Freshman dies in car accident

Jessie Goodson, Campus Carrier News Editor

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Photo from Luke Steel Instagram
(L-R) Freshman Ted Howard, freshman Luke Steel, freshman John Wills, and senior Will Newman at a Berry football game.

Just three days prior to the start of spring semester, the Berry community mourned the fourth student to die this academic year. 

Theodore “Ted” Howard, a first-year engineering student from Gadsden, Ala., died the morning of Jan. 5 in a car accident on Ala. Highway 9 Causeway in Cedar Bluff, Ala. According to Cherokee County Coroner, Dr. Jeremy Deaton, Howard was pronounced dead at the scene. The two passengers of Howard were injured, along with the driver of the other vehicle involved. 

According to Coosa Valley News, many responders were on the scene, including Cedar Bluff Police and Fire Department, members of the Cherokee EMS, County Rescue Squad, Coroner’s Office and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. 

Arrangements for Howard were held through Collier-Butler Funeral Home in Gadsden, Ala. with the visitation from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. and the funeral at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7 (Central Standard Time).

Dean of Students Debbie Heida sent a campus-wide email the day of the accident informing students and faculty of Howard’s death. 

“As a college community that loves deeply, our hearts are broken and we grieve deeply with his parents, Ed and Elizabeth,” Heida wrote in the email.

A campus memorial took place Thursday at 4 p.m. in the College Chapel for the Berry community as well as friends and family of Howard, including his parents, Ed and Elizabeth. 

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Photo from Ted Howard Instagram
Howard’s high school graduation photo.

The campus memorial service began with a welcome from Berry College Chaplain Jonathan Huggins and music from seniors Sarah Bryan (guitar) and John Anders (piano).

“Often the best that we can do is gather like this, with the ones we love and grieve together, to share our stories and our sorrows and look up to God for comfort and help in the deepest parts of our hearts,” Huggins said.

Heida followed Huggins with scripture and the introduction of Howard’s academic advisor and BCC instructor, Truong Le. 

Le began speaking by addressing Howard’s parents with kind words. Le shared stories from his time with Howard and times in their class together. One story that stuck out to Le was a time when Howard and the rest of their class attended a dinner at Le’s home and chose things from his garden for a salad. Le described how Howard first asked for a knife to cut his portion, to prevent from harming the entire plant. Le said this event was a good identifier of Howard’s character and of how thoughtful he was. 

“I wish you, Elizabeth and Ed, and your family peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the things ahead, and loving memory of Ted, who will forever be in your heart,” Le said.

First-year student Evan Faria, Howard’s roommate and close friend, then spoke and told stories of their times together. Faria and Howard met their first week of college and had many memories together.

Faria described Ted as an all-around great person, and said that Berry wouldn’t be the same without him. 

“Ted was a guy that was always in a good mood and was seriously just one of the funniest people I’ve ever had contact with,” Faria said. “I really loved him so much.”

Although only a first-year student, friends said Howard seemed to know everyone around him. His classmate and friend Hunter Lane, spoke at the memorial and said that Howard was like “a magnet for people” and loved making friends. 

“I only knew Ted for just a few short months, but it felt like I knew him for years,” Lane said. 

After Howard’s advisor and friends, his father, Ed Howard, spoke. 

“Ted’s mom, Beth, and I continue to be amazed and astounded and so grateful for all the outpouring of love we’ve had the last few weeks,” Howard opened with.

Howard’s father began with kind words to the Berry community and expressed how grateful he was to see so many people from Howard’s college. He went on to speak of his time with Howard and how proud he and his wife Elizabeth were of their son. 

“Beth and I have known that Teddy was the most wonderful thing to walk the earth since the day the Lord put him in our hands, but it’s so cool to hear it from other people,” Howard said.

Howard ended with telling the Berry community not to be afraid of thinking about his son, and that his passing was a part of a larger plan.

“When you think of him, don’t be afraid to think of him,” Howard said. “Don’t be afraid to cry.”

Songs were led and sung throughout the service, including “Come Thou Fount,” “It Is Well with My Soul” and “Amazing Grace.” Huggins ended in prayer and benediction. 

Howard’s death impacted many people in the Berry community, from all parts of Howard’s experience. Senior Will Newman, Howard’s first-year mentor, attended both the funeral service in Gadsden and the campus service. 

“It’s been hard not only losing a mentee, but also seeing how his loss has affected others I know,” Newman said.

Newman said that a large portion of their BCC class were greatly affected by Howard’s death and seeing them smiling has been a large part of his reassurance. 

First-year student Luke Steel, a close friend of Howard’s and his BCC classmate, described Howard as his first college friend. 

“It’s really sent home the fact that you’re not invincible,” Steel said. “It didn’t seem like he would leave so soon.”

Steel said that Howard was always in a good mood, and was always passionate about enjoying himself, even at the expense of looking cool. 

“It’s hard to think about him and think about stuff we were going to do, when he’s not there to do it anymore,” Steel said. 

Howard’s death has left an emptiness in many parts of Berry’s community. He was passionate about friends, engineering, basketball and the college’s rowing team. His presence on campus will be missed, and his memory will last forever in the lives of his classmates, teammates, mentors and friends. 

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