ELBERT DARNELL HOWARD, son of Arlene Cassandra "Cassie" Howard and Stanley Nance was born on July 3, 1958 in Baltimore, Maryland. He departed this life on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 after an unexpected, brief battle with cancer.
Elbert was named by his uncle and was his namesake; he was affectionately called Darnell or "Nell" by his family and friends.
Darnell was born and raised in East Baltimore, Maryland. He was educated in the Baltimore City Public School System. Madison Square Elementary School, #26, Lombard Junior School; and Dunbar High School, #414.
Inspired by his uncle, Bilal Opio Oba, Master Barber and Proprietor of the Third World Barber Shop in the Old Towne Mall at Gay Street, Darnell pursued his interest in barbering. He completed an apprenticeship with his uncle. He continued to master his skills by going to a Maryland Barber Training School, graduating in 1998.
Barbering was Darnell's passion. He lived and breathed the life of the "barbershop", he loved the environment. In the tradition of the black barbershop, under his leadership, Opus was a sanctuary for black men and youth. Old and young alike came to unwind, shoot the breeze and catch up on community news. The Master Barber wore many hats-advisor, confidant counselor, motivator and teacher.
Darnell was raised in a home where church attendance was a must. He received his early religious training at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1029 E. Monument Street. In the spring of 1997 Darnell recommitted his life to Christ at a funeral he attended with his wife at Zion Baptist Church, where his wife and mother were members. He joined the church and was baptized that summer. Darnell was a man of faith.
Darnell met his future wife, Henrietta L. Dill in 1978. Henrietta's brother Woody introduced them at their late brother Timothy's party. They were united in holy matrimony on November 16, 1993, from their union two sons, Daron "Ron" Kenneth, Darrell "Rell" Rodney and one daughter, Chanell Cassie, was born. His wife described their 43 year love affair as "Love at first bite, I was 20 years old just coming off the steps, Darnell had been around the block, he grabbed my hand and we've been going around the block ever since. They "loved hard".
Left to cherish his memory are his: devoted wife, Henrietta; three children, Daron, Darrell and Chanell; one granddaughter, Khloe Da'Kota Howard; three siblings, Lanier B. Ball (James), Norvin "Buster" G. Howard and Julius A. Jackson (LaSandra "Michelle"); ten nephews and nieces, four great nephews and nieces, two uncles, William Elbert Howard (Yoma), Norvin Grafton Howard (Gloria); two aunts, Nadine R. Williams and Natalie R. McAllister (James"Jimmy"); two brother-in-laws, James "Jimmy" Dill (Sandra "San") and William "Woody" Dill; two sister-in-law's, Joyce Lee (Quincy, Jr.) and Mary Dill Williams; a host of young men he mentored, a host of other relatives and friends.
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