Burbank Councilwoman’s Husband Commits Suicide

Times Staff Writer

Prominent Burbank attorney John A. (Jack) Howard, who gave up political aspirations 22 years ago but often spoke on issues while his wife, Mary Lou Howard, sat on the Burbank City Council, committed suicide Saturday, authorities said.

Howard, 53, was found near a remote campground just outside Santa Clarita at 9 a.m. by a passer-by, said L. Shelton, supervising investigator with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. Shelton said Howard apparently shot himself outside his car in the 25500 block of Sand Canyon Road.

A suicide note was inside the car, Shelton said. The contents of the note were not disclosed.

Mary Lou Howard said Saturday that her husband “has been in failing health for several months. He had been very despondent over his health in the last few days.”


The councilwoman, who was recuperating at her mother-in-law’s Burbank home from a fractured pelvis she suffered during a fall at her home last month, said services were pending.

Howard, a lifelong Burbank resident, was a personal-injury attorney who shelved his political ambitions after losing a bid for Congress in 1966. His wife was elected to the Burbank City Council in 1979 and is in the middle of her third term.

Although Howard rarely appeared at political gatherings, City Hall observers said he always maintained an interest in city politics and was at times outspoken on Burbank issues.

Howard last year became more active when he publicly criticized city officials for not being more aggressive to slow development around Burbank.


“I don’t pussyfoot around issues,” Howard said last year. “I call it the way it is. It makes some people uncomfortable.”