Westelia Reese Howell

November 30, 1935 ~ July 6, 2020 (age 84)


Westelia Reese Howell, the daughter of Allan and Beatrice Reese, was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on November 30, 1935.  She was born the 14th of 14 children and was lovingly known as “Baby Sister”.  After graduating high school, she moved to California where she met and married Norman Howell.  The couple was blessed to raise 4 children; Gina (deceased), June, Glenn and Abigail and the family grew to include 9 grandchildren, Ashley (deceased), Cameron, Kevin, Calvin, Malia, Brittany, Evan, Andre and Norman, and 5 great grandchildren; Jaylen, Devin, Eden, Carter James (CJ) and Ella Rose.

In addition to being the family matriarch, she served women at The Mandella House, a residential women’s shelter, in Oakland, CA and worked in banking as a data entry operator.  

Westelia’s passions were sewing, reading, shopping and decorating.  She was a closet interior designer, but we all knew her as a fashionista who often took us shopping until we dropped.  She would redesign outfits adding pockets or other embellishments, and she loved reading auto-biographies and the Bible.  She constantly rearranged the furniture and wall designs and she loved knick knacks.  She collected angels and you would find one in every room of her home.

She was shy and quiet and often kept to herself, but we learned quickly not to take that shyness for granted.  She could go toe-to-toe with us… and win!

Mom was an avid gardener who had great patience, tenacity and love for living things.   Although it was tedious and hard work, she always believed in the beauty and potential of her garden and revealed in the satisfaction of its growth.  Her garden was also her family and we will continue to radiate love, peace and kindness as a living reminder of her love and the happiness she derived from watching each of us blossom and grow.

Her greatest love was for her family; her siblings, nieces and nephews.  She was proud of her 4 children and 9 grandchildren, but it was her 5 great grandchildren who brought the widest smiles to her face.  Her love for God was the same love she shared with us and she relied on her faith and prayers to carry her through the most difficult times.

She will be missed but will live forever in our hearts.

…absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

Mask and social distancing is required to attend this outdoor ceremony. Please Rsvp to (908) 216-1661 By text if you would like to attend service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Gloria Saker Women’s Heart Center: 


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Westelia Reese Howell, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
July 11, 2020

12:00 PM
Evergreen Cemetery
6450 Camden St.
Oakland, CA 94605


The Gloria Saker Women’s Heart Center

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