In Memoriam: Jeff Howarth

The Trustees and Staff of Solas were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jeff Howarth. Dr Jeff Howarth had retired from the post of Vice Principal (Research & Enterprise) of the University of the Highlands in 2018. During a period of some 18 years Jeff had worked for the University and secured many millions of pounds to create new research facilities and to embed them within the new university.

In his retirement Jeff served his community by joining organisations that cared for the mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing of people in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. He sat on the Boards of the Highland Hospice and of Connecting Carers, and he chaired the Calman Trust. Connecting Carers is an organisation set up to support people in the community caring for long-term and chronically sick members of their families; Calman Trust seeks to provide support, training and work opportunities for young people who might otherwise struggle to achieve their potential. Jeff was also in great demand as a preacher and always responded eagerly to the opportunity to present the treasures of scripture to new audiences. His gifts of exposition were greatly appreciated by many people

It was therefore in some ways unsurprising that when Solas needed an Interim Chief Operations Officer Jeff readily responded to an invitation to fill this post until a more permanent employee was found. As Acting Chief Operating Officer, Jeff became an indispensable member of the Solas staff; he applied a lifetime of management experience to the task of supporting the Board, managing the day-to-day business of the office, and providing project management and support for Solas’s expansion plans. Jeff had the rare gift of attention to detail without detriment to larger strategic goals.

Jeff was a fine Christian colleague. His contribution to Solas’s devotions at the weekly staff meetings, his supportive and mature wisdom and his experience of living in Christ’s Kingdom, provided fellowship and spiritual enrichment that elevated his contribution well above his professional expertise as acting Chief Operating Officer. He became a trusted colleague, adviser, mentor and brother to all. Jeff loved Solas because he loved the Lord Jesus Christ; his passion was to glorify His name and spread the hope of the Gospel. Jeff combined his sterling honesty and integrity with a lively sense of humour. He made friends easily and inspired loyal service from colleagues.

His passing will be mourned by many and especially by his devoted wife, Janetta, and his family, David, Sarah and Esther, their spouses Julie, Steven and Daniel, and also by his grandchildren. We and they, however, also rejoice that he is now with the Lord Jesus Christ and is freed of the pains and travails of this world. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labour, for their deeds will follow them.” Rev 14:13.

James M Fraser
Chair, Solas Trustees.