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The crowd in attendance at Prairie View High School's football field Oct. 8 remembered a man who had an infectious smile, a wicked sense of humor and one who was a father to the fatherless.
And a …
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Donations can be sent to the Dr. Nathaniel Howard III Scholarship in care of Citywide Banks, 12075 E. 45th Ave., Suite 100-B, Denver 80239
And a brother to his two sisters.
"He tried karate on anyone who was willing to stand up to the challenge," said Traci Latson. "He did the things only big brothers can do .. like throwing his sisters' Barbies on the roof."
The object of the testimonials was Nate Howard, a former Prairie View coach and teacher, who died last month just short of his 59th birthday.
"Dr. Howard had a gift to be able to talk to anybody," said PVHS softball and baseball coach Mark Gonzales. The two shared an office at the school. "If you were thinking about leaving somebody,, about to do something, he had the perfect words to say. Not many can do that and be so genuine."
Several of Howard's former students, both during a stint as a coach, teacher and administrator at Manual High School and during his time at PVHS, were in attendance.
"He was a mentor to me," Gonzales said. "He had an impact on everyone he met in the hall and with that characteristic smile."
Latson recapped some of Howard's accomplishments before he arrived at Prairie View. She said the on-field accomplishments were one thing .. but not the only thing that mattered.
"His focus was on the successful young men he coached," she said. "He joined Lincoln Hills Cares Foundation to provide opportunities for diversity and inclusion for environmental occupations." Howard earned a master's degree in plant ecology and botany from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1996.
Latson also talked about his brother's ability to form relationships.
"It wouldn't be Dr. Howard unless he was talking to somebody about something, and he did it with love," Latson said. "He created unique relationships with people, and he always expected their best. He never said 'no' to making people around him better.
"He brought his love of the outdoors to inner-city youth," Latson added. "His legacy is one of education mentorship and love. Everything he did was with the intent of planting a seed that will continue to grow for generations to come."
Gonzales and Howard coached the ThunderHawks girls basketball team. But, Gonzales noted, Howard's sense of humor ruled. If you wanted to join, Gonzales added, your humor had to be on Howard's equal.
"His impact on me, his family, Prairie View High School will never be forgotten," Gonzales said. "He wanted nothing more than for you to believe in yourself more than he believed in you.
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