Arline Kaye Howdon, who was chief cytologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital and was known nationally and internationally for her work in the field of cytopathology and education, died July 20 of lung cancer at her Harper House condominium in Cross Keys.
She was 91.
The former Arline Kaye was born in Manhattan and in her childhood moved with her family to Miami, where she graduated from high school.
She was a student at Duke University when she left in 1941 to marry Dr. William M. Howdon, a gynecologist who served in the Army Medical Corps.
After the war, the couple returned to Miami, where her husband established a practice in gynecology and obstetrics, and taught at the University of Miami Medical School.
While raising her son and daughter, Mrs. Howdon resumed her college education and was 37 when she graduated summa cum laude in 1957 from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.
In 1960, they moved to Roland Park when Dr. Howdon was appointed to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He died in 1994.
Mrs. Howdon began her graduate studies at Hopkins in cytopathology, the microscopic study of diseases causing changes in cells, under a grant from the U.S. Public Health Service.
She joined the cytology unit in the department of cytopathology at Hopkins and advanced to senior cytologist and finally chief cytologist.
Mrs. Howdon worked for Dr. John K. Frost, a gynecologist and obstetrician who had established the division of cytopathology and a school of cytotechnology in 1959 at Hopkins.
"Arline was there for a long time and was totally devoted to Dr. Frost. They were a very good team," said Karen M. Plowden, who lives in Roland Park and succeeded Mrs. Howdon when she retired in 1989 from what is now the John K. Frost Cytology Laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Mrs. Howdon was also an educational coordinator at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's School of Cellular Sciences, which had also been founded by Dr. Frost.
Mrs. Howdon developed the criteria and the examinations for state certification. She also received three grants from the American Cancer Society to produce training films. She wrote more than 20 articles that were published in professional publications.
"She was such a mentor, and she was an excellent recruiter. She recognized people who would do well in the program and in her hiring," said Mrs. Plowden, who retired in 2007.
"She was very patient and well-organized, and under her administration the department was very stable," she said. "She also rewarded good work."
Mrs. Howdon and Mrs. Plowden later taught together at the Cancer Institute in Tehran, Iran. She also had taught at the International Academy of Cytology in Vienna, Austria, and at other medical institutions in the United States.
"We once went to Iran, where we spent seven weeks teaching cytopathology to Mideastern doctors," Mrs. Plowden said. "Arline had also gone there before on other teaching missions."
Mrs. Howdon received an award from the American Society of Cytopathology in 1975 for "outstanding achievement," and was named International Cytologist of the Year in 1982 by the International Academy of Cytology.
Her philanthropic interests included charities that supported needy adults and children. She had been a member of the board of Grace and St. Peter's Church and school since its inception.
Until its closing last year, Mrs. Howdon supported the Norbel School in Elkridge that worked with children with learning disabilities. She also supported Jacob's Well Inc., a nonprofit that provides housing for the homeless and mentally ill.
Mrs. Howdon was a member of the Baltimore Country Club.
She was a longtime communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where plans for a memorial service were incomplete.
Surviving is her daughter, Leslie Shay Jensen of Austin, Texas; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her son, William M. Howdon Jr., died this year.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun