Sadler, Howard Gilmer

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“We are reminded how short life really is, and how we are just passing through.  So, all the people you haven’t told you love lately, tell them, and live your days like you mean it.”  Hal Sutton

Howard Sadler passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on May 5, 2023, at the homeplace on the family farm in Pulaski, Virginia, with his wife and his dog by his side.  Howard’s family, friends and colleagues are deeply saddened by his sudden death.

Howard is survived by his loving and devoted wife of over 48 years, Su-Su O. Sadler; two daughters, Allison Sadler and Elizabeth Sadler; two granddaughters, Ariel and Caroline Wagner; a sister, Lila (“Sis”) Foster (John) of Marblehead, Massachusetts; a sister-in-law, Betty N. Sadler of Pulaski, Virginia; a brother-in-law, Clark Owen (Emilie); nephews John E. (“Jay”) Sadler, III (Suzan), Ned Foster (Angela), Sam Foster, and Richard Owen; and several great-nieces and nephews and cousins; as well as numerous friends and colleagues.

Howard was predeceased by his parents, John Edward Sadler, Sr. and Lila Gilmer Sadler; a brother, John E. Sadler, Jr.; and a niece, Emily Foster.

Howard had a huge heart and an ever-present smile.  He was outgoing and never met a stranger.  He was witty and clever, fearless and independent.  He would have done anything for his family and friends.  He would have acknowledged he was strong-willed and driven, yet so warm, engaging, charming, funny and fun-loving.  Howard was aways on the go, but in his quieter moments, he loved reading, flyfishing in Montana, working on the homeplace and spending time with his wife, and their family and friends.  He was generous with his time and friendship, and loved to talk on his phone.

A graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, Howard Served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, having actively served his country in Vietnam.

Howard’s career in various corporate leadership positions included work at Sadler Mills and as Plant Manager, Operations and Special Projects Director, and Vice President of Operations for global firms such as Warner-Lambert, Pfizer and Volvo with assignments in such diverse locations as Puerto Rico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  In addition, Howard’s entrepreneurial spirit resulted in the launch of several software development and business consulting enterprises.

Upon returning to the New River Valley, Howard extended his career in residential, commercial and land sales as an associate broker with Coldwell Banker Townside in Blacksburg.  Howard was first licensed in 1980 and was highly regarded by the real estate community and was honored by the New River Valley Association of REALTORS in 2020 with the Ethics in Action award.  Not only was Howard recognized throughout his career with humanitarian awards and top producer success, he was singled out in 2022 for being such a strong foundation of support for all REALTORS that the Cornerstone Award was created to honor him.

Howard had a keen sense of responsibility to the Pulaski community including serving for many years on the Pulaski County Board of Zoning Appeals and frequently serving on Pulaski County Grand Juries, often as Foreman.  He was a multi-generational member of the Pulaski Science Club and was a member of First United Methodist Church, Pulaski, and attended New Dublin Presbyterian Church.

Due to his unique family connections to the 1912 Hillsville Courthouse Tragedy, Howard conducted extensive research into the incident and presented his program, “The Last Witness – A Story of Friendship and Trust” throughout the region.  His historical work contributed to the discovery of court documents central to the incident and their ultimate return to Carroll County on March 14, 2022, the 110th anniversary of the tragedy.

Funeral and Internment with full military honors will be at the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery on May 19, 2023, at 3:00 p.m., with the Reverend Tupper Garden officiating.  Those wishing to attend the service need to be at the cemetery by 2:40 p.m.  A reception will be held afterwards at New Dublin Presbyterian Church.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to New Dublin Presbyterian Church, 5331 New Dublin Church Road, Dublin, Virginia, 24084, in Howard’s memory.

Arrangements by Norris-Stevens Funeral Home, Pulaski, Virginia.