Remembering Howard

Ten years ago, the Club mourned the death of Counselor Howard Pompel. We remember again.

In the Club offices, on Club social media and in greater L.A., the victims of the Metrolink crash in Chatsworth Sept. 12, 2008 were mourned on the crash’s 10th anniversary. And that included Howard Pompel, former Club Counselor and insurance expert, who died in that accident.

Councilman Mitch Englander hosted the memorial service.

“Howard was the embodiment of the Employees Club of California,” said Club CEO John Hawkins. “Everybody knew him because he treated everyone as a friend. We mourn his life and everything he meant to us as an association, and as just people.”

Among the 25 people who died in that disaster were two other City employees, LAPD Officer Spree DeSha and Michael Hammersley, Public Works.

A 10th anniversary memorial service, organized out of the office of Councilman Mitch Englander, was held Sept. 12 in Chatsworth adjacent to the site of the crash. Metrolink trains passing in the near distance sounded their horns. At the ceremony, brief biographies were read before a bell was rung for each of those who died. Howard’s bio was read by Bryan McQueeney, Chief Executive Officer of Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship, the ranch where the service was held.

Bryan McQueeney, Chief Executive Officer of Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship, the ranch where the service was held, read Howard’s biography before a bell was rung in Howard’s memory.

Howard began working for the Club in June 2001 as the Association’s in-house Insurance Counselor and specialist in Long-Term Care, Life Insurance and Disability Insurance.

As John Hawkins said 10 years ago, “I can’t think of a better representative the Club could have ever had. The happiness, safety and peace of mind of all Club Members were very important to Howard. He was everything we are, wrapped up in one person. He was special, one of a kind. It’s a great loss for everyone who knew him, and for the City.”

Pauline Murano, daughter of a Club Member who had died just before Howard did, received some paperwork and a sympathy card from Howard. Signed on Sept. 12, the day Howard died, it might have been Howard’s last piece of correspondence. “I want his family to know,” Pauline wrote to the Club, “that Mr. Pompel spent his last day and probably every day helping people.

“He was so helpful and sympathetic.”

The Club’s sympathies continue to reach out to Howard’s surviving family. Rest in peace, good friend.