WeissCrax: No Ordinary Joe

Community Star Howell shines in life & SB Triathlon again … and again

Search Joe Howell Santa Barbara on-line and it stretches to Gooooooooogle before the hits dry up. Many screens encompassing professional expertise as an attorney with the firm that bears his name  – Howell, Moore & Gough LLP … community affiliations … ‘sound bytes’ …  athletic achievement.

When all pieced together, it weaves a beautiful tapestry of a worldly guy who started life in Texas years ago and who has, since 1974, cultivated strong local Santa Barbara roots — a guy with the most incredible range.  A guy who…

The extra-ordinary Joe Howell during the Santa Barbara Triathlon. (Courtesy of John Herzog)

  • Lives the 60 is the new 40 mantra with his boyish good looks and sleek athletic-cut;
  • Is as comfortable in a business suit as he is in a wetsuit — in the boardroom or on East Beach;
  • In a high-pressure legal gig – is always as cool as can be;
  • Amongst a planet-full of egos, is humble pie;
  • Competes individually in endurance sports, yet is all about ‘team’;
  • Serves as a leader and is an endless giver in his community;
  • Without question, lives life to the fullest!

Yes, Joe Howell is the kind of guy who can do it all … and who usually does.

And this past weekend, he did it again….

Like he has been doing for years, he competed in the 2010 Santa Barbara Triathlon — one of 2,000 athletes.

(“Joe is a classic. We just love him,” sez Joe Coito, Owner & Director, Santa Barbara Triathlon. “He is what this event is all about!”)

But what sets Howell apart is that he is a rare athlete who competes both days.

For those scoring at home, that’s:

SATURDAY:  1-mile ocean swim, 34-mile bike & 10-mile run.

SUNDAY:   500-yard ocean swim, 6-mile bike & 2-mile run.

“Not only does he compete in both events, but his times are very impressive, as well,” says Fred Kass, friend, fellow “Tri-Guy’ and local Cancer Doc.

No kidding!

Howell finished Saturday’s course @ 3:54:08 and the Sunday Sprint @ 48.36 — both good for 2nd place in his age group.  On Sunday, he also picked up a special community service award for his firm’s long-time sponsorship – and for his very personal involvement in launching the Sunday Sprint venue with pals: Jack Bianchi, Jamie Allison and Dawn Schroeder.

At SBART's Women in Sports Luncheon earlier this year, Joe catches up with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust's Chris DeVries

And while his recent triathlon performance(s) will likely extend the next Joe Howell Santa Barbara computer query,  it’s time to add a little more splash, if you will, on some more personal data not already documented in cyberspace.


Stuff about Howell’s character and commitment …

And his total dedication and selfless service to others …

His always-generosity, good natured-ness, healthy sense of humor and humility…

And  the depth and abundance of ‘community love’ freely returned to Howell for over 35 years of helping others since moving here with his bride, Barbara, shortly after discovering Santa Barbara on their honeymoon.

Incredible stuff like this…

Joe Howell is incredibly supportive of the students in our community. As a past president of Partners in Education and a long-time leader in the organization, Joe takes a direct interest in working with our students and motivating them toward a successful career and future … He’s a champion for our kids.”

–J. Brian Sarvis, Ed.D. Superintendent, Santa Barbara School Districts

And this…

When you are exhausted from a race and dragging yourself to the finish line, Joe is always there cheering you on!  Even though he already zipped through the course, he is there making you feel that you are about to win the race!”

–Megan Cotich, Santa Barbara Triathlete


Joe is one of the most amazing people I know, Although he puts impressive amounts of energy into his own athletic pursuits and has numerous notable achievements, what makes him truly remarkable is what personal interest he takes in other people and the encouragement he provides to those around him… Joe is always looking for ways to help people. Examples are his propensity to turn just about any athletic event into a fundraiser for a worthy cause, and his willingness to invest countless hours of his time mentoring a local high school student.

–Rick Battles, Local Runner, Colleague & Friend

Plus this…

From his leadership with Computer For Families to Partners in Education to the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable and numerous other organizations that support student success in the classroom and the athletic field, Joe Howell stands alone as ‘The Iron Man’ who never tires in his work on behalf of educating our children.

–Casey Roberts, Teacher, Carpinteria HS

Almost finally….

In addition to the Boston Marathon and the Hawaiian Ironman – about three years ago Joe successfully completed (and placed well at) the very demanding Everest Challenge, a multi-day biking race in the eastern Sierras. And for four-five years straight, Joe has completed the full Death Ride (taking place each July out of Markleeville, CA, at 7,000-9,000 ft altitude, and over 129 miles with 16,000 feet of climbing.) He is a tireless, hard-working athlete, supporter of our community (and family, friends and colleagues) and attorney. His steadfast, driven work on behalf of Computers for Families over the years and related mentoring has been particularly inspirational for me and others… He’s a tremendous role model.”

