The Finish Line: A Memorial Fund in Honor of the Life of Tim Howland
Whenever we need a few simple words to capture Tim’s amazing time on earth, we use “A Short Sweet Life”. His life was just that, so much accomplished, so many wonderful experiences, so many friends, all in 25 years that seemed to fly by. Tim died in Ensenada, Mexico, from the effects of a fall on board a Carnival Cruise ship. He and 15 high school friends had planned a reunion of sorts and had taken a short cruise out of Long Beach, California. It seemed like a great idea at the time. A festive occasion in a safe, controlled environment. That was not the case. At the time of Tim’s death he was teaching and coaching at Van Nuys High School, where I was also a teacher. Tim was loved by his students and his success as a track coach was stunning. He worked mostly with the field event athletes and the hurdlers, events he had done himself so successfully at South Pasadena High School and at Colorado State University. Tim’s death caused an eerie quiet throughout Van Nuys High School. Students and faculty could not believe that this wonderful teacher and coach was gone. At home family and friends, and many of Tim’s friends, came to our aid. We had a constant stream of friends and family coming to check on Judy and me. Tim’s brothers Heath and Whitney, my brothers Tim and Ralph, my mother Dorothy, and cousins Bill and Pat Skeel, were so helpful and good to us
Finally with the help of Compassionate Friends, an international support group, and just the plain old passage of time, Judy and I began to get back on our feet. We wanted to ensure that Tim would be remembered, and we found ways to do that. Grief is an intense and near-crippling focus on one’s own loss. For us, healing only began to happen when we learned to look outside ourselves. We started by committing random “Tim acts of kindness” each day, and we stepped it up on his death day, volunteering at some shelters and paying for mothers’ purchases at the Goodwill. The scholarship was born out of this outreach. At first it was awarded to a college bound senior and standout track athlete at Van Nuys High School. The other quality the recipient had to have was leadership ability and an awareness of the team aspect of track. Tim’s own track career at South Pasadena High was storied. He was a four – year letterman and most valuable athlete his junior and senior years. He was a multi-event athlete, often placing first in high and low hurdles, long jump and high jump. HIs work-horse efforts meant the difference between winning and losing meets. The Tim Howland Memorial Scholarship was awarded for three years at Van Nuys HIgh School, and then when I retired, we moved it to Tim’s high school in South Pasadena. It has since been awarded 12 more times to both boys and girls. This year after almost giving up hope of ever hearing from any of the recipients, we got a lovely note from a young lady thanking us and wanting to know more about Tim. Wow, what a feeling! Some who visit The Finish Line will have known Tim, others not, but all who donate can share in the warm feeling that Tim’s legacy is touching lives.
Getting The Finish Line up and running means that the scholarship can expand into a true memorial fund which will continue to award the scholarship, and perhaps fund other useful causes. In order to do this, we hope to raise more money, but just as importantly, increase the number of people who participate. I know that many of Tim’s friends have no idea such a project exists, because Judy and I are not very good at promotion. Tim’s friends get together all the time to remember him, and here is a very good way to keep his memory alive. We hope when you visit this page you will consider a tax-exempt donation to The Finish Line, the Tim Howland Memorial Fund. Thank you, Tim’s Parents, Whit and Judy Howland.
- Whit Howland
- Judy Howland
- Heath Howland
CharitySmith accepts donations in two ways:
Tim Howland The Finish Line
CharitySmith Nonprofit Foundation
13100 Filly Lane
Truckee, CA 96161
Use credit card by clicking the link below.
The above Memorial Fund is established as a division of Charitysmith Nonprofit Foundation (EIN 87-0636433). All donations are
For questions regarding your donation or this memorial fund please contact CharitySmith.