Florida Trail Association

Remembering Howard Pospesel


Howard Pospesel
Jan 25, 1937 – Sep 21, 2019
Highlanders Chapter: 
Chapter Chair, Trail Master, Activity Leader
FTA Awards: Special Service Award 2016

In Remembrance of Howard Pospesel
written by Bill Milton

Some years ago, Mary Ellen and I were advised that two members of the Florida Trail Association had moved to Grand Island; not far from our home. MaryEllen contacted them and made an appointment for a visit to their home. We were welcomed into their home as though we were long time friends. We could tell immediately that they were “our kind of people.” We learned that they had been members since September, 1975. As the years went by, we visited, car pooled to our Chapter meetings, hiked, camped, did trail maintenance, traveled together, and we became very close friends with two remarkable people.

As years passed, I realized that Howard was very intelligent, pragmatic in his approach to problem solving, but made every effort to allow others to voice their opinions without criticizing them or trying to up stage them with his superior knowledge of the subject. I think that I can safely say that Howard accomplished more in his two year term as Highlanders Chapter Chair, than any Chair that we have had during my years as a member; and I speak as a former Chair.

Among Howard’s contributions are the following:
He was eager to involve as many members in leadership roles as possible; thus, he established many Committee Chairs that did not exist before his tenure; he did not attempt to micro-manage; he instituted monthly Board Meetings that were hosted at the various “Chairs” homes; he urged the Chapter to play a larger role on the State level; he appointed a committee to develop a newsletter; a logo, T-shirts and caps bearing our logo. Howard’s signature contribution was the appointment of a committee staffed by four women who would not take “no” for an answer; their task was to gain permission from the State and Federal authorities, that we might be allowed to install a permanent State Historical Marker at what had originally been the the beginning of the “Florida Trail” at Clearwater Lake; this was to be accomplished by the time of our 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Florida Trail; the Committee of “the four women who would not take no for an answer”, did a great job; they succeeded. This was one of the highlights of Howard’s tenure, in addition to his serving as an Activity Leader and Trail Master; it was his idea to plan Warm Up Hikes in November/December to prepare for Lou and Rachael’s Winter Wednesday Hiking Program. His many innovative ideas and successes should never be forgotten. His role as a father and grandfather should be an example for all men; he loved taking his children and then his grandchildren on hikes in the mountains of North Carolina and Florida. He set an example that should be a lesson for all of us.

On a personal note, Howard Pospesel and Bob Schultz were like the brothers that I never had; I will always treasure the lunches of the “Three Amigos” and the exchange of ideas on many subjects; Howard was always the calm voice of reason in our discussions; more than once he had to say to me: “now Bill, you don’t really mean that”; and he was right. He knew how to steer you back to reason, just before you let the pot boil over. We have lost a good man; our Country and Community has lost a great man, whom I am sure influenced many lives for good during his nearly forty years as a Professor of Philosophy and Logic at the University of Miami; I became one of his students, but only after he retired. He could be serious but also had his humorous side which shows in some of the pictures of our hiking adventures. I will always remember one of our hardest and last hikes together at Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina. As we began the arduous hike up the mountain, we came to a fork; someone had put a “like new” John Deere cap on a post; Howard looked at it; on our way down, he stopped, looked at the cap again and took it, placed his Florida Trail Cap on the post and put on the John Deere Cap. I wish I had a video of that exchange. I like the picture of Howard climbing over the gate at the Carr Cabin (we had permission from the Ranger); I love the sketch of Howard and Me hiking on the trail at Saw Grass Island Preserve; I think that would be a good way to end this little memory of Howard hiking away from us; I hope to catch up with him someday.