–Kim McDaniel, Friend & Colleague

And this, too…

We really, really love Joe for his goodness of heart that he brings to his volunteer and community work. He has helped us achieve many goals without any need  or desire for recognition or fanfare…what I am most inspired about is Joe’s commitment to a little boy he met years ago named Jose – a student being helped thorough our Computers for Families  Program. He came to speak at a Board retreat when he was in 6th grade and he and Joe connected. Since then Joe has served hundreds of hours as a mentor, and tutor to Jose and his family. He has helped them in so many ways and had given Jose a direct and relevant example of the benefits of a good education. We would be a much stronger, healthier and more vibrant community if there were more people like Joe Howell.

–Ben Romo, Executive Director, Santa Barbara Partners in Education

The community love continues with these golden nuggets…

An incredible person and a true hero of mine. — Jeremy Vaa, Teacher, San Marcos High School

Santa Barbara’s #1 community supporter of education, athletics and philanthropy. –Dawn Schroeder, Teacher & Founder, Momentum 4 Life

Joe and daughter, Sarah, doing the 2009 Pier to Peak - her longest run ever.

Fair, funny and a faithful friend! — Ethel Byers, Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable Legend (& local tennis powerbroker)

An anchor in the community over many years. He can always be relied upon to do the right thing.               — Brian Hill, Superior Court Judge, State of California

A unique combination of intellect, athletic ability and community commitment. Plus, he remembers every joke he has ever heard and is a great storyteller.  — Fred Clough, retired corporate attorney and past WeissCrax subject, who is currently biking across America… again

Wonderful, fun, just an all-around great guy – and a pretty good runner, too! –Joseph E. Holland, Santa Barbara County Clerk  

In 2011 when the Channel City Club celebrates its 65th anniversary, Joe will have served as Counsel on our Executive Committee for 20 years! We really appreciate him! — Judith Hill, Executive Director

“Joe is just an incredible guy with a heart of gold. We became friends in the early ‘90s after my cancer. He’s my friend, lawyer and partner in our G5 (Gang of 5) training group. – Jack Bianchi, Businessman, Philanthropist & Coach

An inspiration to me as an athlete and a human being. — Anonymous Presidiosports.com Columnist

And what about that young student whom Howell mentors?

Well, here’s Jose Lozano, himself:

Joe is a pretty cool guy… I met him when I was in 6thgrade at Adams Elementary School and I’m now a Junior at San Marcos (High School) … I feel very lucky to have him in my life … I can talk to him … ask him for advice and he always gives good recommendations … he has been there to push me at times when I wanted to give up … I go to his office every day after school to do my homework because I can’t do it at home … I have bigger hopes and dreams because of him … I’m not going to  settle .. I want to show people that I can do it … I want to be lawyer just like him…he is a big role model for me … he’s like my best friend and even my father sometimes … he’s just somebody very special I know I can count on … he’s ‘the best.’

Touching lives, changing lives and making the universe a better place is what Joe Howell is all about — a world class guy;  a caring, community leader;  an athletic stud; an enthusiastic fixture at local endurance race events;  a great family man and fun, faithful friend.

“I’m incredibly blessed with a wonderful family (wife Barbara, son Ben, a lawyer, and his wife Elena;  daughter Sarah, a teacher,  and her husband Lucas).  We live in a remarkable community and like virtually everyone who is involved in some non-profit activity or community organization, I truly feel like I get a lot more out of these activities  (what my pal Larry Crandell calls ‘psychic income’) than I give.”

And so now on that next Joe Howell Santa Barbara Google search, and all the ones that follow, everyone can see what we already know here in our little quaint little community by the sea.

It’s clear that our beloved, now-Native Son — Weldon U. Howell, Jr. certainly “ain’t no ordinary Joe!”


  1. Tina Fanucchi says

    Joe has it all going on- smarts, talent, looks, athletic ability, personality… dang he’s our own James Bond!
    And Randy, you ain’t no chop liver yourself!
    Tina Fanucchi

  2. Pete Umoff says

    Awesome! Joe, did you write all this stuff?

  3. Michael Crandell says

    Uncle Joe: we at Team Crossroads salute you! Not only are your contributions varied and numerous, but you have a ton of fun while at it — and spread that spirit contagiously. You are the quintessence of optimism.
    – Michael Crandell

    P.S. Please call me about the $10 you borrowed.