiating. Interment will follow in Meadowbrook Cemetery immediately after the service.
She was born in Robeson County on Dec. 25, 1937, to the late Thurman Charles Barnes and Myrtle Y. Barnes.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Wilton Augusta Barnes.
In her early years, Howell worked for the Raleigh News and Observer while supporting her family. Later, she began a daycare business in her home giving the children in her care opportunities to learn in a family-like setting with a commitment to facilitate a feeling of safety and love to the children. In the fall of 1968, she became a licensed daycare provider operating in her home, taking in infants and children up to 2 years of age. She later expanded to taking in children up to 5 years of age and after-school children. After the birth of her daughter, Michelle in April of 1970, the daycare was appropriately named “Michelle’s Lullaby.” The daycare remained in operation until she officially retired in September 2009 as a licensed day care operator, but continued to keep the minimum allowed under daycare guidelines until 2012.
From 1991 to 2012, she served as the president of the Robeson County Daycare Association, which helped to promote professional growth for local day care providers, improve standards of facilities within the county, and served as an advocate for the needs of all young children. Her commitment to educating day care directors and owners concerning staff qualifications and training, health requirements for children and staff, and procedures for child care center or homes, serve as reminders of her complete devotion to the well being of children. In 1995, Howell was appointed to the serve on the North Carolina Child Daycare Commission, which is responsible for adopting rules to implement the child care laws established by the N.C. General Assembly. She served from April 1995 until June 1999.
Caring for children of the world is one of the most important of all of life’s callings. She was a second mom to hundreds of children and helped each of them develop to their fullest potential, watching them grow and discover life and all it has to offer. The children appropriately called her “Howie” as her name was somewhat difficult to pronounce at a young age. Her tireless efforts and devotion to a child’s early years of development were evident in the time she spent with each child on a daily basis. Her48 years of dedication to her life’s work was recognized in many ways by her community, and her endearing kindness to children will forever be remembered.
Her children and grandkids were the crowning glory of her life. She is survived by her brother, Charles Barnes of Lumberton; two daughters, Deborah Michelle Howell of Lumberton, and Sherri Williams and husband Robert of Nashville; three sons, Michael Anthony Howell of Atlanta, Ga., Jeffery Wooten of Trap Hill, and Steven Allen Wooten of Lumberton; four grandchildren, RG Williams III of Fernandina Beach, Fla., Gregory Williams and Cynthia Williams, both of Nashville, and Amy Wooten Bowen and husband William of Foot Leonard Wood, Mo.; two great-grandchildren, Elijah Bowen and Madison Bowen of Foot Leonard Wood, Mo.
We mourn her passing and celebrate her life. She touched all of our lives in so many ways, as mother and friend. Her integrity, unwavering concern for others and her lifelong commitment to living right was an example for all. With love, memory of her deeds and the strength of her example live on.
The family is deeply grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, and support in many heartfelt forms from too many people to name individually, but including: family and friends — either through prayer and/or visits, neighbors, and even random acts of kindness through total strangers.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Floyd’s Mortuary & Crematory in Lumberton.
Flowers accepted or memorial donations can be made in her honor to United Faith & Hope Ministry, 56 HIS Drive, Evergreen, N.C., 28438, or to The American Cancer Society in honor of her memory — American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, Okla., 73123-1718, or by web [https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate/memorialgiving/memorial-giving].
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.floydmortuary.net.