William H. Howe
Ottawa — A memorial service for William H. “Bill” Howe, 81, Ottawa, will be at a later date at Ottawa Carnegie Arts Center.
Mr. Howe died Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009, at Ransom Memorial Hospital in Ottawa.
He was born on June 18, 1928, in Stockton, Calif., the son of Edwin and Eugenia Howe. He was a resident of Ottawa for most of his life.
Mr. Howe was known as the “Butterfly Man.” He was an internationally recognized expert on butterflies and moths and illustrated or contributed as a coordinating editor for such publications as Doubleday’s “The Butterflies of North America,” in 1975; Readers Digest’s “North American Wildlife,” in 1982; and the first authoritative volume on Mexico’s species of butterflies, “Mariposas de Mexico,” published in 1984.
He was the writer and illustrator of the book “Our Butterflies and Moths,” published in 1963, which kicked off his career. He was commissioned to create butterfly illustrations for Heritage Cards and the Franklin Mint.
He attended the West Coast Institute of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley, Calif., and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ottawa University in 1951. He later attended the Kansas City Art Institute. Many of the reference specimens used for paintings were collected during more than 83 trips to Mexico.
Mr. Howe’s paintings hang in more than 50 museums, universities, public offices and private collections in the United States, Canada and Mexico. One exhibit in 1994 contained 40 paintings displaying four distinct styles of art (pointillism, enlarged imagery, traditional and surrealism) in Dyche Hall at Kansas University. He completed seven murals for the Presidential Palace in Tamazunchale, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
In 1984, the Kansas Arts Commission funded a state tour of Mr. Howe’s paintings titled “Butterflies of Kansas.” He was honored as Kansas Artist of the Year in 1987 by Gov. Mike Hayden.
In 1993, KTWU channel 11 filmed a piece on Mr. Howe shown on “Sunflower Journeys” featuring “The Ottawa Butterfly Man” and his work.
He donated collections and paintings over the years to various institutions, including the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History; the Crambrook Institute in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; and a collection of 10,000 butterflies from around the world to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in the 1960s.
Mr. Howe’s articles and reproductions of his paintings appeared in many newspapers over the years, such as The Kansas City Star, The Denver Post, New Orleans Times, Chicago Sun-Times and The Washington Post.
Survivors include a brother, George T., Ottawa.
Memorials are suggested to the William “Bill” Howe art scholarship, sent in care of Peoples Bank, P.O. Box 20, Ottawa, KS 66067.