Skip to content

Dabora Founder David Howard Passes Away

David Lee Howard, 72, of Shelbyville, Tenn., passed away Saturday, December 17, at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center surrounded by his loving family.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, December 20, at the Feldhaus Funeral Home in Shelbyville from 4 to 7pm. The funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, December 21 at noon at St. William’s Catholic Church. A reception in celebration of his life for his family and friends will follow at the family’s home at 117 Ashe Road.

David was born in New Jersey to Helen and Julian R. Howard at their home on October 2, 1944. The family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where David attended Our Lady of Perpetual Health Catholic School where he met his wife Mary Watson when they were in middle school, starting a love affair that lasted all of their lives including 50 years of marriage. David went to Notre Dame High School and was able to graduate from the University of Tennessee due to his beloved sister Barbara Knott’s assistance and his incredible work ethic. David graduated with a degree in journalism and he and Mary attended many sporting events in Knoxville as he planned to pursue a career as a sports writer.

David had a summer job at the Voice of the Tennessee Walking Horse magazine, and Bruce Spencer influenced David’s life by assisting him financially to graduate from UT and introducing him to the Tennessee Walking Horse. David and Mary married in Chattanooga on August 20, 1966. Shortly thereafter they began their family and moved to Shelbyville, Tennessee to start the Walking Horse Report with the assistance of 12 investors including his mentor Randall Rollins.

David and Mary had three children, Christy, Jennifer and Jeffrey, and they built a successful publishing business at Dabora, Inc., including multiple publications. Many of Dabora’s employees have been with the company for 35+ years, and the Dabora family is also saddened by his loss. David also served on the First National Bank Board as well as many other boards and associations, each time willing to put in extreme amounts of work to find the best facts in order to make the best decisions. He was proud to serve on the board of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration for almost 20 years and the board of the American Saddlebred Horse Association. David also served on several boards and committees at the University of Tennessee. David enjoyed real estate development and focused on property in Florida. He was a longtime parishioner and benefactor of St. William’s Catholic Church.

A self-made man, David’s greatest joy was his family. With his wife, Mary, their three children and their spouses and his eight grandchildren, David enjoyed travelling, attending sporting events, and family dinners at the family’s game house. David is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary; his children, Christy, Jennifer and Jeffrey, their spouses Rick Womack, Russ Connelly, and Mindee Howard; and eight grandchildren, Holt Parsons, Brooke Connelly, David Parsons, Cole Connelly, Caroline Connelly, Jax Howard, Sam Connelly and Blake Howard. Each of their lives has been enriched by his love and his counsel and he will be deeply missed.

The family asks that donations in his honor be made to the University of Tennessee, St. William’s Catholic Church, the Boys & Girls Club, or to a scholarship program that allows students to pursue their education.

The family is forever grateful to Dr. Kyle Joyner of Murfreesboro Medical Center, and Dr. Wes Ely of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and their teams for their outstanding care and compassion, and for their spiritual support. 

More Stories

  • Georgia Senator introduces resolution encouraging passage of the PAST Act

    Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson recently introduced a resolution in the Georgia Senate in support of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST Act). The summary on the Georgia Lobby website read... Read More
  • Cantrell: We do ‘it’ because we believe in our horse

    In celebrating our 50th Walking Horse Trainers Association Anniversary, this is a salute to all the dedicated professional trainers that have passed through these “gates” . . . and the ones yet to come... Read More
  • Trainers revamp Horse of the Year awards

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association (WHTA) will revamp the Horse of the Year awards program in 2018. Previously, the Horse of the Year was determined by a vote of the licensed members of the WHTA. The program has seen a decline in interest from voting members in recent years and the board of directors decided a change was needed. Read More
  • Latest Issue March 19 18

    Read More
  • Throwback Thursday

    Check out this week's Throwback on ReporTV featuring Oh My Darlin' and Counti Green in the Youth 11 & Under class from the 2012 Tunica Fall Classic... Read More
  • SHOW to measure both ponies and 15.2 & Under horses

    The SHOW HIO will begin to measure horses in post-show inspections for compliance with class requirements in pony and 15.2 & under divisions. In previous years, show management could require horses to measure pre-show, however no post-show measurements were completed. Read More
  • Objective post show violations to carry increased penalty

    The SHOW HIO will retain its policy of reporting to show management its findings for disqualification on pre-show violations with no further penalty issued by SHOW. However, on clear, objective post-show violations that result in notices of disqualification, SHOW will issue a two-week suspension to the person responsible for the violation. Read More
  • Celebration adds Amateur Four & Under Park Performance

    The 80th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration will add a world championship class for the Amateur Four & Under Park Performance division. Previously, the Celebration had an amateur park performance division but did not designate the four and under in the amateur division Read More
  • Winding Creek Stable to host clinic

    Winding Creek Stables and Terry Dotson will host an open clinic on April 4 in Kingston, Tennessee, at their facility. Dotson, chairman of the Performance Show Horse Association initiated the clinic as part of an ongoing effort to help inform all segments of the industry... Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Jose's Centerfold

    On Thursday, March 15, Jose’s Centerfold was humanely laid to rest following complications from colic... Read More