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Remembering Jed

By Sharon McIntire Exploring the intricacies of JedHoward’s life is like gazing ata multifaceted diamond. Not only are there surprising new facets each time you turn it, but each one sparkles with abrilliance that reflects Howard’s innovative and creative genius.Many admired him as a teacher. Most of us knew him as a historian. Some enjoyed playing bridge with him. Others shared his love for the outdoors. But he didn’t just teach; he didn’t just collect tidbits of local interest; he didn’t just play a decent game of cards; he didn’t stroll through the park. In each of those areas, and in so many more, he not only excelled, but offered innovativeideas to enhance the experience.Jared Franklin Howard was born in Carlsbad in 1934 and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1952. Prior to pursuing a career in education, he dabbled in engineering, participating in a cooperative work program between the White Sands Missile Range and what was then New Mexico A&M College, near Las Cruces. At college hereceived not one degree but three: BS in Science from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; MA in History and Social Sciences andsecondary teaching certificate (NMSU); and a second MA in Humanities from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM.In addition, he served briefly in the Air Force as Reserve Second Lieutenant.He began teaching ninth grade social studiesat the new Carlsbad Middle School in 1962.Two years later he transferred to the social studies department at Carlsbad High School,challenging students-sometimes with morethan 70 in an individual class -until his retirement in 1999.In Mr. Howard’s Problems of Democracy classstudents didn’t learn from a textbook –they learned from life. They were required to read and report on current events gleaned from newspaper and magazine accounts. Then they debatedthe problems presented in those reports. Not content with renovating the social studies curriculum, Howard sponsored the CHS Student Council, setting up a system of campaign and voting that mirrored our national democratic-republic. In addition, he established Los Pobres to encourageintellectual pursuits by CHS’s most gifted students,as well as a cooperative interactive program,in cooperation with the Carlsbad Rotary Club,designed to encourage more active leadership by students holding officialpositions in CHS’s organizations and clubs.On the lighter side, Howard started the magicalwinter prom, Sno Ball, as well as Walapurgolopus, an alternative activity for those who didn’t attend the spring prom. Not all students, or parents, liked him. He demanded from his students as much as he was willing to give, and that was too much for some. In 1978 there was a student/parent revolt, demanding an alternative to his taxing demands. But he continued with his unique approach until he retired, earning him a loyal following during his 37-year teaching career.But that’s only a small glimmer of the diamond’s rays. A dedicated backpacker, he took his passion for teachingto the Guadalupe Mountains and,from the 1960s through the 1980s, introduced a generation of students to that area’s beauty. During those trekshe developed a love for the Texas Madrone, an unusual species of tree that exists in New Mexico only in the Guadalupe Mountainsand in the Organ Mountains outside of Las Cruces. He engaged the enthusiasm of the Carlsbad Rotary Club, of which he was a member, and that organization sold and planted over 300 smallMadronesaround Carlsbad as a club beautification project.After retiring from teaching, Howard turned his intellect and curiosity to the challenge of duplicate bridge. Sally Liddell Miller recalls, “I played bridge with Jed. He was an excellent player –he was an aggressive player. Plus, he had a very dry sense of humor.” That can come in very handy during a tense card gamewith an aggressive player.But perhaps the greatest, certainly the most lasting, ray of light shone on his historical work. In 1985 he began collecting photographs of our area’s local history. As witheverything he did, it came to consume him. Eventually he had over 20,000 photographs, including those from the collections of Robert Nymeyer, Ginger West, Dale Sedgewick, and Ray V. Davis-which he painstakingly catalogued. He spent the remainder of his life filling hiswebsite,,with those meticulously cataloged photographs, making Carlsbad one of the best documented communities in America.Other glitteringfacetsof this diamond werehis innumerablecollections. Among, but not all, ofthe things he collected were classical music recordings, stamps, frogs, Christmas ornaments (he decorated the Carlsbad Foundation’s Christmas tree everyyear) pewter chess sets, paintings of local artists, and even a collection of over 160 cigarette packages!And books? Of coursehe collected books! Not only collected them, but travelled to virtually every American city seeking pristine copies of the 300-book series of classics published by the Heritage Press between 1936 and 1964. Having ultimately compiled three of these collections, he gifted one to Grace Episcopal Church in memory of his friend, Mary Frances Merchant, and one to Carlsbad’s Temple Beth El, in memory of his mother Frieda.Here is a list of some ofthis diamond’smany other slivers of light:Carlsbad DeMolay Chapter,1965-1970. He became the Chapter Dad in 1965and in his five-year tenure took the organization toa rank of third at theinternational level.Carlsbad Museum and Fine Arts Center Board of Directors, 1999-2000. Carlsbad Foundation Board of Directors,2001-2002.Carlsbad Community Concert Board of Directors,1999-2005. For many of these years, he personally funded its annual free concert for CHS students. New Mexico Natural History Museum,Albuquerque, 2002-2005.Southeastern New Mexico Historical Society,1998-2013, to whom he willed his house and possessions.And some of his most cherished awards included:New Mexico Endowment for the Arts: Excellence in the Humanities, 1997Carlsbad Foundation: Carlsbad’s Humanitarian of the Year, 2005National Daughters of the American Revolution: Historic Preservation Medal, 2009.Jed Howard has made it impossible for us to ever forget him andthe invaluable contributions he hasmade to our children, to our community, and to our history. But just in case you do forget, travel north to Ocotillo Elementary School where he encircles the school property on the road called Jed Howard Loop.What an appropriate place for this jewel to shine into eternity.

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