Obit: Harry Howland, 64; Served MJ&SA for 21 years

Harold C. Howland Jr., whose work with Manufacturing Jewelers & Silversmiths of America spanned a period of great expansion for that organization, died recently of a heart attack while on a holiday vacation in Florida. Howland, 64, of Lincoln, R.I., is survived by his widow Beverly, son Clay, daughter Susan Iandolo, and two grandchildren.

After being graduated from Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, in 1964, Howland took additional courses in accounting, computers and transportation from Bryant College in his native Rhode Island. It was in that year he joined Attleboro costume jewelry manufacturer Swank, working in credit and collections, accounting, EDP, and budget and cost analysis.

In 1968 he joined Manufacturing Jewelers & Silversmiths (now Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers) of America where he worked his way up from member relations to deputy executive director, and became a key figure in MJ&SA’s dramatic growth during the 1970s and 1980s. He was a recognizable and ubiquitous figure in the American jewelry manufacturing industry.

Extraordinarily energetic and with an enormous capacity for hard work, Howland was point man for MJ&SA’s executive director, the late George R. (Dick) Frankovich, who cited Howland’s “impeccable honesty, an exceptional work ethic, unswerving loyalty…and an ingratiating personality.”

Howland helped strategize, create, oversee, and administer many of the association’s major projects and membership functions. He helped create and oversee the Association’s member relations team as MJ&SA went from being a small, largely New England association to a national force in the American jewelry industry with membership that stretched from New England and New York through the West and Southwest to California.

After MJ&SA acquired Expo/New York, Howland was its first show manager. Following its great success, he helped create and run Expo/Providence and Expo/West. He was instrumental in developing and presenting the seminars and show-related educational forums that eventually became The Jewelry Institute, which he managed for several years. He also ran MJ&SA’s many social functions in the early 1970s.

Howland helped build the then MJ&SA-operated Jewelers Shipping Association into the country’s third-largest shipping cooperative, and his transportation expertise led him to the position of president of Washington’s National Association of Shipping Associations.

Howland was also involved in MJ&SA’s insurance programs, industry surveys, foreign trade missions, local and national lobbying efforts, and he formed and oversaw committees to study and evaluate important industry issues of the day such as the excise tax, OSHA and free trade barriers.

Howland left MJ&SA in 1988. After a brief period with the International Jewelry Trade Association of America, Johnston, RI, he joined the sales and marketing team of Rhode Island refiner Pease & Curren, where he spent the next ten years implementing sales and trade show programs. He retired in 1999.

Active in community affairs, Howland served the Pawtucket Congregational Church as moderator, trustee and past chairman of both its governing board and property committee. In addition, he was a past president of the Saylesville Highlands Improvement Association, a member of the Board of Governors for the Weeden home, a member of the board of directors of the Pawtucket Childrens Museum, a member of the Shelter Harbor Conservation Society, and dock chairman for the Shelter Harbor Fire District.