Co-Worker years past at ole Purdue.

March 20, 2020

Dear Barb and families…

Please accept our heartfelt sympathy in the untimely loss of your beloved sole-mate, husband, father, father in-law and grandfather.

May you continue to find comfort and hope from our thoughts and reassurances that so many others care and remember you in your loss and grief.

Although words from friends can’t take away the sadness you have in your heart or ease the loneliness that comes when loved ones have parted. Our trust is that you will find that inner strength to carry on as a tribute, to “Howard’s” great memories with each of you and with us.

Og Mandino, the famous author wrote, “So each of us in our own way, endures our loss, but cherishes the memories. Just as it should be.”

However, when one’s heart is frozen in shock from the loss of a loved one; its family and friends who share their expressions of compassion and friendship which help to sustain us and softens the painful grieving process.

We deeply regret seeing you lose such a precious loved one. We mourn the loss for you and continue to celebrate life in Howard’s memory… Cay and I are happy and blessed to be home following a memorable cruise and an unexpected 24-day hospital stay that we will not soon forget! Cay is recovering slowly, and we are learning to live with a colostomy and all the associated issues.

Nonetheless, our thoughts and our prayers are with you. We hope our message will continue to bring you some measure of comfort. “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal”. May peace replace your heartache and bountiful warm memories remain.

In closing, “The nicest place to be is in someone’s thoughts. The safest place to be is in someone’s prayers. And the best place to be is in God’s hands.”

With kindest regards…God Bless…

Cay and Norm Long

What do you get when you cross an Ag economist with the Great Wall of China

Answer… A great and fun day whenHoward and I visited the Great Wall of China it was a cold and windy day and all he could talk about was the management skills required to build an over 4000 mile long wall the way it was constructed. It was a real treat to see the wheels in his brain think that all through.I was glad to be there to witness it but glad when we got cold enough because of the wind to go back to the hotel to warm up Howard was always thinking about what he was seeing and that trip was one of the highlights of my career. So long good body until I see you again in heaven

Positioning Farmer Sentiment – Top Farmer Workshop

I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Howard Doster as a Teaching Assistant with the Purdue Top Farmer Workshop. I attended Purdue from 1987 to 1989 to complete my master’s degree. I really enjoyed seeing Dr. Doster interact with the audience to gauge farmer sentiment on the current outlook. He was skilled to bring out comparisons from past years – this allowed an objective assessment to determine if the outlook was getting better (or not). He was effective in bringing out that discussion and points. In my work beyond Purdue, I used the concept that I learned from Dr. Doster. I called it the “Doster Index” and I used it many times (e.g. status meeting for software development project). The use of comparisons from past period helped to get feedback and to understand concerns that team members had. When using the “Doster Index”, I explained the interaction that Dr. Doster had with the Top Farmer group. I really enjoyed working and interacting with Dr. Doster. He had such a positive attitude and interest in other people. I appreciated the interest and support that he provided me. Stephen Sharpe.

After McDonald’s in China

After eating lunch at McDonald’s and calling Barbara, we walked back across Tiennaman Square to the south to go into the entance to the Fobidden City where Howard wanted me to take his picture below the giant Chinese leaders picture over the entrance to the City. He was so excited to be there about to go through what he had always heard about he was like a big kid which is why I think we got along so well,we both were like big kids.

He was a baller!

Jokingly, I asked Dr Doster to play intramural softball during the spring semester 1993 in exchange for me helping with the Top Crop Farmer Workshop during the summer. He obliged. We finished second in the all-campus FASTPITCH league. Aside from a sore hamstring after turning triples into doubles and doubles into singles, he said he had a good time, just as I had for three summers (1991 – 1993) staffing the workshop with Dr Dobbins, he, and many others.

McKay Cousins meet!

