Howard Pompel

Howard Pompel, 69

Died: September 12, 2008
This particular day, he came home an hour early because he didn't feel good. If he didn't, he wouldn't be dead now.
— Beckie Pompel, wife
Pompel's wife said her husband of 12 years loved live theater, eating out and playing Scrabble. Annette Conway, his 37-year-old daughter, remembered her father as "happy, joyful, outgoing, friendly, generous. He wore his heart on his sleeve. He loved to make people laugh."
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52 memories of Howard

I am the other daughter and I am so sad that he is gone. He was always there for me no matter what the situation. He always wanted to make me happy. I will miss him so very much and I cant beleive he is gone.

— allie parnell
September 14, 2008 at 12:08 a.m.

Howard always made it a point to spend time talking with L.A. City Employee Club members about a number of our concerns. He made you feel like a close family member. Howard was a true professional who cared a great deal.

— R Barron, LA City Club Member, Lees Summit, MO
September 14, 2008 at 6:47 a.m.

Howard was a fellow charter member of the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise with my husband, Bill. We have fond memories of time and events shared with him.

It was devastating to see his name among the fatalities of this horrible accident. Our hearts and prayers are with his family.

Darlene & Bill Hughes
Kailua-Kona, HI

— Darlene Hughes
September 14, 2008 at 1:35 p.m.

God bless all the families and friends who lost loved ones in this horrible accident.

May we learn from the mistakes that caused this tragedy so it never happens to others...

— Linda, St. Louis, MO
September 14, 2008 at 8:24 p.m.

I am a retired Water and Power employee. Howard helped me to rectify a problem with a deduction from my check. His daughter went to school with my daughter Kelly. My family and I will miss him. His family is in our prayers!
God Bless,
The Zorick's

— Mark Zorick
September 14, 2008 at 9:39 p.m.

I worked with Howard for over five years. He smiled everyday and always had a kind word. He called me "Kiddo". I'll miss him and remember him fondly.

— Michael Anderson
September 15, 2008 at 8:22 a.m.

We were absolutely shocked to hear of Howard's untimely death. We knew Becky even before she met Howard, and when we met him for the first time we immediately saw the light he brought to her eyes.

We cherish that we still have him in our memories, our hearts and our prayers; his memory will be with us always.

Jeff and Trudi Lasman

— Jeff and Trudi Lasman
September 15, 2008 at 9:07 a.m.

Dear Berry and Cliff,

Your dad was a very special man. We met him and your mom when we were all members of the temple, Your mother and I were pregnant with Berry and Ashley. That as you know was 28 years ago. We didn't see much of each other in the last few years, but I did run into him every so often and there was always a hug and catch up on what has been happening.

He was so friendly and the world will miss his smiling face and good nature.

— Debi Sadowsky
September 15, 2008 at 9:14 a.m.

To Howard's family,
Howard was part of an extended "family" of riders on the 115 train home each day. We sat and talked and shared stories about our families and lives that often left us in gales of laughter. Howard was often the leader of those conversations. He was a sweet, funny and kind man. I know that my fellow train buddies and I will greatly miss him and will always fondly remember him. It's also important that you know he spoke very highly of his wife and children and it was obvious to all of us that he loved you very much.
My thoughts and deepest sympathy are with you.

— Marina Laverdy
September 15, 2008 at 10:45 a.m.

I was saddened to hear about the loss of my good friend Howard. I only knew him for a year and a half. We worked together and he always had a smile on his face and such a great outlook on life. I remember I had surgery on my face with stitches and I was self conscious about it and to make me feel better, he put on a bandaid on his face in the exact location also, to make me feel better. He made me smile... I will miss him so very much....

— Marla
September 15, 2008 at 12:25 p.m.

I sat with Howard on train 115 from L.A... I just recently met him and had allot of funny good conversations with him. The story that stands out to me the most is when Howard had to come to work on a Saturday to teach a class. He asked his Boss if his wife can come stay with him and get a Hotel for the weekend. Howard said he had a great time with his wife, Dinner and a Bottle of wine. He loves his Family vary much. Ill Miss you Howard. A TRUE AMERICAN YOU WILL BE MISSED

— Tim
September 15, 2008 at 12:54 p.m.

I worked with Howard for 3 years and I always thought of him as my second grandfather. He was there when I needed advice, a hug and a laugh. He was a wonderful person with such a genuine heart. I will miss him.

— Michelle
September 15, 2008 at 4:09 p.m.

I worked with Howard for 8 years. He always said that at the City Employees Club of Los Angeles, we were not co-workers, but family. We all felt him as a family member. He is and will be miss very very much!

— Cecilia Talbot
September 15, 2008 at 4:36 p.m.

