Memorial services for Deborah Howell to be held in D.C. and Minn.; scholarship announced

The services will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington on Friday, Jan. 15, and, according to her friend Jacqui Banaszynski, at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23. Howell's family also announced yesterday a scholarship in her name.

Here's the announcement that was issued yesterday afternoon by Deborah Howell's family:

January 6, 2010

Dear Friends, Family and Colleagues,

Thank you for the tremendous support you have shown following the tragic news of Deborah's death. We are overwhelmed by your kindness and compassion. This has been such a difficult time and we truly appreciate all the ways in which you have reached out.

We would like to share with you the information about Deborah's memorial service and invite you to celebrate her life with us on what would have been her 69th birthday.

Friday, January 15th
11:30 AM
The National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.

Reception at the Cathedral to follow, all are welcome

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution of any size to the scholarship we have established in Deborah's name. Here is the information:

Deborah C. Howell Memorial Scholarship for Women in Journalism
The Texas Exes
The University of Texas at Austin
January 2010

Eligibility: For a woman student at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Journalism who has a demonstrated financial need and is entering the sophomore year.

Background: This Scholarship was created in loving memory of Deborah Howell, University of Texas Alum (BJ'62) by her family.

On January 2, 2010, Deborah died in a tragic accident while vacationing in New Zealand with her husband, C. Peter Magrath. She was 68 years old. Many things have been written about Deborah's incredible accomplishments in the field of journalism. If you check the facts, you'll see what a leader she was. But here are some things we'd like you to know about Deborah that you may not find in a newspaper:

Deborah was a gifted listener. She did not interrupt. She took you in 100% — and only when you'd completely spilled your heart out and finally took a breath did she ask if you wanted her advice. That advice was, of course, spot on.

Deborah was hilarious. Her sense of humor had a healthy dose of bawdiness and she was known for the prevalence and precision of her profanity. Her frequent laughter leapt out of her like a child bursting out of class on the last day of school.

Deborah was extremely sensitive. Underneath her one-of-the-boys, newsroom toughness, she was deeply affected by the world around her. She was attuned to multiple frequencies of human behavior. Sometimes that meant that she was easily hurt. But it also meant that she was blessed with tremendous compassion.

Deborah was generous. With her time. With the fruits of her labor. With her knowledge. She was there for so many people. She went to weddings, inaugurations, performances, funerals, book parties, openings...the list is endless. If you were important to her, you knew it by her actions; she told you by showing up.

Our hope, as Deborah's family, is that in establishing this scholarship we will provide a foundation for the young women recipients to begin a meaningful and bold journalism career. We hope that the scholarship eases a financial need, of course. But it is also our hope that Deborah's life becomes a touchstone for these women. May the recipients benefit from the path that she so bravely and beautifully blazed by following her example in journalism-and in life:

  • Listen without agenda.
  • Laugh without censor.
  • Feel without fear.
  • And most importantly...Show up.

Memorial contributions can be sent to:

Texas Exes Scholarships
P.O. Box 7278
Austin, TX 78713

The checks should be made out to: Texas Exes

Please note in the memo section: Deborah C. Howell Memorial Scholarship

Online contributions can be made at the link below.

(There is a box in the online form following the words "I would like to donate to the" where you can designate the gift to the Deborah C. Howell Memorial Scholarship.) Again, thank you for your condolences and care. Your support carries us as we walk this difficult road.

C. Peter Magrath
Monette Magrath
Valerie Carroll

On Friday, Jan. 15, what would have been her been 69th birthday, friends, family and colleagues will gather to say good-bye. Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. 

Expressions of sympathy can be sent directly to:

C. Peter Magrath
34 Wellesley Circle
Glen Echo, MD 20812 

We will post more information as it becomes available.

There is a guest book for Deborah on

Some remembrances ...

UT Alum was a pioneering female journalist
Austin American-Statesman
She helped develop the Religion News Service and was a member of the board of what was then the American Society of Newspaper Editors

The editor everyone should have had
New York Times
By DAVID CARR Deborah Howell, former ombudsman of the Washington Post, ... her work with the American Society of Newspaper Editors and other endeavors. ...

McGuire on Media >> My tortured journey to becoming Deborah …
I was elected to a one-year term on the American Society of Newspaper Editors board by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. The next year Rich Oppel, Deborah and I were on the same ballot. My heart quivered. Surely my arch-nemesis would ...