Patricia James Howard was born February 5, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, to Arthur T. James and Sadie B. James of Brooklyn, New York. She was the eldest of two children, herself and her brother, Alfred T. James.
Patricia was educated in the public school system in Vancouver, WA., and graduated from Hudson Bay High School in 1958. In 1958 Patricia was crowned Royalettes Princess of Portland.
Patricia attended Clark Jr. College in Vancouver, WA., Portland State University, and Portland Community College in Portland, OR, taking various classes in Oral Communication, and Administration.
In 1959 Patricia James married Henry P. Howard Jr. of Houston, TX. To this union were born Kayleen, Nyla, Jeffrey, Romund, and William Howard. In 1960, she moved to Portland, Oregon to start her new life. In 1961, she started working for Oregon Health Science University in Inpatient/Outpatient & ER. Department Admitting Coordinator where she retired as a Supervisor in June of 1999. She worked part time jobs during the holidays at Meier & Frank and Washington Mutual.
Patricia was an early member of New Hope Baptist Church under the guide and direction of Rev. Andrew Newton, which started in Vancouver, WA. in the fall of 1943. The church moved to Portland, OR. in 1957. After Rev. Newton passed away, the church experienced several changes in its leadership. Presiding currently is Pastor J. Walter Hills II.
Patricia Howard was a member of the Senior choir, Mass choir, and Women’s ministry. She was a Sunday School teacher, Food Bank Director, sponsored by New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, and Grief Ministries Leader. She always believed in God to lead and guide in her life and speak to her spirit. She always believed in what God promised. The most pronounced promise God made evident in her life, was the ability and desire to sing. What later became the Sermonettes was initially like-minded women of God with a passion to sing. Started by Dorothy Davis and her son, Terry Davis, with Dennis Knapper as the original musician. The original members were Patricia Howard, Billie McKenzie, Nancy Smith, Pearl Thomas, Barbara Perry (Stroughter), Odessa Mangum, Minnie Mosley, and later added Sheila Davis, Marva Mitchell, Judi Dials, Debra Propps, and Marla Sampson.
Members from this group later joined the James Cleveland Gospel Music Workshop of America. A Portland/Vancouver Chapter was formed of various churches and members from local surrounding areas. In 1999, the Gospel Christmas Choir was started under the Directorship of Dorothy Davis and Susan Nielsen and the Oregon Symphony. Patricia served as Admin. Assistant for the Gospel Christmas choir from 1999-2019.
Patricia also sang with the NW Community Choirs for Martin Luther King Day, and the Lift Every Voice Choir for Black History Month. Her favorite songs were ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘How Great thou Art’.
Family - Her number one priority was her children. She made sure she was always present for after school programs, sporting events, church activities, and family gatherings. Just as important to her was teaching her children to care for their grandmother, blind at age 62 and great mother, during her time of illness.
The end of the school year signaled more than the freedom from the confinement of the school yard. The end of the year to her children signaled a journey across the country to visit family or attend a family reunion. Learning while riding in the car lessons on geography, math, history of United States through its National Parks, Historic Monuments and even its most authentic people and cultures both good and bad.
Home life was full of events focused on family and community. Mom enrolled her children in a tremendous number of city funded organizations. The Howard children could be seen at Boys and Girls club, Neighborhood House, Ms. Collins, Knott Street Community Center (Matt Dishman), and the YMCA.
The Howard children created a few of their own events. All the neighborhood kids would come to her house for mom’s favorite home-made ice cream, movie night in the basement, to shoot pool, play ping pong, and roller skating. Outside there was the Go-kart club, leaf diving, tree swinging, neighborhood Olympics, and block parties. Pat loved spending time with her children for Sunday potlucks, birthday celebrations, and random breakfasts when any one of her five kids paid her a surprise visit. There were annual coastal outings in the summertime at her oldest daughters’ house on the beach in Seaside, Warrenton, Pacific City and later, Newport, Oregon.
Patricia loved spending quality time with her eight grandchildren, birthday celebrations, sporting events, and after school activities. Her grandchildren loved her very much and she knew how to make each one fill special in an individual way. She will be missed!
Friends -The core group of mom’s friends have known each other nearly their entire lives, most since the age of five. Together they served the community of Oregon and Washington, locally and nationally through a variety of events and organizations. Whether it was singing, fund raising, outreach ministries, charitable work, or Church leadership, these remarkable women and men of faith have left an undeniable statement of God’s grace towards all people. Some of her hobbies included swimming, writing, making cards, baking her famous lemon squares, and collecting recipes.
Volunteer/ Community Services and Offices held:
¨ President: Greater Northwest Admitting Managers
¨ Treasurer: American Businesswomen’s Association
¨ Mediator: Multnomah County (Volunteer)
¨ Speaker: City of Portland, Community Agent/ Child Abuse
¨ AARP Chapter Board member of Oregon
¨ Patricia loved going down to the Gospel Mission and serving food, also working with the women in shelters.
Patricia is survived by, daughters, Kayleen Williams of Newport, OR and Nyla Johnson of Portland, OR; sons, Jeffrey Howard Sr. (wife, LaCreatia) of Portland, OR., Romund H. Howard of Vancouver, WA., and William J. Howard of Seattle, WA; sisters, Robin Best (husband, Otis), Lisa Dickerson (husband, Ron), and Deborah Smith; brothers, Kevin James (wife, Sherrie) of Portland, OR, Michael Smith (wife, Klynn), and Steven Smith; seven grandchildren, Nakeva Johnson, Nakera Johnson, Alisha Howard, Jeffrey Howard Jr., Trevor Howard of Portland, OR., Meagan Howard, and Kimberly Williams of Atlanta, GA; great grandchildren, Keenan Johnson, Ashlynn McClinton, and Ashton Lewis; sister n law, Laura Howard; four uncles, two aunts, nieces, nephews, as well as many cousins, relatives and friends.
Preceeded her in death, father, Arthur T. James and mother, Sadie B. Thompson; stepfather, Paul Thompson; brother, Alfred T. James and Henry P. Howard Jr.; stepmother, Delores James; son n law, Arbra Williams; daughter n law, Sandra Howard; two granddaughters Nakecia and Nakalyn Johnson.
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