Howard T. Ennis, of northern British Columbia, passed peacefully on August 6, 2019, in the Bulkley Lodge, Smithers, at the age of 96. Born in Philadelphia on March 7, 1923, Howard grew up in Delaware. An avid reader and student of politics, Howard obtained degrees in Journalism (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) and Law (Columbia Law School, NY) and practised Law in Georgetown, Delaware, where he ran for Congress, in 1976.
Howard was fascinated by wildlife and woodcraft, and in the traditions of native peoples in the US and Canada. After serving in the US Navy during the Second World War, he obtained a grant from the Canadian film board and filmed Mr. Ben Mackenzie, of Hazelton, while Mr. Mackenzie set his trap line in the winter of 1946/7. That winter, Howard lived in Hazelton, in a cabin owned by Al Benson, often spending time with the Sergeants, landlords of the Inlander, and forming many lasting friendships in the area. The same year he filmed a documentary entitled “People of the Skeena,” set in Hazelton. He spent many summers in the Hazelton and Babine Lake area, retiring to the Kispiox Valley, where he purchased a ranch in 1978. He lived in the Kispiox Valley for nearly thirty years and spent his later years in Smithers. While he cherished solitude and the wilderness, he greatly admired and deeply respected the families and communities that welcomed him in the Hazeltons, the Kispiox and Smithers.
While living in the Kispiox Valley Howard was an active member of the Community Gospel Chapel in New Hazelton. When he moved to Smithers, he was accepted into the congregation of the Bethel Reformed Church. The son of a Methodist lay preacher, Howard sought always to live his life as a committed and faithful Christian, attending services wherever he went and studying the Bible daily.
Howard was Member of the Explorer’s Club and always enjoyed travelling and photography. On the east coast of the US he would visit friends and family, including his daughter Carolyn, his brother, Jack, his nieces Judy and Sandie, and his nephews, John, Robert and Vaughn. He regularly visited and kept in touch with family and friends in Europe, particularly in Britain, Austria, Germany, and Liechtenstein. He also visited the Pyramids, Mount Sinai and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and travelled to eastern Turkey see Mount Ararat with his daughter.
Howard’s father, Howard T. Ennis Sr., born on a farm near Dover on July 17, 1889, long considered going into the ministry, and served as a lay minister. He served during first World War and later, became the first Superintendent of the Hospital for the Mentally Retarded at Stockley, then known as the Delaware Colony, where Howard T Ennis, Jr, grew up. Particularly in his later years Howard Jr. would recall life and his formative years at Stokely, expressing his wish to return and work on the farm there and speaking fondly of his parents and of his early years exploring the woods, where he developed his lifelong love of nature as he explored with his beloved pony, Cedar, and little dog, Tommy.
Much as Howard loved northern British Columbia, it was his lifelong wish to be buried beside his mother, Ann Rolin Kelly, of Lewes and Philadelphia, and his father. Accordingly, his ashes will be laid to rest beside them at St. George’s Chapel in Harbeson in southern Delaware, during the coming weeks. Howard is survived by his daughter Carolyn Ennis and his granddaughters Sara Taher and Mariam Taher.
A Memorial Service will be held in the Log Church in New Hazelton on Saturday, August 17th at 2:00 pm.
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