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Announcements > Remembering Old Wulfrunians > James Howe (OW 1949)

James Howe (OW 1949)

Jim Howe (OW 1949) sadly passed away on 6 July 2023, aged 91.

Jim Howe (OW 1949) sadly passed away on 6 July 2023, aged 91.

On July 6th 2023, Jim Howe, formerly of Pool Drive, Bridgnorth, aged 91 years passed away peacefully at 'Bradeney House Residential Care Home', Worfield, Nr. Bridgnorth. A former Principal Assistant (Revenue) for Wolverhampton Council he was a former Churchwarden at The Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Bridgnorth. The husband of the late Jean Howe, loving father of Tric and Andy, father-in-law of Bill and Carol, and the dear grandad of Janet, Robert and Joanna. Much loved and greatly respected within the community, Jim will be sadly missed by his Family, his friends, his former colleagues and by all those dearest to him.

Andy Howe (OW 1977)

 

James Thomas Howe (‘Jim’) was born on the 4th July 1932 at the Scotlands, Wolverhampton, to proud parents, Dolly and Jim Senior. His parents owned and ran the ‘Angel Inn’ on the High Street in Wednesfield, where Jim, along with his younger brother John lived until they left home.

His first school was Neachells Lane, and Jim left the school in 1943, gaining a place at WGS.

Jim looked back with affection on his years at the Grammar School, fondly remembering his teachers and their nicknames. Looking back, Jim admitted that he was not particularly academic, and he regretted not making the most of the education that was given at the school. However, one thing that stuck in his mind were the school dinners, which he described as being “awful” and whenever possible they were consigned to the waste bin when the supervising Master was not looking.

In 1949, Jim left school and began working life as an office Junior in the Treasurers Department at Wolverhampton Borough Council. He received his call-up papers for National Service after his 18th Birthday, and reported for basic training in October 1950 at RAF Bridgnorth. He took an RAF Accountancy Training course and had postings at Cardington; Langtoft, Wittering, and Duxford. In 1951, Jim was selected as part of the escort for the King’s Colour Squadron in a ceremonial parade in Hyde Park with Princess Elizabeth presenting colours to the RAF deputising for an ill King George VI. Jim extended the normal 2 year service into a third year (with a pay bonus.)

A week after Jim’s 21st birthday he married a local girl Jean Hinks, and they enjoyed a happy marriage of nearly 70 years, living first in Penn and Finchfield, before moving to Bridgnorth in 1978.

He returned to work in local government in Willenhall, and West Bromwich before returning to Wolverhampton BC. Having no qualifications beyond his school certificate, he studied in his spare time by correspondence for the Rating and Valuation Association examinations, which enabled him to become an Associate (ARVA) before eventually becoming a Fellow (FRVA.) These qualifications, led to promotion and he eventually progressed to be appointed as Chief Rating Officer for Wolverhampton. Jim’s active involvement in the West Midlands Branch of the RVA, was recognised as he became Branch President in 1975/76. Sadly, in the early 1980s, health issues caused Jim’s career came to a premature end, but he continued part-time work as a freelance accountant, alongside voluntary work which included serving on the PCC at St. Mary’s, Bridgnorth where he was also Church Warden.

Jim could be described as sports-mad. At WGS he achieved some success in Athletics in the sprints, long and high jump and he played a few games for the football Second team. But it was at Cricket that he thrived, as a right armed spinner, playing a full season for the school First Eleven in his final year at WGS (in what is now known as Year 11.) He continued playing football in the Town Hall team in the Wolverhampton Amateur League and he played regularly for Penn Cricket Club.

His retirement allowed him more time to follow sport. He was a member of Worcestershire CCC. As well as watching Test matches in England, he also saw England play in Australia. He attended World Cup Finals at Lords, and saw Worcestershire there in knock-out finals. Jim also amassed a large collection of cricketing memorabilia and autographs.  

Jim’s first game at Molineux in 1943 began his love of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Jim witnessed Wolves’ golden age, seeing the team win the League title on three occasions in the fifties plus the FA Cup twice. He saw international games at Wembley, and World Cup and European Championship matches at Villa Park. Jim fondly remembered the first floodlit games of the 1950s, when Wolves were dubbed ‘Champions of the World’ by the national press. He remained loyal to the Wolves in the decades that followed, despite their years of mediocre success, relegation and promotion, and dicing with oblivion in the 1980s. He  kept his season ticket right up until the mid-naughties. Even in his last few weeks Jim always asked how the Wolves were getting on, and loved to share football banter.

Neither Jean nor Jim had ever flown before their first visit to Australia in 1986, and this was the first of their many globetrotting adventures taking in Australia, New Zealand, the Far East, Southern Africa, USA and Canada. They also loved holidaying in the UK utilising Jim’s passion for driving and route finding, but they also visited France, Germany and Austria.

This also fuelled another hobby = photography – he took well over ten thousand photographic slides.

Closer to home, Jim was an enthusiast of his Black Country industrial heritage, and the age of canals and railways, and was an avid reader of the Journal of the Black Country Society and the ‘Black Country Bugle.’  Well into his seventies and early eighties Jim enjoyed walking, and completed the Shropshire Way long distance footpath. He and Jean completed the ‘Bridgnorth Walk’ for charity as part of his rehab after major surgery. To aid his fitness he also took up swimming in his seventies.

Jim’s sense of humour was always evident, and he combined his travel and photographic memories, touring church and village halls all over Shropshire and Staffordshire to present his popular slide shows with a variety of themes such as Australia, the Canadian Rockies, Pub signs, the Gunpowder plot etc. etc.

Jim was a member of ‘Wolverhampton Literature & Scientific Society’, ‘Wolverhampton Astronomy Society’, and the ‘Inn Sign Society’ and loved to attend Brass Band and Military Band concerts; and he also loved seeing The Spinners perform live and Max Boyce in concert (in fact he saw him perform at Sydney Opera House) as well as loving films and particularly Western Movies.

After he had a heart attack at 45, we were blessed with another 46 years of his life. He never once complained and he stoically “just got on with things.” His longevity is a testimony to the skill and care of the many doctors, surgeons, paramedics and nursing staff who helped him over the years - living proof of our amazing National Health Service.

He passed away after a short illness in July 2023, at Bradeney House Nursing and Care Home,Worfield, just two days after his 91st Birthday. He is survived by daughter Pat and son Andy, along with Grandchildren Jan, Rob and Jo.

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