Leroy Joseph Howard, MD, of Greenville, his earthly journey complete, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 25, 2023. Simultaneously, his spirit proceeded to its Heavenly Father in great anticipation of earning its eternal reward.
Dr. Howard was born on Easter Sunday in Greenville, South Carolina to the late Edward Joseph Howard and Josephine Nasser Howard. He was also preceded in death by his only sibling, Edward Joseph Howard, Jr. Leroy and Eddie lost their father at ages 1 and 8 years, respectively. Eddie was the protector and mentor of his younger brother in their early lives, his fishing buddy, and closest friend. They enjoyed a loving and special bond.
Leroy attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and later graduated from Greenville Senior High School. He graduated from the Citadel with a BS degree in pre-medicine. He did one year of research at Clemson University. He then entered the Medical University of South Carolina, School of Medicine in Charleston and graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree. He did his internship at the former Greenville (SC) General Hospital.
Following internship, he was drafted into service and served as an Army Flight Surgeon in Vietnam in 1969 assigned to the 192nd assault helicopter company. He served his country with honor and pride and was awarded several medals including the Air Medal and Bronze Star. His remaining service was completed at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.
Following an honorable discharge from the service, he practiced primary care in Greenville, SC for a year and a half before leaving for an Ophthalmology Residency which he completed at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. He initially practiced in Greer, SC. With a desire to learn new eye surgical procedures, he left for Atlanta, Georgia for a sabbatical with Dr. Jess Lester, a renowned ophthalmic surgeon. He and Dr. Lester shared very similar ideals on patient care and after a few months of training, Dr. Lester invited Dr. Howard to join him in his practice. Dr. Howard practiced with Dr. Lester for another year before returning to Greenville to be closer to home and re-open his practice.
He was a long-standing member in the Greenville County Medical Society, the South Carolina Medical Association, the South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology (in which he served on the Board of Directors two separate terms), and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He was board certified in ophthalmology and was a fellow in the American College of Surgeons.
He was a devout Catholic and lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. However, because of his Lebanese heritage, of which he was proud, he was also a Maronite Catholic, and he frequently attended St. Rafka Maronite Church in Greer, SC.
He is survived by his loving wife Marie Brewer Howard, sons Bryant William Brewer II and wife Arden Ney Brewer of Charlotte, NC and Aaron Thomas Brewer and wife Mary Helen Peacock Brewer of Mt. Pleasant, SC. Also, grandsons Billy, Jimmy, and Frank Brewer of Charlotte, NC and Davis and Joseph Brewer of Mt. Pleasant, SC. He is also survived by numerous cousins and other relatives in Greenville, SC and Scranton, PA including a close cousin, Jim Nasser. Also, a longtime, true friend and Best Man at his wedding, Gene Chow of Brunswick, Georgia.
He enjoyed life to the fullest, and his love for family was profound. He retired after 40 years of ophthalmology practice. Afterwards, he was frequently asked “Do you miss it?”, his answer was always “Just my patients.” He established a close bond to many of his patients and often saw two or three generations of the same family.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Greenville, SC; St. Rafka Maronite Church, Greer, SC; Donate Life SC, Greenville, SC; Greenville Humane Society or charity of one’s choice.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with burial and military honors following in Springwood Cemetery.