Life Story

Leon Franklin Howell III

Obituaries in Perry, IA | Perry Chief


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Leon Franklin Howell III of Lamoni, IA, passed away surrounded by loved ones on June 10, 2022, after a difficult battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

Frank was born on October 3, 1969, to Mary Moore and Leon Franklin Howell, Jr. in Grand Rapids, MN. Frank spent his childhood years in Leon, Davis City, and Perry, IA. His Perry basketball team won a state championship his senior year. Upon graduation, Frank attended college at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, IA, where he played basketball for two years, tennis for two years and cross country for a year. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History in 1992 and his teaching certificate from Iowa State University in 1994.

Frank was the head girls basketball coach for Dallas-Center Grimes for the 1993-1994 season and then accepted a teaching job at Audubon High School where he taught and coached from 1995-2003. In 1999, his girls’ basketball team won a state championship. In 2003, Frank became a teacher and girls’ basketball coach for Cedar Rapids Washington High School until 2016. His basketball teams made six state tournament appearances, and they earned state runner-up three times.

On May 29, 2004, Frank was united in marriage to Sarah Kearney Howell at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Audubon, IA. His daughter, Meredith was born in 2007, and his daughter Natalie was born in 2009.

In 2016, Frank finished his master’s degree from UNI and was inducted into the Iowa Girls’ Coaches Association Hall of Fame. That year Frank and his family moved to Lamoni, IA, where he took on the head womens basketball position at Graceland University. He coached there for four seasons. In 2017, Frank was inducted into the Cedar Rapids Washington Hall of Fame. In 2020, he became a teacher and coach for Central Decatur High School in Leon, IA, where he coached for two years. Frank’s overall high school coaching record of wins and losses was 373-186, of which he was very proud.

Frank loved playing golf, playing his banjo, going to Bela Fleck concerts, and visiting all the gyms he could. He was an inspirational role model to so many of his students and players throughout the years. He not only taught people social studies and basketball; he taught people how to live and how to treat others.

Frank was preceded in death by his stepfather Alan. Those left to cherish his memory include his wife Sarah; daughters Meredith and Natalie; his mother, Mary Moore; his father, Frank Howell (Paula); his sisters, Elizabeth Howell and Laura Howell; his half-brother, Ricky Howell; his niece, Adrienne Howell; his brother-in-law, Drew Stage; brother-in-law Michael Kearney (Amber); his niece, Hazel; his nephew, Lane; mother-in-law Sandy Koch (Dave); father-in-law Paul Kearney (Ellen); and countless family, friends, students, and players.

A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, June 26 at 2:00 PM at The Shaw Center at Graceland University, in Lamoni, Iowa.

A second Memorial Service will be held Friday, July 1 at 2:00 PM at First Lutheran Church, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a scholarship fund for students at Graceland University or Central Decatur High School. Contact BTC Bank in Lamoni, IA, for information.

Posted online on June 14, 2022

Published in Perry Chief