Kenneth “Obie” Harrington-Howes

PORTLAND – Kenneth “Obie” Harrington-Howes, 69, died on March 16, 2024 in Portland, Maine.

Having suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI) nearly 27 years ago, Obie lived a life of tremendous strength and dignity. With humor, grit, and desire to help others, he brought hope and warmth to hundreds with SCIs. He was amazing to the end as he dealt also with lung cancer and congestive heart failure.

Born on Christmas day in 1954 in Framingham, Mass., to the late Kenneth Howes, Jr. and Augusta Wolcott Howes, Kenneth Howes III had three older siblings, Franny, Anna, and Lili who adored him and dragged him around like a doll, calling him “Our Brother”, which became Obie. Raised in Framingham with his siblings and many dogs, the family were all fabulous skiers and spent winter weekends at Mad River Glen (Ski It If You Can!) in Vermont.

At the University of Connecticut, where he played lacrosse, Obie met his future spouse, Beth Harrington, when both were living in an experimental coed dorm in the ‘70s. Married as they graduated, Obie and Beth moved to Greenwich Village in NYC, where Obie followed in his father’s footsteps and became a banker, for most of the time with Chase, later JPMorgan Chase.

After having two children, Michael and Katie, in NYC, Obie and Beth moved to Connecticut where their son Peter was born. While living in Darien, Conn., Beth’s hometown, Obie was very active-coaching kids’ sports (lacrosse, hockey, and soccer) and volunteering (United Way, Challenger League Baseball, and Prevent Blindness CT). He was honored for his volunteer work in 1996 by being asked to carry the Olympic Torch in town on its way to Atlanta.

In 1997, at the age of 42, Obie was hit by a rogue wave while playing with 14-year-old son, Peter, at Jones Beach in New York. His SCI classified him as a C-7 quadriplegic. Within weeks of the injury, Obie and Beth’s friends started a fund-raising campaign initially to help him and his family cope. This fund eventually became The Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation (OHHF), which over the next 20 years raised over $3.5 million and helped over 300 people with SCIs in Connecticut. Obie was the heart of this effort and was immensely proud of all that he and the foundation were able to accomplish.

Obie continued to work for JPMorgan Chase, which was always accommodating of his new limitations, for almost 20 more years. After retiring at 60, he and Beth moved to Portland to be near their children in Maine and Boston. Never one to be idle for long, Obie worked with handicapped kids through a Portland area school program, got through Covid, and then worked for SCI Boston, a non-profit that helps people with SCIs in New England, very much like the OHHF did in Connecticut.

Obie was predeceased by his sister, Lili Howes. He is survived by his spouse, Beth Harrington-Howes; his children, Michael Howes (Janna) of Utah, Katie Treem (Isaac) of Maine, and Peter Harrington-Howes (Annie) now of Colorado; five grandchildren, Emmet and Harris Howes, Ben and Sam Treem, and Charlie Harrington-Howes; his siblings, Franny Valiente of Arizonia and Anna Betz of Vermont; a very large extended family, more friends than most, and an extensive array of caregivers and medical providers for whom he and his family have been immensely appreciative. He will be missed.

Arrangements are under the direction of Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St. Portland, Maine. To view Obie’s memorial page or leave a condolence, please visit

Celebrations of Life will be held this summer in Maine and Connecticut.

As Obie’s continuing wish was to help others with SCIs, those who would like to may make a donation

in his honor to:

SCI Boston

Two Rehabilitation Way

Woburn, MA 01891

(617) 952-5643 or


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