Alma Howell Miller, former first lady of Texas A&M University, died Monday, May 22, in Bryan, Texas. She was 88.
She had deep American and Texan roots. Her Dutch and English ancestors arrived in the United States in the early 17th century (New Amsterdam Surry County, Virginia. Her English antecedents settled in Virginia in the early seventeenth century. A fifth generation Texan, she was descended from the first Anglo child born in the Austin Colony of pre-revolutionary Texas.
The youngest of six children Alma Howell was born at Fields Store, Texas on January 10, 1929, just after her twin brother, Scott. She often joked that as the youngest girl and twin of the family’s only boy, she went almost unnoticed for several years. She attended local schools and graduated from Waller High School. An excellent and active student, she was also a gifted singer and pianist. That interest took her to Sam Houston State Teacher’s College in Huntsville where she graduated in 1950 with a B.S. in education and music education. For the next few years she taught in public schools In Houston, Waller, and West Lafayette, Indiana. She later attended West Texas State Teacher’s College (now West Texas A&M) in Canyon, receiving a Master’s in Education in 1955.
She married Jarvis E. Miller in 1952. She said she had the honor and privilege to be in a volunteered partnership in all of Jarvis’s endeavors for 65 years. His early career in the Agency for International Development took them abroad to Argentina and the Dominican Republic.
They settled in the Bryan-College Station area in 1955 and joined A&M Methodist Church, where she became a deeply faithful congregant and servant-leader. Alma taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and was a member of the church choir for almost six decades. She also served on the board of directors of the Wesley Foundation.
She was also a long-time volunteer and leader in civic organizations. A lifelong member of P.E.O, she served as president of her local chapter. Her devotion to the arts and music made her a leader in the Brazos County arts community. She became an organizing member of the Brazos Symphony Orchestra and a charter member of the Guild of the Opera and Performing Arts Society. She also served on the Arts Council of Brazos County and the Friends Association of the Symphony Orchestra. She was also a knowledgeable and enthusiastic docent for the Governor’s Mansion when Jarvis was in Austin serving as head of the Office of Budget and Planning for Governor William P. Clements, Jr.
From 1977 to 1980 she served with grace, dignity, and unfailing cheer as First Lady of Texas A&M University. An Aggie wife, mother, and grandmother, she was especially active in the A&M Mothers’ Club. She was named an honorary life member of the Federation of Texas A&M Mothers’ Clubs and attended every semi-annual meeting for thirty-five years.
Her principal dedication in life was to her husband of sixty-five years and her family of four daughters. She was tireless in her promotion of their well-being and education. Later in life she transferred that loving devotion to her seven grandchildren. She was known to have never missed a birthday or anniversary celebration. Her greatest joy came when the entire family gathered in Bryan every Christmas.
Alma Miller is survived by her husband, Jarvis; sister Leola Wright and brother Scott Howell (Charlotte); daughters Susan Hult (Dennis), Kathleen Gibson (Robert), Margaret Moten (Mat), and Carolyn McCully (Brett); and grandchildren Catherine Gibson, Sarah Gibson, Kristofer Hult, Laura Hult, Michael Winthrop, Stephanie Moten, and Marshall Moten.
Alma was preceded in death by her parents, A. Scott Howell and Alma Sorsby Howell; sisters Mae Lee Howell, Florelle Gilbert (Olen), and Dorothy Lloyd.
The family would like to give special thanks to her devoted physician, Dr. David Hackethorn, as well as Sister Saint Anthony, Anthony Ughetti, and the compassionate, dedicated, and caring healthcare professionals at St. Joseph’s Manor and Hospice Brazos Valley.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Organ Fund of A&M United Methodist Church, 417 University Dr. College Station, TX 77840; Hospice Brazos Valley, 502 W. 26th Street, Bryan, TX 77803; or Federation of A&M Mother’s Clubs, P.O. Box 1443, College Station, TX 77842.
A time of visitation for friends and family will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at Callaway-Jones Funeral Center in Bryan. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Thursday, May 25, at A&M United Methodist Church in College Station. A private interment will take place at the Aggie Field of Honor. Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers of Bryan College Station, Texas.Print This Obituary