Johnny Graham Howorth
1934 - 2021
Dove-Witt Family Mortuary
6630 South US Highway
Fountain, CO

Johnny Graham


March 24, 1934

December 10, 2021


Johnny Graham Howorth was born on March 24, 1934, on a farm in Scott County, Mississippi, to John Calvin and Myrtis Christine (Brown) Howorth. The young couple, who were leading a difficult sharecropper life during the Great Depression. Johnny was welcomed by both of them as a new start and hope for the future. In his early years, Johnny's parents moved to several cities in the deep south where his father worked in construction, and in 1939 to the Louisiana coast, where his father started a 45-year career with Gulf Oil Corporation. In 1941, Gulf transferred the Howorths to the little town of Wickett in the burgeoning West Texas oil fields. Johnny lived in Wickett until 1952, when he graduated from nearby Monahans High School, where he was a popular student, elected Captain of the football team and voted by his classmates as Most Handsome. Throughout his school years, Johnny set a high standard for his two little brothers, Jerry and Maxie, to follow. He put himself through college at Texas Western (now UTEP) in El Paso, by working full-time at KROD-TV, the first television broadcast station in that city. He earned his degree, completed ROTC and upon graduation was commissioned an officer in the United States Army. He again served as a role model for his two younger brothers who both followed in his footsteps working at KROD and earning their degrees from Texas Western. He also became a Mason in 1957 and maintained that membership for life.

Johnny had a distinguished career in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel while serving in multiple specialties in the United States, Germany, Vietnam, and Iran. He returned from assignment in Germany in 1968 with a new wife, Anna Maria, and daughter Martina. He originally was in the Field Artillery but he soon transitioned to the Air Defense Artillery where he had the opportunity to work at NORAD both in Colorado Springs and in Washington State. One of his duties as the public affairs officer found him locking horns with Walther Cronkite of NBC news when NORAD accidentally put on the wrong drill tape and declared a national emergency. He often traveled with the NORAD band all over Colorado and the Pacific Northwest supporting military entrance programs. Most of his career was spent in Colorado Springs. During his time there he also served two tours of duty with Military Assistance Command – Vietnam, earning two Bronze Star medals. He held many awards and accolades and was well liked by everyone. He used to joke to his daughter that she thought he worked in a factory, that is until she followed in his footsteps also achieving the rank of LTC in the Army.

During his tour in Iran, 1976 to 1978, he contracted lymph and colon cancer and had to be medically transported to Walter Reed Army hospital for multiple surgeries in Washington DC. They left in December of 1978 just before the insurrection in Iran in January of 1979 where many military officers were killed. He was an advisor there to the Military Advisory and Assistance Group and later help safeguard some close friends and their children by allowing them refuge in his home.

Not knowing what the future held for his health, Johnny moved his family back to Colorado to their home in Widefield and performed extensive renovations on their own. Johnny loved woodworking and could often be found in his workshop coming up with new projects for around the house and later fun things such as curio cabinets, bird houses and quilt racks.

Johnny lived over 40 years in retirement, more than most of us can dream of. He loved football and although originally a Dallas Cowboys fan, later supported the more winning teams. He also attended many Army vs. Navy and USAF games. He loved fishing and often took his family in their camper up to the many lakes, streams and reservoirs Colorado had to offer. He and his wife often traveled to new places and spent time at their timeshares in Colorado, Florida and Tennessee. Up until the end he loved watching Western movies. Much like his idol, John Wayne, he was a quiet, strong and forthright man. He was a great friend to all and always there with a helping hand.

Although Johnny was otherwise healthy at the age of 87, he quickly succumbed to advanced Parkinson's, an emergency colon surgery and aspiration Pneumonia. He passed away serenely on December 10 2021 at his home in The Villages, Florida. He lived with his daughter there for two years after his wifes passing in 2020. He enjoyed sitting on their Florida lanai looking over the pond and watching the antics of the gators, sand hill cranes and the other wildlife there. Until the end he was active taking walks around the block and living a serene quiet life. He was a sweet kind man that everyone loved.

The funeral is being held at Dove Witt funeral home in Fountain, Colorado on January 7th at 10 AM. In lieu of flowers please provide donations to the Parkinson's foundation or a charity of your choosing.

Published by The Gazette on Jan. 6, 2022.
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Dove-Witt Family Mortuary
6630 South US Highway, Fountain, CO
Funeral services provided by:
Dove-Witt Family Mortuary
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The Buckley SFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for LTC Howorth's service to our country in the Army. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley SFB at 720-847-6693. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss. Steve Young Lt Col, USAF, Ret Director, Buckley SFB RAO
Steve Young
January 9, 2022
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