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Howard Meredith

Oklahoman Published: May 12, 2003
Obituaries/Death Notices

MEREDITH Howard Meredith was a fortunate man. He was proud to have been born in Galveston, Texas on May 25, 1938 and to have enjoyed a wonderful childhood in Texas City. To the end, he remained close to those classmates. He attended the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in 1961. From there he went to Stephen F. Austin for his Master's Degree (1963) and then on to the University of Oklahoma where he earned his Doctorate in History and American Indian Studies in 1970. There he met Mary Ellen Milam, who in 1967 became his wife. During his studies, he began dancing with the Caddos which led to connections he would later work with on two of his acclaimed books and several projects. Howard taught at Kentucky Wesleyan College from 19671971. They then moved to New York City from where he traveled throughout the United States doing Administrative Indian Work for the Episcopal Church. Upon returning to Oklahoma, he worked for the Oklahoma Historical Society where he established the Historic Preservation Office, as the Dean of Students at Bacone College in Muskogee, and in 1983, he began teaching at the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma where he became the Head of Indian Studies. There he found and gave inspiration to many of the Native American students and others, and got to do what he loved working with Indian people. Throughout his career, he had published ten books, numerous articles and reviews. He and his wife co-authored three books and in 1998, they brought out a reprint of a book he had written with his sister-in-law, Virginia Elizabeth "Betsy" Sobral. The family publishing company, Noski Press, brought out Cherokee Vision of Elohi, illustrated by his daughter, America Meredith. In his most recent years, he had become involved in the Clemente Humanities Courses, and had begun working with various tribes to begin their own versions including the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Kiowas, Caddos and Wichitas. He was deeply committed to the Oklahoma Committee on Indian Work, the American Indian Hall of Fame in Anadarko, the Chisholm Trail Corral of Westerners International, the Cherokee National Historical Society and the Pan-American Indian Humanities Center. His work with the various tribes throughout the Americas meant more to him then any other work he did and it was his hope that others would do all the work he felt he could not do. Howard struggled with various health challenges, and in February, he was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach and esophagus. He had begun treatment at M. D. Anderson in Houston where he received world class treatment through the end of his life. He passed away peacefully on the afternoon of May 8th in the presence of his wife, one of his children, two nurses and an Episcopal priest who had prayed with him both before and after. He is survived by his wife Mary Ellen, two daughters, Mary America Lynn Meredith and Samonia Catheryne Lee Meredith Pope, son-in-law Rep Clay Pope, and step grandchildren, William Alexander and Anna Catherine Pope. He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Lillian Meredith of Texas City and his son Thomas Marshall Rogers Meredith (1994). Funeral arrangements are being made by the Hahn Cook Street & Draper Funeral Home. The funeral services will be held at St Paul's Cathedral (7th & Robinson in downtown Oklahoma City) on Tuesday, May 13th at 10:00 a.m. Burial will take place at the Chelsea Cemetery on Wednesday, May 14th at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Howard L. Meredith fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1146, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73101-1146.

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