Obituary / Mark Howell

Key West has lost one of its greatest writers, columnist, humorist, and overall huge personality.

Mark Howell died on the last day of March. Mark was one of the people who made the Island what it used to be: humored, genially free of cant, and subversive in support of the civilized. An award-winning journalist, Mark wrote for many years in Key West for Solares Hill, the distinguished countercultural weekly, ultimately succeeding David Ethridge as its editor. A transplanted Britisher, he graduated Trinity College, Cambridge with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, gaining in the process the best of the British high culture without its snobbery: much of his reason for coming to America was for its inherent lack of a caste system.

Mark’s capacity for affection was limitless. He was always a presence, responding to and influencing everyone around him. During his time in college, as a close friend wrote, “Mark unfolded the people we could be, but had not previously managed to be.” He dealt with the world with a strong, though casual, competency. He and his family survived a hurricane flood by escaping to the roof of their house and hosted a dinner party the next evening on card tables in their yard.

He died as he had lived, everyone’s friend. We are going to miss him.

He leaves behind his wife Jan, as well as much-loved children, grandchildren, brother, nieces, nephews, previous wives, and many, many friends.