Ada Howard was born on Longdraft Road near Germantown in 1914 but calls Quince Orchard her home. She also calls herself a Quince Orchard cheerleader and still thinks there should be a “Welcome to Quince Orchard” sign honoring the community.
Mrs. Howard has been quite generous with her time having spent several hours with The Quince Orchard Project telling her family story and the story of the evolution of the Quince Orchard community from a small, rural farming community to the bastion of suburbia it is today. Mrs. Howard has been a steward of the community for generations serving as a Sunday School teacher, usher, and church leader at McDonald Chapel Methodist Church, for example.
In the invaluable historical collection – The History of Methodism in the Quince Orchard Community – Mrs. Howard penned the history of McDonald Chapel, while Mrs. Hallman and Ms. Tyner penned the history of Pleasant View Methodist and Hunting Hill Methodist churches respectively.
Mrs. Howard played a critical role in the merger of McDonald Chapel and Hunting Hill and subsequently Pleasant View to form Fairhaven United Methodist Church. She recalls that the merger was far from easy and that not everyone wanted it to be successful. In these small country churches, sometimes those naysayers were friends, sometimes they were family.
When asked how she knew she was moving in the right direction when family and friends sometimes pulled in a different direction, Mrs. Howard drew on her faith. She believed god was calling her and others like her to creative a church that more accurately reflected his kingdom and when times were difficult a small group of like-minded people committed to love where able to find the way.
The Quince Orchard Project feels so fortunate to spend time with Mrs. Howard getting to know her and her story. We’re proud we were able to be present with Mrs. Howard and her immediate and extended family as she celebrated a new, awesome birthday milestone – 99 years! We pray for many more wonderful birthdays and that we all have the courage that she and others did and continue to demonstrate in the name of love and community.