Myra Elizabeth Howe

Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010

Myra Elizabeth Howe of Juneau died Aug. 10, 2010, at home, after a short bout with cancer. She was photographer, educator, counselor, traveler, philanthropist, advocate of the arts, mentor, hiker, gourmet cook, and community volunteer.

Born in July, 1942, in Richmond, Va, she spent her childhood in New York, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. She attended Sidwell Friends School (Class of 1960), Indiana University (AB 1964), and University of Oregon (MA 1972, PhD 1977).

In the 1970s Myra spent summers exploring Alaska's back country. She moved to Anchorage in 1977, doing special education work in Aleutian, Yukon, and other remote villages. She began work in Juneau with the Southeast Regional Resource Center the following year, eventually heading the special education services at SERRC. Myra served as head of Special Education for the State of Alaska from 1994 until retirement in 1997.

Myra enjoyed photography from the age of 14, taking photos across Alaska and the world, most recently focusing on flowers of Gastineau Ridge in Juneau for an identification book. Travels included wilderness river trips in Alaska, Earthwatch trips, treks in the Himalayas, and exploratory trips in Russia, China and Europe.

Her service included participation in Gastineau Rotary Club, the Unitarian Fellowship, and chairing the Bartlett Hospital Board for two years. She worked on the "Sister Cities" project which tied Juneau and Whitehorse to projects in Vladivostok and the Philippines. She helped start the Mount Roberts Stewardship Program in 1997, supported the Bald Eagle Research Institute in Haines, helped initiate an endowed chair for eagle research at University of Alaska Southeast, supported the Auke Lake Trail at UAS, volunteered at the Juneau Douglas City Museum, and mentored many young professionals. During several winters in southern California, she volunteered at a local Nature Center, and continued her development as a photographer of flowers.

Myra married Duane Callahan June 10, 1994. She is survived by husband Duane, canine companions Howie and Cal, and brother John Howe of Gaithersburg, Md. A celebration of her life will be held at Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center in Juneau at 5 p.m. Nov. 6.

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