In memoriam: Bob Howard (1933-2020)

Bob Howard, 1980 – photo by George Rizer

Robert “Bob” Howard of Plainville, MA formerly of Mansfield, entered into rest on Sunday, July 19, 2020 at the age of 86.

The BPPA is very sorry to report that Bob Howard, past president and chair, as well as photographer for the Boston Herald / Record American, has passed away.  The BPPA we know today, and whatever it becomes in the future, is because of Bob.  Our hearts go out to Bob, his wife Barbara and his entire family.
-Brian Snyder, President, BPPA
Remembrances from colleagues and friends
If you would like to add a remembrance, please email
“Bob will be missed by all of us. When I was just starting out with UPI in the early 60’s Bob was always helpful to me and our friendship grew stronger through the years and my wife and I became close to him and Barbara. I will always remember him coming to my wife Peg’s wake when she passed a few years ago. He was still fighting his illness and had George Rizer drive him to see me and Peg. I will never forget that. Neal Hamberg and I were happy to have had lunch with him recently and share some happy moments with him. My thoughts and prayers are with Barbara and family.”

-George Riley, retired editor and photographer, UPI

“Bob Howard was the BPPA. The association exists today due to his relentless tenacity and grit. His warmth and passion for our industry will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to Barbara and his entire family.”

-Bill Greene, Director of Photography at the Boston Globe; past president, BPPA

“Bob was the heart and soul of the BPPA for decades.”

-George Rizer, past president, BPPA; retired photographer, Boston Globe

“Bob was about family and BPPA. He was instrumental in our Tri Cards and News Photography Plates. The BPPA dinners in its heyday were set up by Bobby. He never missed a detail. When I began in 1966 at the Record American his father Arthur Howard was also a photog there. Bobby was all about helping all of us. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. He was a mentor to many. A loss to our news photog world.”

-Stanley Forman, videographer, WCVB; former photographer at the Boston Herald American

“Bob Howard was one of a kind. I have been a member since 1974 and Bob has helped me in more ways that I can think especially when I showed up to work at the Herald American in ’78.He was always patient with me while answering all my questions be it professional or personal. Bob, along with Dick Thompson and Joe Hamel from WBZ all convinced me that I should run for BPPA President.Having Bob nearby made that job a lot easier and when it came to the annual awards dinner no one on this planet could pull off the kinds of events that he did. Bob really wanted that to be a special night for news photographers and because of his efforts it raised the bar for other organizations when they planned theirs. Bob Howard was BPPA, may he rest in peace.”

-Mark Murray, past president, BPPA

“News of Bob’s death saddened me very much. For all the work he did for the BPPA, Bob first and foremost was a great family man. For a generation, Bob was the MC and crafter of the awards dinner and his favorite line to me when I was president at the end of the evening, with that distinctive laugh of his, – fooled them again!

Bob was also a friend. He helped me find my footing when I joined the Herald and became active in BPPA and enjoyed helping young photogs out with freelance jobs. And, boy, he seemed to know just about everyone in town.

His efforts on identification tags, news plates, parking stickers, the dinner and the BPPA as a whole, were boundless and full of energy. BPPA will miss Bob, our profession will miss him and even though our paths have not crossed much over the past few years I’ll miss him.

Peace to Barbara and the Howard family, thank you to Bob and Barbara for the dedication, laughs, friendship and so many funny stories.”

-Jim Mahoney, past president, BPPA; freelance photographer

“I can not remember if Bob and I ever met as assigned photographers covering the same story while I was working in Boston. I remember being introduced to him at the first BPPA Board meeting I attended after being elected vice president in the mid 2000’s. Of course, by that time Bob had been the heart and soul of the Boston Press Photographers Association for decades. He was immediately gracious and friendly with me. During the next decade I came to know Bob well. He was always a helpful pleasure to talk and work with while being the most passionate advocate for the BPPA. Bob was totally “on board” with and supportive of the new direction the Association had to navigate in attempting to remain relevant within the changing photojournalism landscape. Bob, unlike many I’ve known, embraced change which seems to be the most difficult trait for human beings to master. In Bob’s passing he will be remembered by most for his presence in and love for the Boston/Massachusetts/New England press photography community. For me, Bob will continue to live with me in my remembrances of his kindness, gentle nature and unassuming disposition. Bob’s life will always serve to inspire mine by reminding me of the benchmark he set living his life. Peace my friend …”

