North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

June 3, 2009

Gardendale senior had long career with L&N Railroad

Senior Spotlight By Margie Holloway

Special to The North Jefferson News

Howard McIntyre, 93, was born in Evergreen and has lived in Gardendale for many years.

It only seems right to refer to this gentleman as Howard, rather than Mr. McIntyre, because you feel you have known him forever after only spending a few minutes with him.

It doesn’t surprise me that Howard “fell in love at first site” and eventually married Martha Evelyn Pitts. They both attended Gardendale school at the time they met. Their marriage lasted 66 years, six months and one day. They have one daughter, Alice, who lives one block away from him.

As he was growing up, his life was filled with working a garden and playing ball for the schools he attended. He graduated from Mortimer Jordan High School.

He worked for the L&N; Railroad and the WPA (Works Progress Administration) as an adult. Work ethic was important to him as he started at the bottom and continued to climb up at L&N;, before retiring from the mechanical department.

On this particular day, he had a very nice belt buckle from L&N; which I noticed right away. He is proud to have been associated with the railroad.

After a long work career, Howard is all about fun these days. His favorite past-time is dominoes. There was a friend anxiously waiting for our meeting to end so that he could get to the game. I asked him what his favorite meal was and he replied, “food is food,” adding “I’ll eat home food,” especially fried chicken.

I had just left a dental visit ( he of course did not know this) and he remarked to me, “I have all my own teeth.” Very impressive, but I had to laugh because he just didn’t know how I envied someone with great teeth.

I had a few more questions, when someone across the room yelled, “He’s a Romeo,” which I understood completely.

His favorite trip was to an Alabama State Park with his wife and some friends many years ago. We couldn’t decide which park, but it was a great time; he said he will never forget.

You can find Howard at the Gardendale Senior Center most of the time. He has several nicknames, one of which is “Roo” (kangaroo) because he carries cookies around in his pocket. He loves cookies and hides them in his shirt pocket for a snack later in the afternoons.

Everyone at the center loves him, and he loves everyone. I enjoyed talking with Howard and watching people react with him.

I will consider this a very memorable experience for a very ordinary Tuesday. Thanks, Howard.