Howell G. Simerly, 95

Howell G. Simerly, age 95, passed peacefully, at home, Saturday, March 5, 2022, surrounded by most of his faithful family of four generations. He was born in Williamsburg, Kentucky, After the early death of his father, Howell and his mother lived with his Aunt Ruth & Uncle Luther Gregory in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains where he was treated like a son and brother to them. When Howell’s cousins enlisted in the service during WWII, Howell did the same. At age 17, he received permission from his mother to join the U.S. Navy which further sharpened his character as a young man. Decades later he flew home with Honor Air of Knoxville, giving him the hero’s welcome he so richly deserved. It became one of his fondest memories. Howell’s greatest treasure was family. He and Katherine Younce married in 1952 at First Methodist of Alcoa. After which, Howell and his young bride moved to Oak Ridge, “The Secret City.” There he began a nearly 40-year career at Y-12. He started out as an electrician and ascended to serving as a Plant Shift Superintendent before retiring. Countless friends and co-workers benefited from his wisdom, quick wit, patience, and professionalism.

Upon moving to Oak Ridge, they welcomed their first child, Steven, a daughter, Cynthia, and another son, Timothy. Nothing brought him more pleasure than spending time with his devoted loved ones, especially years later when the joy of grandparenting came. Howell was a 71-year member of Prudentia Masonic Lodge #719 F&AM of Alcoa and a committed member & servant for the Lord at Kern Memorial Methodist Church. After a friend begged him to fill in for a small part in the play, “George Washington Slept Here”, he enjoyed a brief career as a Thespian in Blount County at the historic Capital Theater. He was also a member of the Maryville Marvels doing several other small plays. Howell was a founding member of the Anderson County Rescue Squad and was instrumental to starting the Roane County Squad.

He was a beloved and respected Boy Scout Master. His troops hiked & camped the trails in GSMNP that were dear to his childhood and Philmont in New Mexico. He enjoyed gardening for the pleasure of sharing the bounty with others, camping, and hiking. He believed nothing was more therapeutic than a view where you can see tomorrow, to hear a mountain stream and waterfall, or sit around a campfire at dusk listening for the first call of a whippoorwill. He was also an excellent woodworker, taught stained glass at Roane State Community College, was a long-term volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in both physical labor & administration, and for years enjoyed working the election polls at Glenwood. His cornbread was legendary for the Kern Wednesday night dinners or for taking to his fellow poll workers. For years he delivered a pot of beans and cornbread to the volunteers at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sponsored by United Way of Anderson.

Howell was preceded in death by his parents, Howell Simerly & Edith Ames.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of nearly 70 years, Katherine Simerly; children, Steven Simerly & wife, Debra, Cynthia S. Tucker & husband, Greg, and Timothy; grand & great-grandchildren, Amy Howren (Mya, Reese, and Crew); Ashleigh Tucker (Julian) James Simerly and step-grandson, Dr. Kevin King.

The family wishes to thank the home health care team from PCM. It’s hard not to develop a close relationship with the ones who cared for your physical and emotional needs. Their professionalism and personal attention made their loved one’s illness more comfortable to live with. The family requests, in memory of Howell, to do something kind for someone. His motto was “Give while your hands are still warm”.

In lieu of flowers, you may make contributions to the memorial garden at Kern Memorial United Methodist Church, Habitat of Humanity, the Children’s Museum, Honor Air, or the charity of your choice. Due to the pandemic & family illness, a private family service will be held. Interment will be at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life will be held at Kern Memorial Methodist Church in the near future. Online condolences may be left at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Howell, please visit our floral store.

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