Howard Dale Masterson, 88, Melvern: Aug. 20, 1935 – Nov. 29, 2023 – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Howard Dale Masterson, 88, Melvern: Aug. 20, 1935 – Nov. 29, 2023

MELVERN, Kan. – Howard Dale Masterson, a man whose life was as rich and robust as the Kansas farms and prairies he hailed from, left this world on Nov. 29, 2023, at the age of 88. Born on Aug. 20, 1935, in Osawatomie, Kan., Howard’s journey was one of purpose, strength, and unwavering commitment to his family and community. He passed away at McCrite Plaza, in Topeka, Kan., after a valiant battle with brain cancer, where the staff affectionately referred to him as their favorite patient due to his sweetness, kindness, and the gratitude he expressed. He received outstanding and loving care from Prairie Wind Hospice. He left behind a legacy of love, hard work, and enduring friendships.

Howard was a beacon of light in the lives of those he touched. His wife of 63 years, Arleta, stood by his side as a testament to enduring love and partnership. Together, they raised a family that included children, Richard Masterson, Brenda Masterson, Dale Masterson, Debra Masterson, Anita Johnston, stepchildren, James Bevan and Rosemary Artzer, and seven grandchildren.

Howard was a guiding star to his family, teaching them the value of hard work and the importance of sticking together through life’s challenges.

He was preceded in death by his son, Richard Richard (Jesse Lash) Masterson; stepson, James Bevan; sister, Rose Ella Troxel;  and parents, Ernest Masterson and Jessie Lash Masterson, who instilled in him and his sister the virtues of kindness, hard work, and perseverance.

Howard spent six years as a reservist with the US Army and six months of active duty at Fort Leonardwood and Fort Lee. Howard’s hands shaped the world around him as a heavy equipment operator. His skill and dedication were instrumental in constructing the dams at Melvern, Hillsdale, Independence, Pomona, and Eufaula lakes, as well as numerous highway projects that stand as monuments to his contribution to the infrastructure of Kansas and neighboring states. He took immense pride in his work, and was a proud member of the Operating Engineers Local 101, where he was not just a colleague, but a brother to his fellow workers.

Howard loved Westerns and his friends affectionately referred to him as Bat, in tribute to the TV western series titled Bat Masterson. Beyond his work achievements, Howard was a man of many interests and a life member of the BPOE Elks and the American Legion. He was a farmer and stockman on his farm of 48 years near Melvern, Kan., and his love for the outdoors was evident in his passion for hunting, fishing, boating, and maintaining a robust vegetable garden annually. These activities were not just hobbies, but a way for Howard to connect with nature and provide for the people he cherished. His joy was most palpable when he was visiting his children in California, Illinois, and Washington, where he shared his love for adventure and the great outdoors. In the 1950s, he successfully raced modified cars on numerous dirt tracks around Kansas. In retirement, Howard and Arleta enjoyed wintering in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for many years, and attending country music concerts.

Howard was the epitome of a handyman, always ready with the right tool and a helping hand for family and neighbors.

A celebration of life will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Melvern Community Center, 102 N. Main St., Melvern, Kan.

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