Mars Howard of Mars Worldwide Moving Company has moved on – St. Louis American

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The late Mars Howard, owner of Mars Moving Company. 

The late Mars Howard, owner of Mars Moving Company. 
The sudden death on January 10 of Mars Howard, owner of Mars Worldwide Moving Company and, later, Sky Moving Company, took many locals by surprise.
“Mars was my go-to guy,” former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr said. “When I was city clerk, I started putting Mars in as part of our minority participation plan. I’d say he moved about 30 judges every year to their offices. He moved me from the Clerk’s office and into and out of the mayor’s office. He was always on the site dressed in a suit and tie, telling his guys what to do because he knew us and how we felt about our things.”
Howard was born May 30, 1960. He started Mars Moving Company in 1985, and it was an electric time of economic, political, and social progress in St. Louis. William L. Clay, the first black elected congressman in St. Louis, was still in office. Virvus Jones was comptroller and by 1993, Bosley was elected as the city’s first black mayor. Attorney Eric Vickers, activists and other politicians and protesters were making headway to ensure blacks were getting a larger slice of the economic pie in the region.
“He was someone who always had an ‘I can’ attitude about life in general. I never saw him down even when things weren’t going well for him.” – Malik Ahmad, founder of Better Family Life, Inc.
There was also a plethora of black news sources, with three black weeklies, including the St. Louis American, and daily talk radio shows featuring the likes of Onion Horton, Hank Thompson, Robin Boyce and the late and incomparable Lizz Brown. All varieties of black-owned businesses were popping up, and Howard was, as Bosley phrased it, “the go-to guy” to move them in and out of their establishments.
“We were all hustling back then, man,” Sterling Moody, founder of Sterling Marketplace, a black-owned grocer, said. “Mars had that entrepreneurial spirit. He was a guy who would wear a suit and not let his tie get in the way while he lifted a couch. That’s just the way he was.”
Moody said he saw Howard the Friday before he died. 
“He was his normal, humorous self,” he said. “I’m still recovering from COVID. So, when he stopped by, he said, ‘Don’t move too fast, man. Don’t rush it. Take your time. It’s gonna get better tomorrow.’”
People who knew Howard remember his upbeat attitude and positive presence. When asked to describe Howard in one word, Malik Ahmed, founder of Better Family Life, Inc., didn’t hesitate to say:
“Optimist,” Ahmed answered. “He was someone who always had an ‘I can’ attitude about life in general. I never saw him down, even when things weren’t going well for him. He had these witty, little sayings like when I asked, ‘How you doing, Mars?’ He’d answer, “not fine…I’m doing very fine.”
Howard and I became good friends in the early 1990s after I started my monthly publication, Take Five Magazine. He moved my business twice and moved me into my home and apartments about three times. At times, my fortunes vacillated, but Howard was never one to participate in pity parties. He was always upbeat and a steady encouragement even as he endured challenges with his own business.
“Mars was tough and just so positive,” Howard’s twin sister, Mary Howard-Shands, recalled. “Even when the sky was falling, he’d say, ‘Don’t worry, the sun will come back up tomorrow.’
Apparently, humor runs deep in the family. When asked about Howard’s middle name, “Nocost,” his twin sister laughed as she explained how it was their father, Nocost Burchett Howard’s first name. Their father was born in Covington, Tennessee. When their grandfather asked the small-town doctor what he owed for delivering his son, he replied, “no cost,” Howard-Shands, recalled, and that’s what he named his son.”
Howard-Shands shared parts of her twin brother’s obituary where the family described him as “comical, jovial, and a joy to all who knew him.” According to the obituary, Howard leaves behind his wife Patricia, five children and a host of grandchildren. 
Services will be held Friday at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, 915 N. Taylor Avenue, St. Louis, MO, 63108.
Mars Nocost Burchett Howard, “the moving man,” has moved on and will be sorely missed by those of us lucky enough to have called him “friend.”

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