Obituary: Mary Anne Stedman Howell

Mary Anne Stedman Howell

Mary Anne Stedman Howell, 97, passed away peacefully Monday, June 5, 2017, in the serenity of her home, leaving behind her loving family who adored her so.

Arriving just shy of the New Year, Mary Anne was a welcomed blessing born on Dec. 31, 1919, to her doting parents, Mary Louise Hall and Jerry Clemmons Stedman of Beaumont. An only child, Mary Anne was a willing and eager participant to join her parents on their many extensive traveling, fishing and boating excursions throughout her idyllic childhood. Mary Anne was a conscientious and focused student of Beaumont High School, which allowed her to attend the University of Texas at Austin where she studied Elementary Education. While attending the university, Mary Anne joined the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority where her sisters assuredly elected her as their president for an unheard of two consecutive terms. Her devotion and adoration for her sorority was all the more evident in later years when she elected to design her first home on Delaware as a near replica of the Zeta house on campus.

Soon after graduation, Mary Anne returned to her hometown of Beaumont and caught the eye of a dashing young naval officer, Homer Vance Howell, on the banks of the beloved Neches River at the Stedman Farm. It was here a lifelong love between Mary Anne and Homer would flourish into an unwavering romance that would last 60 glorious years filled with future generations of family, an abundance of friendships, and a lifetime of cherished memories.

Although uncertain wartimes besieged the young couple, they were married in the fall of 1942 in Beaumont surrounded by dear friends and family. As a young officer in the Navy, Homer was stationed in Corpus Christi, where they soon moved and started a family of their own. Kathleen, or “Kit,” was the first of their three bright-eyed daughters; Pat and Betty soon followed in-tow once Homer and Mary Anne relocated back to Southeast Texas to rear their young children alongside their enthusiastic extended families. An avid hunter and fisherman, Homer despondently came to the realization a son was not likely in the cards for the Howell lineage; instead he would joyfully reap the immeasurable benefits of having three adoring daughters by his side until his untimely death in April 2003.

Perhaps for some, a houseful of energetic young children would be enough to occupy their day; this, however, was not the case for the perpetually industrious Mary Anne. As an extraordinarily active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Neches River Festival, and the Athena Investment Group, Mary Anne volunteered her time and held several prominent offices. Perhaps her greatest community accolades were serving as president of the Junior League of Beaumont and the Magnolia Garden Club, both of which she took great pride in having been elected. Mary Anne’s ability to balance an ongoing commitment to her community while masterfully maintaining her much-prized role as a devoted mother and dutiful wife was admirably uncanny.

When Mary Anne wasn’t serving others “coiffed and dressed to a tee” as she always was, you could find her and Homer on the deck of their Bolivar beach house listening to the waves encircled by their children, friends and neighbors. Or perhaps she could be found in her thoughtfully and meticulously planted garden tending to her award-winning camellias or her towering agapanthus. As the consummate host, a pending dinner party was always on the horizon, which meant hours of painstaking (yet prideful) silver polishing, designing creatively orchestrated fresh floral arrangements, and properly setting the dining room table that even the likes of Emily Post would envy. Whatever the task at hand, you could be assured Mary Anne generously bestowed her time and energy as a gesture of her never-ending affection and unconditional love throughout her extraordinary life.

Mary Anne Stedman Howell is survived by her daughters, Kit Ohmstede of Beaumont, Pat Howell of Houston, and Betty Southerland and husband, Robb, of Austin; six grandchildren, Will Ohmstede Jr. and wife, Sallie, of Corpus Christi, Chris Ohmstede and wife, Camille, of Beaumont, Jocelyn Johnson of Austin, Anne Henderson and husband, Charlie, of Austin, Will Duncan of Austin, and Ashley Southerland of Austin, and 11 great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to recognize with much appreciation the compassionate care and support of the dedicated medical professionals and caregivers who looked after Mary Anne these past few years: her “Guardian Angels” Linda Patterson, Kiedra Rogers and Wanda Johnson, in addition, Dr. Jeremy Huff, Kelsey, Neva, Crystal and Jill of Professional Health Care and Hospice.

Memorial contributions may be made to All Saints Episcopal School, 4108 Delaware St., Beaumont, TX 77706; Magnolia Garden Club, 148 South Dowlen Road, No. 642, Beaumont, TX 77707; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 680 Calder, Beaumont, TX 77701; or to a charity of one’s choice.

A gathering of Mary Anne’s family and friends will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2017, at Broussard’s, 1605 N. Major Drive, Beaumont. Her memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 9, 2017, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 680 Calder, Beaumont. A private family committal was held at Broussard’s Crematorium, Beaumont.

Complete and updated information may be found at

— Broussard’s