On November 19, 2022, Dr. Walter Robins Howe, youngest son of Ambassador Walter Howe and his
wife, Jane Wild Howe, passed away peacefully at the age of 77, at his home on Glassy Mountain,
surrounded by his loving family.
Robin, as he was known, was born in Washington, DC. As the son of a diplomat, he spent his
childhood living across two continents – North and South America. Ever kind, inquisitive and friendly,
he was quick to learn Spanish while playing soccer alongside local children in the park outside his
family’s home in Bogota. The language, culture, and life experiences he gained in South America left
an indelible mark on Robin.
Robin met the love of his life, Elaine, in Litchfield, CT, when they were teenagers. Their first date was
to the Horse Show Ball; and, from that very first date, as far as Robin was concerned, there was no
other. He was a devoted and loving husband, and they were happily married for 54 years.
Robin received his bachelor of Science degree from Yale University, and his Medical Doctor degree
from Yale Medical School. Robin completed his residency in cardio-thoracic surgery at Duke
University. Due in part to the family in which he grew up, but moreover to his innate sense of service,
Robin took a break from his residency to serve as a flight surgeon in the United States Army during the
Vietnam War. He was discharged with honors with the rank of major.
After completing his residency, Robin joined the faculty at the University of Louisville Medical
School, where he was part of the surgical team that performed the first heart transplant in Kentucky.
After four years in Louisville, Robin felt called to open his own surgical practice in a more rural
setting, Paducah, KY, where he recognized a need for care. Robin’s practice pioneered the growth of
much needed medical care options in that area of Western Kentucky. He retired after more than twenty
years of service in the community.
After his retirement, Robin and his wife Elaine settled in Landrum, SC, an area they both grew to love
while Robin worked at the Veterans Hospital in Asheville, NC as part of his residency. Although
retired from surgery, he continued to work in the medical field until his final few months, mentoring
students and guest lecturing at the University of South Carolina Medical School. Robin also
volunteered his time at the Taylors Free Medical Clinic, where he sincerely enjoyed connecting with
Robin lived a life of faith, and enjoyed serving the parishes of Grace Episcopal Church in Paducah, KY,
and St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church in Flat Rock, NC. He was a man of principle and
integrity, who honored the Howe family traditions of service to others, and core American values. This
was further exemplified through his involvement with the non-profit Tamassee DAR School, founded
by the organization Daughters of the American Revolution, where he served as a board member for
Robin was always great company, with a sharp intellect and wry sense of humor. His family came first,
followed closely by his patients. He wanted most to be remembered as one who cared.
Robin was preceded in death by his son, Thomas Howe, his parents, Ambassador Walter Howe and
Mrs. Jane Howe, and his brothers, Jonathan, Peter, and Timothy Howe. Robin is survived by his wife,
Elaine; their children, Christopher, Laura, Sarah, and Alison; and their nine grandchildren. Robin will
be dearly missed and always remembered for his quiet leadership, his strength of mind, and most of all,
Services will be held at The Episcopal Church St. John in the Wilderness,1895 Greenville Highway,
Flat Rock, NC 28731 on December 3rd, 2022 at 2:00pm. https://stjohnwilderness.org/
The family requests any donations be made in his honor to the Tamassee DAR School, P.O. Box 8
Tamassee, SC 29686, Phone: 864 944 1390, or online at https://www.tdarschool.org/donate-form/; and
Taylors Free Clinic, 400 West Main Street, Taylors, SC 29687, Office: (864)-244-1134, or online at
St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church - Directions
1905 Greenville Highway
Flat Rock, NC 28731