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Lukens Band

of Coatesville, PA


Howard Arewell Griffith

Howard Arewell Griffith was born on November 27, 1926 in Modena, PA, the son of Estella Fredd Griffith and Howard Arewell Griffith. He was a junior and their only child. On his father's side of the family he is Welsh, and German on his mother's side. His grandfather emigrated from Wales where his surname was spelled Gruffydd. It was Anglicized to be Griffith. Howard's father was raised in Delta, PA which is west of the Susquehanna River and near the Pennsylvania/Maryland border. Grandfather Griffith played the organ in church and at home. He died one month prior to Howard's birth. Howard's father played a coronet for while with the Lukens Band when Charles Gates directed the band. Estella played the piano but not seriously.

In his infant years the family lived in Coatesville near the place that would become Oscar Moore's home on 8th Avenue. Around the time Howard began school, his father bought a house on the west end of Downingtown and north of Route 30. Howard attended a Downingtown School for first grade and part of second. During this time his father started to work for Lenape Hydraulic and continued in that job for thirty years. His family lost the house and moved to West Chester. Howard attended the Demonstration School which taught grades one through six. The Demonstration School was affliated with West Chester State Teachers College (later became West Chester University). From this school he went on to junior and senior high schools in West Chester where he was in the class of 1945.

When Howard was in fifth grade and starting to play a trumpet, there was no formal instrumental music progam at the Demonstration School, but college students were sent to help grade school students learn how to play instruments. West Chester had an instrumental music program for junior and senior high school students, but Howard did not particpate because the machine shop curriculum that he was in did not leave him enough spare time for band and orchestra. He took private lesson outside of school and bought his first trumpet while in high school. Its was made by Conn, and he purchased it at Henton and Knecht in Philadelphia.

In 1945 Howard was drafted into the US Army and was discharged two years later in 1947. Following his Army service he went to the Hobart Welding School in Troy, Ohio where he learned both gas and electric welding, and then he went to work for his uncle in Coatesville. The next educational step was to learn more about drafting which he did at a school in Upper Darby. That led to a job with DuPont in 1950 that he held until retirement in 1985.

In the early 1950s Howard started playing with the old West Chester Band, practiced with the Norristown Band and paraded with the Lukens Band. Charlie Mast, the Lukens Band manager, asked Howard to participate in parades which in turn led to his joining the concert band. At that time Jim Mayberry was the conductor. He started playing the 3rd trumpet part and then moved on to 2nd and 1st trumpet. For many years he sat next to Bob Ritter. Both of them also played in the Lukens German Band.

In 1974 Howard took the job as Business Rep for musician's local 484 in Chester and remained in that capacity for about ten years. Some time between 1974 and 1984 he was elected to be a board member of Local 484. The Chester Local and the Delaware Local merged in the 1990s, and he remained a board member until 2006 or 2007.

Also in 1974, Charlie Mast put Howard on the Lukens Band board of directors as the union Business Rep for the band. Howard remained on the board even after the band left the union, and as of 2014 he still is on the Lukens Band board of directors.

For years Bob Ritter was the band's librarian. In the early 1990s Bob turned over his responsibilities as librarian to Howard. An essential function of the librarian, according to Howard, is to be the mule who lugs all the music to the job sites. As the band's librarian Howard did much more than act as the band's mule. He cataloged more than 3900 compositions that were in the Lukens inventory and the inventory of the former Norristown Band. He has kept this catalog current, and it is on the band website. Another accomplishment was renovating the walk in vault that the band is allowed to use for storing music. He wired it for lighting and did the carpentry work to install shelves. Howard was librarian through 2013.

Trumpets that Howard has owned over the years include a Conn, an Olds and two Schilke trumpets which are his favorites. In addition to the trumpets he has a Getzen flugel horn.

Howard met his future wife, Lydia Daiuta, before he entered the Army in 1945. They married in 1952, lived in an apartment in West Chester until 1955 when they moved to the house in West Goshen where Howard still lives. Lydia died on November 4, 2009.

Howard Griffith died November 5, 2015 at the age of 88, six years and a day after the death of his wife, Lydia.

German Band May 16, 2011

Lukens German Band on May 16, 2011
Howard Griffith is in front on the far right.

Howard Griffith July 11, 2014

Howard Griffith on July 11, 2014 with his Getzen trumpet

Lydia Griffith obituary

Lydia Griffith Obituary