-Stephan Savoia, past president, BPPA; retired AP photographer

“Bob Howard was a photojournalist, always willing to help out other photojournalists. He didn’t need to do this, he just did. From all the work he did for BPPA, to making sure we all had press credentials to helping young photojournalists. When I was staring out as a young photojournalist, Bobby was always willing to give advice, which I needed! Years later, when I became president of BPPA, Bob was there with suggestions and guidance. For many years, he was what held BPPA together. Long after he was president of BPPA, he continued to serve on the board of directors and was the one who made sure the awards dinners were a great success.

I have many fond memories of working alongside Bob. He was a terrific photographer, mentor and great addition to our profession. We are all better for having known him.

RIP, old friend.”
-Rick Friedman, past president, BPPA; freelance photographer


“Never has a prize been more appropriately named than the Bob Howard Good Fellowship Award.  Bob was a very special person, an overused term that is completely accurate when applied to him.  I arrived at the Boston Herald American about as green and wet behind the ears as anyone could be, and he immediately welcomed me into his vast network of friends and colleagues.  Bob was always generous with advice, much of it very practical and useful, and his unfailingly upbeat attitude was a welcome antidote to the nervous energy of this photographer.  The BPPA would likely not still exist if it hadn’t been for his unyielding dedication and hard work.  I will miss him as a friend as well as a professional colleague, and our world is a sadder place today.  My best wishes go to Barbara and his family, and to all of us whose lives he touched.”
– Peter Southwick, former AP staff photographer and Director of Photography at the Boston Globe


Robert Howard was born on September 9, 1933 in Boston, MA to the late Arthur & Alice (Rosen) Howard. He grew up in the Boston area and graduated from English High School. After high school, Bob enlisted in the Air Force where he became the first Airman to graduate from the Air Force Motion Picture Academy. Bob worked as a news and sports photographer for 33 years, covering the likes of Ted Williams, Bobby Orr and Yaz to name but a few. Bob was past president of the Boston Press Photographers Association (BPPA), and was President Emeritus at the time of his passing. His name will endure with the BPPA’s Bob Howard Good Fellowship Award.  He has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Bob was part of the Herald American’s Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for their coverage of the Blizzard of ’78.  Bob was also past president of The Sharon Men’s Club.  Bob designed a news license plate which then governor John Volpe made official, thus giving credibility to the news media covering stories. Bob was and will always be known as News Photog 1. Bob and Natalie Jacobson were the first to be allowed to video and photograph events in Massachusetts courtrooms. He covered four presidents and a couple of kings and shot the pre Olympics in Yugoslavia. He photographed numerous people of note like the Beatles, whose negatives he discarded thinking that they would never be successful. He also shot Mick Jagger, The Von Trapp family in Vermont and one of his favorites-Beverly Sills. Bob chatted fishing with President George W. Bush. He knew and photographed the entire Kennedy family as he covered John’s campaign. While Bob was stationed in Japan, he ran the Non Commissioned Officers nightclub and when the circus was there to entertain the troops Bob became the official clown fully costumed, something he loved doing. Bob Howard was always a performer of sorts. He organized the BPPA annual Awards Dinner, and one would be hard pressed to get him to relinquish the microphone as moderator of the event. Bob loved hunting, fishing, skiing and playing tennis. Most of all, he cherished his children and grandchildren. Bob Howard knew everyone, and everyone knew and respected him.


Beloved husband of Barbara (Feldman) Howard. Loving father of Scott A. Howard & his wife Carla and Lisa Beth Howard. Cherished grandfather of Joshua Howard, Benjamin Howard, Jordan Howard and Jack Howard.


Graveside services at Sharon Memorial Park will take place privately.


Expressions of sympathy in Bob’s memory may be donated to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 or Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverley Oaks Rd, Waltham, MA 02452.



The above obituary has also been published online.