Edgar L. Howell, 91

AUG. 18, 1920-MARCH 5, 2012

March 07, 2012

Edgar Leon Howell, 91, of Huyetts Crossroads near Hagerstown, Md., died Monday, March 5, 2012, at Meritus Medical Center after a long illness.

A son of the late Lee Hampton Howell and Neva Goen Howell, he was born at the family home, Natural Well Farm, in Downsville, Md., on Aug. 18, 1920. He was the 11th of their 12 children.

He attended local schools, and was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.

A veteran of World War II, he was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, stationed in Jacksonville, Fla., and mustering out at the war’s end.

Returning home, he was employed by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and then for many years by Sinclair Oil Co.

In 1955, he and his wife, Mary, opened The Old Trail Steak House at Huyetts, which they owned and operated for 50 years. In later years, the Old Trail Steak House and Mr. Howell became known for nurturing fledgling bluegrass musicians. A lifelong, self-taught banjo and fiddle player  he and his wife also were longtime National Park Service volunteers at C&O Canal National Park in Williamsport, entertaining visitors with Mr. Howell’s rendition of old-time bluegrass favorites and with the family mule, who came along mostly every weekend.


A farmer during the 1950s, he bred and raised championship Herefords at his farm, Trails End Farm, in Kemps Mill.

He is survived by his brother, George of La Plata, Md.; granddaughter, Christy Lee McElhaney and husband, Mark A. Sunshine of Boca Raton, Fla.; two great-grandsons, James R. Sunshine and Ryan L. Sunshine, and a great-granddaughter, Madison L. Sunshine, all of Boca Raton; his daughter-in-law, Georgia Lee McElhaney of Shepherdstown, W.Va.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Mary Estella (Burgen) Howell; his son, James H. McElhaney; his sisters Mable and Geneva; and brothers Roy, Roscoe, Jesse, John Francis, Charles, Joseph, James and Benjamin.

Services will be Saturday, March 10, 2012, at 11 a.m. at Minnich Funeral Home, 415 E. Wilson Blvd., Hagerstown. The Rev. G. Stanley Steele will officiate. Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown.

Visitation will be Friday, March 9, 2012, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Online condolences are accepted at

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