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

  • Morgan Honors at USEF Convention

    AMHA is pleased to congratulate Morgan trainer Mike Goebig of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, as the 2017 Pegasus Medal of Honor recipient. Mike received this great honor at last evening's US Equestrian's awards dinner... Read More
  • NWSA Fall Classic Selects Judge

    The Northwest Saddlebred Association Fall Classic Horse Show has named Bill Waller to be the judge for this year’s show. The event is scheduled for Sept. 19-22, 2018 at the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene, Oregon. Read More
  • Freedman's Announces Release of New Saddle Pad

    Freedman’s is proud to launch their newest product, The Freedman Acavallo Memory Foam Gel Pad. The Freedman Acavallo Memory Foam Gel Pad is a full compression, non-slip pad, specifically designed to fit discreetly under Freedman’s cut back saddles... Read More
  • Far West Morgan Regional Joins Country Classic

    The Far West Morgan Regional Championship Horse Show has big changes in store for participants in 2018. Last year Far West was held in conjunction with the Oregon Morgan Classic at the Oregon Horse Center in June. Read More
  • River Ridge Charity Selects Judging Panel

    River Ridge Charity is fast approaching and is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday, April 25-28, 2018 at the Ohio Exposition Center in Columbus, Ohio... Read More
  • ASHA Welcomes New Directors For 2018

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) is pleased to announce the election of seven (7) new members to its Board of Directors, who will join the Board at the UPHA & ASHA Conference, which will host the ASHA annual meeting on February 1, 2018. Read More
  • David L. Howard to be Honored for Lifetime Achievement

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) has announced its annual award recipients, based on ballots tabulated by the ASHA Board of Directors. Nominees for each award are received from the general membership and committee volunteers, screened by the ASHA Executive Committee, and voted on by the full Board from the candidates selected. Read More
  • Iowa Horse Shows Associations Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet

    The Iowa Horse Shows Association will hold their annual meeting and awards banquet on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at The Prairie Meadows Event Center, Altoona, IA. Events begin at 3:30 PM with the annual membership meeting of the Iowa Horse Shows Association followed by the Iowa American Saddlebred Association meeting. At 5:30 PM the American Saddlebred Futurity of Iowa will hold their Stallion Service Auction. The Banquet and Awards ceremony will begin at 7 PM. Read More
  • 2018 AMHA Convention Schedule

    Come celebrate Valentine’s Day with your favorite breed and those who share the same passion as you at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Kentucky, for the 2018 AMHA Annual Convention and Awards Gala... Read More
  • Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show Takes Hiatus for 2018

    Due to continued uncertainty at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the committee for the Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show has voted to take a one-year hiatus from hosting the show traditionally held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield at the end of August... Read More