Pinkney A. Howell

[Age 91] The barber and tonsorial school owner served in the House of Delegates.

May 24, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,sun reporter

Pinkney Albert "Pink" Howell, a retired barber and tonsorial school owner who was active in Democratic politics and served in the House of Delegates in the 1970s, died of heart disease May 16 at his daughter's Woodmoor area home. He was 91.

Born in Chesterfield, S.C., he was the youngest of 18 siblings. He moved to Baltimore in 1936, and three years later opened a two-chair shop in the 1700 block of E. Chase St. He later had shops on Gay Street at the old Belair Market, in Cherry Hill, at Bentalou and Baker streets, and on Pennsylvania Avenue.

He also ran a tonsorial school, and in 1947 began teaching barbering to veterans under a state Department of Education program. He did not have a high school diploma until the 1960s, when he earned one through Frederick Douglass High School. He later took classes at the University of Maryland, College Park and Loyola College.

He also wrote a course of study for barbering and was an organizer of a barbers union.

"He was the leader of the barbering industry in Baltimore," said Wayman Lefall, who owns a barbershop on Edmondson Avenue. "He was a role model for many."

Mr. Howell, who enjoyed sports, organized teen baseball leagues at Easterwood and Druid Hill parks.

He became active in Democratic politics in the mid-1960s and managed Clarence W. Blount's unsuccessful 1967 City Council campaign. Mr. Howell ran unsuccessfully for the council in 1971.

In 1973, the Democratic Central Committee for what was then the 5th Legislative District named Mr. Howell to a vacated House of Delegates seat. He won election to a full term in 1974 but lost in the primary election four years later.

Mr. Howell was a past president of the Five-in-Five Democratic Club and was active in the old Model Cities Agency.

He was a co-founder of the Pioneer Rod and Gun Club, a Baltimore-based organization with a clubhouse in Dorchester County, and member of the Prince Hall Masons' John A. Holmes Lodge.

Services will be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Union Memorial United Methodist Church, 2500 Harlem Ave., where he taught Sunday school. A 6 p.m. family hour precedes the service.

Survivors include three daughters, Rosemary Atkinson of Baltimore, Sara Smalley of Woodmoor and Pinkie Drayton of Jacksonville, Fla.; 11 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren. His wife of 66 years, the former Sara Elizabeth Paige, died in 2005. A daughter, Olivia Alexander, died in 1972.

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