Recently I Retired from the City of Los Angeles,LAX Police Department. My wife and I spoke to Howatd on many occassions regarding our Insurance Benefits. We spoke to him so often that we felt like he became our friend. I worked for the city of Los Angeles over forty years. Howard was the most kind, concerned and helpful city employee I have ever come in contact with. This year I told him I had seen his picture in the "City Alive" paper. He laughed. We sent him a X-mas card in 2007. Although we never met in person, my wife and I feel like we have lost a Friend. We will miss him. May God Bless his Family.

— Jesse & LV Oliver
September 15, 2008 at 7:22 p.m.

We never met Howard, but spoke to him on the phone for several years. My husband works for DWP and Howard was always so helpful to us. Especially to me. I always had so many questions and he was so friendly to me. When I took my state insurance test, I called him for several questions and he helped me with answers. I was in shock when I saw his name today in the paper. It broke my heart to hear about his untimely death. We will pray for your family. God Bless your family. Again,we are very sorry for your loss. Donna and David Hernandez

— Donna and David Hernandez
September 15, 2008 at 9:21 p.m.

Mr. Pompel, what a nice guy! Our conversations were endless.... we had a lot of laughter and we never got to Laughlin. But you are in my thoughts. May you rest in peace.

— Miss Jake
September 16, 2008 at 9:12 a.m.

I was one of the crew memeber of a ambulance that responded to the accident on that day. I trasported many people that day. I just wanted to say. I'm sorry for your lose.

— Thomas EMS
September 16, 2008 at 9:31 a.m.

I had the pleasure of growing up with Mr. Pompel's son, Cliff & I am blessed to have had the chance to know their family. I remember, in Jr High, thinking Mr. Pompel didn't work becuase every time I turned around he was at our school, morning, mid-day, after school. When we got to High School he was still there, countless times you could find him in front of Royal High chatting with Mrs Hatton or Mr Jackson. He was our Mike Alcala of Parents, always there, always supporting us, some how he knew just about every kids name, & always had a wise crack to make you smile, or a ride home (my personal favorite, right Cliff)!

Now that I am a parent myself I realize that he was just an amazing human being, the most dedicated parent I have ever met, and an advocate for ANY situation... always the first one going head first to defend you! I use to laugh when I would flip TV channels & see him at city counsel meetings, like he was a fixture, but I know he just loved his community.

He will be greatly missed & was put in this world to teach everyone he touched (a LOT of peolpe) a good lesson. I think if Mr. Pompel could talk to you right now he would tell you a funny story just see you smile one last time.

— Apryll Lightell
September 16, 2008 at 11:03 a.m.


September 16, 2008 at 1:33 p.m.


September 16, 2008 at 2:43 p.m.

I was very shocked this morning when I saw a tribute being paid to all the victims of the recent tragedy. I was taken aback when I saw a picture of Howard and saw his name. He and I were co-workers more than 5 years ago and he " showed me the ropes" in the insurance game and spent time counseling me on some personal matters. He made me feel special when he called me "kiddo" and talked so lovingly about Becky.

Thank You Big Guy for being there for me and and you were missed even before you were gone ..SEE YOU WHEN I GET THERE BROTHER.

— Anthony
September 16, 2008 at 4:07 p.m.

howard was a lovable caring guy he replaced everyone who ever cared for us he was a big huggable teddy bear i am his grandson he will be greatly missed as the great loving caring guy he always was. he was the greatest person i ever knew. he was the greatest person that anyone would know.he will be missed very very greatly in everyones hearts.i miss him because he was my grandfather my father and my best friend.

— travis halcomb
September 17, 2008 at 9:24 a.m.

I am a close friend to his son Cliff who is an amazing individual. I have known Cliff and his family for many years and I have seen Cliff go through so much adversity in his young life. He lost his Mom to Cancer last year and has fought to live in light of his own health concerns. He is so thankful to be alive. I will miss Howard and his joyful and playful personality. I feel blessed to have known him and his family. He always brought laughter into the lives he touched.

He will surely be missed and celebrated.

— Jennifer Grande
September 17, 2008 at 10:54 a.m.

I have been with the City of Los Angeles for five years. My kids and I would often stop by the LA City Employee Club when it was in the World Trade Center to purchase tickets for the movies, Disneyland, Ragging Waters etc. When my son would visit from Colorado, I would have them in tow and they would be bouncing off the walls. Mr. Pompel was so helpful even telling me where some of the best theaters were and telling me how to get the most from my discounts with the kids. He would always smile at my children and ask them if they were excited to being going to whatever point of destination we were headed off to. I will miss seeing him and miss his smile. My heart and prayers are with your family at this difficult time

— Mary Jaco - Public Safety Officer
September 17, 2008 at 11:55 a.m.

To the family of Howard we are so sorry for your loss, we have known Howard for over 30 years and remember him as a very happy and giving person. Howard was involved with Bob and I, plus many more in the Simi Valley Chamber and Trade Fair what a great loss

Our prayers are with you God Bless.

