When I was eleven years old I was blessed to have Rebecca Howerton come into my life. She taught me that dedicated hard work would take me far in life. I might not have recognized it then, but her English class lessons were the start of a career in teaching English to non-native speakers. She taught grammar at a time when it was rapidly being cut from most classrooms as a subject. I always thought her classes were hard, and wished we would sometimes get a break from all the studying. I wish now I had emphasized more how grateful I was for the knowledge she imparted to me over the years I have known her as my middle school English teacher, church mentor, and friend. She struck a deal with my mother. My mother asked her if she could provide a ride for me and my brother to school in the mornings. This enabled my mother to work at our family cattle ranch, and work on her graduate degree. Rebecca agreed, with the stipulation that I would learn how to drive the back roads to school. I was eleven years old. I credit her for teaching me how to be a safe driver, and am grateful for the many years of driving practice I received in her car. She oftentimes would regale me with stories on the way to school of her dedication to hard work, and the fun things she enjoyed doing in life. I learned many interesting tidbits; for instance, in addition to her English teaching degree, she had a master’s degree in Dance. Her favorite dance was the Salsa. I also learned that she worked as a seamstress, at the family gas station, and as an English teacher when she was younger. She said she oftentimes worked until 2 am, and then awoke at 5 am to start the next day’s work. She pointed out that it was just something you did! I came to see that as a normal way of life!
Outside of the classroom she taught me what it meant to be a volunteer for the community, and the church. She was always, even while working, active in community events. Her dedication to the church choir at Trinity led me to be a member for many years, and inspired me to serve others as she had served the church and our community. Every Thursday she would round up all the youth she had recruited for choir and teach us the art of singing. Those singing experiences deepened my faith, and were such a blessing to me, and the other youth who sang in church.
Her work on Keep Blanco Beautiful, the town’s history museum, volunteering at the library, and serving on city council are some of the many blessings our town has received from her dedicated volunteer spirit. She always seemed to know who needed a helping hand and provided assistance with whatever means necessary. As my friend, I knew she always needed a project to keep her busy. I would sometimes joke she might want to retire! She pointed out that Blanco needed her! I and, I am sure, Blanco could definitely agree on that! She will be missed, but her legacy will continue through her work on Keep Blanco Beautiful and our town’s history museum.