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Constituents, Politicians Attend Funeral

March 29, 1988

SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) _ Rep. James Howard, D-N.J., who died last week after suffering a heart attack, was eulogized today as a productive congressman whose contributions can be seen throughout the country.

″He worked hard and he played hard and he laughed full-tilt,″ said House Speaker Jim Wright, D-Texas, who spoke during a Roman Catholic funeral Mass for Howard.

″His candle burned brightly for 60 years and others came and lighted their candles from him,″ said Wright.

More than 850 people, including four busloads of congressmen and their aides, attended the service at St. Catharine’s Church here.

Aides to Howard restricted access to the church because it could hold about 400 people, and a crowd of about 450 watched from the street as the casket was brought into the church. Loudspeakers broadcast the service to those gathered outside.

Howard, 60, died Friday, a day after suffering a heart attack while playing golf in a Washington suburb.

He represented the state’s 3rd Congressional District and served in the House for 22 years. He was the second-most senior member of New Jersey’s congressman behind Rep. Peter Rodino, also a Democrat.

Acting as pallbearers at today’s funeral were Sen. Bill Bradley and Rep. Robert A. Roe, both D-N.J., Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt, R-Ark., state Sen. Frank Pallone, D-Monmouth, and Monmouth County freeholders John Villapiano and John D’Amico.

Rep. Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz., also spoke during the service.

″Jim was one of the best, most productive congressmen, most beloved congressmen,″ said Udall, who attributed Howard’s success to his honesty and his enthusiasm.

″I never saw anyone with a more infectious manner come to the House floor. He was everywhere at once,″ said Udall.

As chairman of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee, Howard largely controlled highway and transportation projects nationwide.

″The handy work and fruits of Jim’s labor″ can be seen in Monmouth County as well as across the nation, Wright said.

In Washington on Monday, the House and Senate voted unanimously to name the New Jersey segment of Interstate 195 after Howard.

Howard’s staff says it will continue to provide service to constituents, although the district will not have a vote in the House until a successor is elected.

Gov. Thomas H. Kean must call a special election to replace Howard and has said he will consider holding it Nov. 8 as part of the general election.

Third District voters would be asked to pick someone to finish the final two months of Howard’s term, and cast a second vote to choose a congressman for a full term beginning in January 1989.

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