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William R. (Bill) Howard
Posted by: Bob Reed (
Date: January 18, 2009 10:04PM

William R. (Bill) Howard, (86) formerly of Winston-Salem, and former President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont Airlines passed away on Saturday, January 17 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville Georgia. He was born on May 26, 1922 in Wheatland, Wyoming as the son of Bert and Jane Howard.

He spent his childhood years in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, learned to fly at age 16 and then served in the Eighth Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, he attended George Washington University, where he earned both undergraduate and Law degrees.
In 1952, he married his college sweetheart, Lucy Moore of Greensboro, Georgia and together they raised three sons.

Upon graduation in 1956, he was hired by the Gambrell Law Firm, and assigned to work with Eastern Airlines in New York City. In 1967, he resigned from the firm and went to work for Eastern Airlines as Legal Council and Vice President of Legal Affairs. In the ensuing years, he rose to the position of Executive Vice President with Eastern before leaving in 1978 to join Piedmont Airlines as Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs.

Howard led Piedmont through its most dramatic growth, leading it from a regional carrier to its status as a major U.S. airline serving the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and London, England. In 1984, Piedmont was named the “Airline of The Year” by Air Transport World Magazine and was often cited as the most successful U.S. airline in the post-deregulation environment. He treasured his years with Piedmont and was humbled by the loyalty and kindness of the Piedmont family.

Howard received numerous personal honors and awards during his career, including
Alumnus Of The Year by George Washington University and C.E.O. of the year by Financial World Magazine. He also served on the Board of Directors of a number of companies including Wachovia Bank, Republic Steel and First Travel Corp.

After retiring from Piedmont, Howard assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer of Trans World Airlines, and was later involved in numerous business ventures both within and outside the travel industry.

In addition to his passion for aviation, he had a great love for sports cars, antique automobiles, ham radio, boating, motorcycles, electronics and playing the organ that remained with him to his last days. He also enjoyed traveling the world, auto racing and watching pro football.

He is survived by his three sons, Thomas Howard and wife Stacy Chrysson Howard of Lewisville, NC,. Rev. David Howard and wife Deanna Coggin Howard of Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and William Howard, Jr. and his wife Allison Howard of Newnan, Georgia. In addition, he leaves eight grandchildren including Pfc Thomas Howard, Timothy Howard, Caroline Howard, Dylan Bush, Lucy Howard, Margaret Howard, Meagan Bush and Connor Howard.

He is predeceased by his parents and his loving wife Lucy.

The family will receive visitors at the Vogler Funeral Home, Reynolda Road, Winston- Salem, North Carolina from 6 to 8 pm Tuesday, January 20. A Service of Celebration and Remembrance will take place at 2 pm, Wednesday, January 21 at the Vogler’s Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Freeman officiating. Internment will follow at Forsyth Memorial Park.

A gathering of family and friends will take place after the internment from 4 to 7 pm at The Village Inn Golf and Conference Center, 6205 Ramada Drive, Clemmons, North Carolina 27012.

Memorials may be sent to The American Cancer Society

Robert H. Reed, Curator
2150 Country Club Road, Suite 235
Winston-Salem, NC 27105
Web Site:

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