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Brian Louis Howes

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of former employee Brian Louis Howes on December 13, 2022, in Sandwich, Mass.  His final days were spent with his wife, two daughters and two dogs, whom he loved most in the world. He was 70.

Brian was born and raised in north New Jersey by his mother and father, Helen and William Howes. He and his older brother Bill had a close relationship, lasting his entire life. The two spoke on the phone every day without fail to exchange thoughts and advice.

Brian had the biggest heart, and his presence filled a room. His passion for helping the environment was contagious. He obtained his bachelor’s from Rutgers University and went on to receive his master’s and Ph.D. from Boston University.

Brian had a long and distinguished career in coastal and estuarine ecology, becoming a Chancellor Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology as well as the founding Director of Coastal Systems Group.

Although his work mostly focused on Massachusetts, his job took him to places across the world including North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and even eight times to Antarctica. His research had a profound impact on the health of the environment and the well-being of surrounding communities.

A well-respected and highly accomplished scientist as well as an active participant in community outreach, he was beloved by many. His lab was like a second family, and he cared for them as such. Over the course of his career, Brian was a mentor to more than 30 graduate students and 120 interns. He was fully dedicated to each and everyone as he cared greatly about their success.

Brian began his career at WHOI in 1984 as a Postdoc with John Dacey. In 1986, he became a Visiting Investigator with John Teal and then an Assistant Scientist in 1990.  He left in 1997.

While at WHOI, Brian met the love of his life, Karen, when they were both working there. In 1993, the two got married, and within a few years, they had two beautiful daughters Hannah and Sarah. He enjoyed admiring nature, birding with Karen, and spending time at the beach clamming with his family. Whether it was questions about school or questions about life, he could always be relied upon for his thoughtful advice, support, and an endless supply of hugs.

Brian was a loving husband and a loving father. He went out of his way to show his family how much they were loved through actions large and small, such as providing reassurance during tough times or being an active listener. Although he is no longer with us, he lives on within us as an inspiration and a wise voice in the back of our minds.

Brian is survived by his wife Karen; daughters Hannah and Sarah; brother Bill; extended family; friends; and colleagues.

Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here.
Think of him still as the same. I say,
He is not dead– he is just away
“You live on within our hearts. Love you forever and always
” – Karen, Hannah, and Sarah

No services are scheduled at this time.

Information for this obituary is from the Dignity Memorial website