I will never forget the day in September 2019, when my husband and I finished taking the last of our pictures in Jonah’s Run Cemetery, before starting our trip back to Kansas City, and slowly, in drives a car with a gentleman coming out to greet us. After brief exchanges, and he realized that I was the g-g niece of Hiram McKay, Howard sputtered, “We’re Cousins!,” and we both burst into smiles of joy! What Fun!! Haha! Howard soon began describing the history of the McKays and Colletts, took us to the Moses McKay farmhouse for a history tour, and then to the Mount Holly Cemetery. I was thoroughly and utterly delighted to have discovered more relatives, astounded to learn about the history of the area, but most of all, blessed to have experienced Howard and Barbara. What a remarkable man, couple, and life. I am so, so grateful to God, that I got the chance to meet up with Howard, connect with the Ohio McKays, and to share just a little bit of what you all already know to be true of this man. It is my honor to remember him with you.

Surrounded by the Cops

Howard was was traveling between Waynesville and Lafayette on Interstate 74 when he spotted a small shed being constructed on the opposite side of the Interstate so he did a U-turn to get a better look. However, the Indiana State Police didn’t approve of his maneuver and pulled him over. He wasn’t going to let this photo opportunity pass him by so he jumped out of the car, waving his arms and saying, “Don’t shoot!” as he opened his trunk to get to his new digital camera he had picked up in China. Meanwhile a second trooper pulled up behind this suspicious vehicle and driver. Once he discovered one of the trooper’s daughter was attending Purdue things warmed up. In fact, that trooper told Howard, “I can’t give you a ticket, but my buddy will!” (I’ve posted a picture of this event on this site. At that time he didn’t know how to download photos from his camera.)


While not an intimate friend of Howard and his lovely wife Barbara they certainly made you feel like not only a friend but like family. My wife was much closer (her comments under Mrs) and their impact on her and our children could be seen through her tears as we said goodbye today. By the time I came along Howard was already on his life’s run for fun. Our family was neighbors with Howard’s parents Bill and Esther so that’s where I will take you. As a young child entering their home seeing the alphabet made from sticks on the outer wall, knowing Esther was a school teacher and her eloquent way of speaking convinced me I had met the smartest woman in the world. Looking back I admire women of that era before modern conveniences made things such as preparing a meal an easier, less time consuming task among many other things. Bill was just a hard working man and the first and most accurate in dowsing for tile lines, don’t remember if he used 2 wires or sticks but I thought the man was magic as he would walk across a field and tell us it was below his feet, we would dig and I would once again be amazed, it either worked or he had a memory unmatched by any earthly being. To bale hay/straw for Bill was a treat, not because of him as the boss or the pay but the lunch that Esther prepared for the workers, a beautiful massive table filled from one end to the other. We attended Jonahs Run together as I grew from a child. I bring this to light as they were hard working, God fearing, God loving people. This is the environment Howard grew up in and passed onto family and friends. God has blessed this family with the number of family members that believe in Christ and has blessed us by making us part of their family. Until we meet again.

We Almost Bought a Farm Together

I arrived at Purdue to start work in 1972. I was not in farm management, but the notion of owning some farmland was really attractive as I had spent summers at my grandfather’s in northern Wisconsin where we had a self sufficient small operation for our own needs. Bob Jones, Jake Atkinson and others on the faculty had farmland and Howard and I decided we would try to buy some farmland together. Howard was sure we could make this work and was almost buying used equipment before we found any land. A piece of land came up for sale in the mid-1970s up Morehouse Road north of Howard’s house. To say it was rough would be an understatement – little drainage, rolling land, and a certain amount of gullying. We set a limit on what we would bid and the land sold above that limit. Initially we were really disappointed. But the fall of what would have been our first year was one of the wettest ever. Combines were stuck in fields – one even had its axle pulled off when being pulled out by a Cat. I silently thanked God that Howard and I had not bought that piece of farmland together! It would have been a disaster. It might have ruined our friendship. Had we bought the land and suffered disaster our first year I am sure Howard would be telling the story and laughing about it today. Howard could bounce back from things with humor the way I couldn’t. That was one reason it was fun to be with Howard.

Howard in China

When Howard and I went to China in2005 it was fun to walk across Tiennama Square and see Howard light up when he saw a McDonald’s just off the northwest corner of the Square and he wanted to go into it and call Barbara and ask her to guess where he was calling her from. What memories that brings back