Howard Floyd was a masterful and humorous storyteller, quick-witted, but always the gentleman, who could remember “everything,” according to those who knew and loved him – and that appears to be most of the county.
Floyd, 84, died at his home Oct. 11.
A long-time Madison County resident, historian, poet, musician and lifelong member of Mt. Hermon Presbyterian Church, his fellow parishioners knew something must be wrong when he didn’t show up for services that morning and went to check on him, finding that he had passed away.
Floyd was born in Elbert County, the son of Mark and Myrtle Thompson Floyd. He was married for 46 years to the late Ernestine Floyd. He was the father of two daughters, Melanie Casatelli, of Alpharetta and Betsy Booth, of Allen, Texas, and the grandfather of four.
He was a veteran of the United States Navy and a retiree of the postal service – he served as postmaster in Danielsville from 1969 to 1980. Floyd received his 50-year certificate from the American Legion and was a member of the Masonic Lodge since 1952. He also was a member of the local library board – working as part of the building committee in the mid-1980’s.
After his retirement, he worked at Brown’s Funeral Home and later at Lord and Stephens Funeral Home in Danielsville for many years, bringing comfort to those who lost their loved ones.
“Howard was a true Southern gentleman,” long-time friend Charlotte Bond said. “He was careful with his words – he was quick to make you laugh and careful not to offend anyone if at all possible.”
“Being the historian he was, he was in the process of writing his memories about Madison County, and though the ‘pen ran dry’ before he finished his goal, I hope we will be allowed at some time in the future to read about the things he held so dear, his view of Madison County history,” Bond added.
Bond also knew Howard as a “boss,” having worked for him for as a mail carrier when he was postmaster.
“I can honestly say that he was the best person to work for in my entire work life,” she said of those days.
But her best memories of him come from his joy in, and love of, his family.
“He loved talking about his beautiful wife and his precious daughters,” she said. “The (mail) carriers were privy to a lot of home life tales – some were true, some were conjecture and most invoked a roar of laughter, but all were said with a gleam in his eye that revealed what his family meant to him – everything.”
His good friend and fellow parishioner Pat Carithers also remembers his humor, grace and his love of people and the church.
He was also “progressive” in his views toward women for a man of his day and age – something Carithers came to know when he asked her to serve as an Elder at Mt. Hermon. “This was the early eighties or late seventies, back in the day when women were just beginning to fill those types of positions,” Carithers remembers. “I was surprised and I also felt unworthy to be asked.”
But Carithers said Floyd assured her that their church, as any other, was full of “less-than-perfect” people and that what mattered was that she tried.
“I accepted and I’m sure that the request (for my service) came from the board at his instigation,” she said.
Carithers also noted that Floyd had strong views on a church’s duty to the outside world.
“He had a strong belief that not only should individuals tithe, but that a church should also tithe,” Carithers said. “He believed a church should not spend all the money it had on itself alone.”
“(He was) a good soul and one of the funniest people on the planet,” friend Melissa Tufts said, noting that he was still serving on the session of Mt. Hermon Presbyterian Church at the time of his death.
In fact, as Carithers noted, he was called back from retirement as an Elder because his counsel was so highly valued by all who knew him.
He lived on Floyd Road (named after him) in the Rogers Mill community and, according to Tufts, enjoyed and appreciated his neighbors, no matter if they were old-timers or newcomers to the county.
“He was always very generous and well-spoken,” Tufts said. “We loved hearing his stories, and his jokes always cracked us up because he was so good at delivering them.”
“He will be truly missed,” Carithers said.
Floyd was interred Oct. 14 in the cemetery at Mt. Hermon Presbyterian Church in Ila.
AS A RELATIVELY NEW COMER TO DANIELSVILLE, I DIDN'T KNOW HOWARD FLOYD PERSONALLY. BUT I BELIEVE I HAVE FELT HIS PRESENCE IN THE PEOPLE I HAVE MET SINCE MOVING HERE THIS JANUARY. MUCH LIKE THE LANDSCAPE HERE, THAT REPRESENT THE HAND OF GOD,SO ARE ITS PEOPLE. SO IF IT WAS SOMEONE LIKE MR. FLOYD THAT GAVE NATIVES HERE THAT FEELING. I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT HE IS STILL ALIVE IN DANIELSVILLE AND MADISON COUNTY. GOD BLESS AND THANK YOU MR FLOYD.