[UPDATED: Monday, August, 13, 2018 at 4pm] Memorial services honoring the late William (Bill) Howard have been scheduled for Wednesday, August 15. Howard was the President of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association as well as a former senior staff member for Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected into U.S. Congress. He passed away on Sunday, August 5 at the age of 75.
Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte (District 42) posted on her Facebook page details of the two events scheduled for Wednesday that will celebrate Howard’s life. A funeral service will be held at 3pm at the Lawrence Woodward Funeral Home at 1 Troy Avenue (between Herkimer & Fulton Streets) in Bed-Stuy. A repast will follow at 6pm at Medger Evers College at 1638 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights.
Local elected officials are expressing their condolences after hearing the news of William (Bill) Howard’s passing on Sunday morning. Howard was the President of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association as well as a former senior staff member for Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected into U.S. Congress.
Originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Howard was 23 years old when when then New York State Assembly Member Chisholm hired him as her campaign finance manager in 1965, according to the New York Daily News. Chisholm became the country’s first black female member of congress in 1968, representing New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms, from 1969 to 1983.
Howard also served as Vice President for Finance at the Equitable Life Assurance Society, Deputy Trustee in the U.S. Justice Department, and was on the boards of Brooklyn’s Jewish Hospital and the City University of New York, according to the Daily News. Howard was also the first Vice President of the Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute for Children and took part in President Barak Obama’s 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony honoring Chisholm.
“I’m blessed to have had the honor to call Bill Howard a friend, an honor that so many of my neighbors across Brooklyn enjoyed over his many decades of public service,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement. “His legacy will forever be tied with that of the great Representative Shirley Chisholm, as well as that of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association. Bill’s leadership and guidance were indispensable to both of these true Brooklyn institutions, as was his role in strengthening the welfare and unity of the borough’s diverse African-American and Caribbean-American communities…. I hope this year’s Labor Day parade will be dedicated to his treasured memory.”
Saddened about the loss of Bill Howard, a man who spent his life improving Brooklyn. From years working for the great Shirley Chisholm, to his time as President of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, he left is mark on NYC. My thoughts & prayers are w/his family.
— Tish James (@TishJames) August 5, 2018
“Bill Howard was a fierce leader in Brooklyn for over 50 years,” New York City Council Majority Leader, Laurie Cumbo, said in a statement. “From his work with Shirley Chisholm to his leadership of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, he spent his life working to give back to and uplift his community…. We are greatly indebted to Bill for his tremendous work and should honor him by proudly and boldly carrying his legacy of service forward.”
Prior to his sudden passing, Howard was reportedly working on finalizing plans for this year’s West Indian American Day Carnival which begins on Friday, August 31 and continues through Labor Day, September 3, when the colorful and celebratory parade marches along Eastern Parkway.
Howard died of natural causes in his sleep at his home in Brooklyn. He was 75.