Henry Sawyer, later a faculty member for over 50 years, was then in the senior class. As he recounted at the time of the School’s 50th anniversary (Duncan, p. 52):*
The day that Mr. Morse announced to us at lunch that Dr. Howe had died was one I will never forget. It was somewhat analogous to the news of the death of John Kennedy to a more recent school body. I don’t think many of us knew that Dr. Howe was sick enough to be near death. Somehow we finished that meal in stunned silence, wondering how his son and our friend , Dick, would take this shock. That afternoon the boarders spent reading quietly in their rooms or walking someplace.
The medical progression of Dr. Howe’s illness is described in a letter dated January 29, 1932, from his personal physician, Dr. Charles H. Lawrence, to Dr. George C. Shattuck, Dr. Howe’s Harvard 1901 classmate, best friend, and Dick Howe’s godfather, hence Uncle George to the Howe family. After Dr. Howe’s death, Uncle George paid off the mortgage on 49 Tyler Road, facilitating the conversion of the back wing, originally a dormitory, into a home for Dick and his mother.
Dr. Shattuck, for many years a professor at Harvard Medical School, was a pioneer in the field of tropical medicine (https://www.masshist.org/collection-guides/view/fa0099). The story may be apocryphal, perhaps invented for the entertainment of his godson, but Dick Howe always recounted it as absolutely true. On returning from a trip to administer to natives in a foreign land, Uncle George reported that while being escorted in single-file down a jungle trail by a band of local warriors, he at one point turned around to find himself face-to-face with a native holding his spear high as if planning to thrust it into the good doctor’s back. Happily the incident passed and Uncle George lived to tell the tale, true or not.
Another of Dr. Howe’s Harvard classmates, Rev. Dr. Samuel S. Drury, legendary Rector of St. Paul’s School, wrote the obituary that appeared in the Harvard Alumni Bulletin (Feb. 19, 1932):
*Roger F. Duncan, The Story of Belmont Hill School, 1923-1973 (Thomas Todd, 1973).