— Bob and Jan Adams
September 17, 2008 at 6:01 p.m.

To Howard's Family-

I just returned to riding the train in Sept. I would always see Howards smiling face on the train. The last time I saw him was on the 115 train on tues the 9th and I too heard him talk about the wonderful sunday evening at the bonaventure with his wife. He had us all laughing when he told us that the best part was the she had gone shopping in the jewlery mart and the garment district and "didn't spend a dime." My deepest symapthy goes out to his family.

— shannan
September 17, 2008 at 10:25 p.m.

I met Howard on the train and he would just have us all laughing with all his stories. If I ever had a bad day at work Howard would just cheer me up by telling me a joke...I really appreciated him. He had a great heart! He loved his family he was so proud of his son and daughter. He will be missed.

God will always be with you.

— Jennifer
September 17, 2008 at 11:56 p.m.

Howard, you were one in am million! We will miss your friendly nature and you made everyone smile. Hearing you speak about your love for Cliff and your daughter Barrie confirmed what a loving father you were. Thanks for the memories!! RIP..

— Franseca Blanchard
September 18, 2008 at 8:13 a.m.

Mrs. Pompel & Family -

My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I was in the Northridge Hospital ER when you and your daughter came in looking for your husband on Friday night. The look on your face when they told you he was not on the centralized injured list and that they had gone from Rescue mode to Recovery mode, just broke my heart. The love you obviously had for this man showed on your face. I prayed for you all weekend long and was deeply saddened and affected when I saw his name in the paper that he had not survived the crash. As long as you keep his memories alive, he will live forever in your heart.....

— Lydia Wood
September 18, 2008 at 10:29 a.m.

Howard Pompel also had many many co-workers and friends at Blue Cross of Ca also which has not been spoken of. We were all friends with him and adored him because of his good nature,kindness and love and likeness for people.We worked side by side with him and he became our friends also

I really appreciated him because we were both from the East Coast and his values, attitude, bluntness and even brashness was appreciated by me , I "got him ". Only people from back east understand eachother like we did and have a close affinity to eachother like we did.

From dust to dust Howard, you were an awsome man. I believe in life , God has a special place for you now and he took you specifically because he has greater plan for you like he did with Francis Embry( Blue Cross of Ca). Death is not by accident and by chance but your name was in the "book of life" from the beginning. Although your death was untimely for your family and friends physically that have to live without you , there is greater joy for you with GOD now!

— Deron Kiefer
September 18, 2008 at 10:31 a.m.

My grandpa was the best guy in the world. He will be very missed.
i just wish so many people weren't dishonoring his death. He wouldn't want it this way.
He would want us to all get along. I don't have a father he is the only one i knew and he would tell me every day " U kno i love u alot alexis, and i'am ur father don't ever forget that" and that he would give me his love tap so he called it. The last time i talked to him he said that he was goin to walk me down the aisle at my wedding and it saddens me to no end that he will not b here to do so. He was my bestfriend also he was the only one i could tell nething to and he wouldn't get upset.

i love u grandpa.

— Alexis Halcomb
September 18, 2008 at 12:43 p.m.

Mr. paul szymborski! Shame Shame Shame! This is no time to tell Mr. Pompel's biological children that they were not "close to their dad and that they should stop acting as though they were." Howard may not have shared everything about his children or his wife with you. I worked with him for MANY years at Blue Cross and knew he loved his children and his wife in good times and in bad. Yes, all families go through difficult issues that cause separation but one thing ALWAYS remains true - we remain family!

God Bless & my thoughts are with Howards ENTIRE family at this very sad and difficult loss.

Mr. paul szymborski! ORIGINAL POST:
Being that i am the FAMILY FRIEND who spoke to Howard 5minuts before the crash, i would like to set something straight. Howard and i played scrabble every THURSDAY Night, along the way, we would stop for a bite to eat, and have many one-on-one conversations. For the record, To cliff and barrie, you were not as CLOSE to your dad as you are making everyone beleive. In ALL the conversations Howard and i had on our Thursday night outings, he NEVER EVER mentioned you two. In fact the one time he mentioned Cliffs name, it was in DISGUST. In fact, before the Before the memorial service, i never even knew he had a daughter.So for the record, honor the man, not disgrace his name. So please dont act like the loving children you are making yourselfs out to be.People like you two SICKEN me like no end.

in honor of Howard, i am gooing to miss you very, very much. I really enjoyed our thursdaay night outings, and just wish we could have played pool on that fateful friday like we had planned. GOD BLESS YOU HOWARD

— Saddened
September 18, 2008 at 1:04 p.m.

It is very disheartening to read such cruel & unfair comments from you Paul (SHAME ON YOU). Someone who was "close" to Mr. Pompel would never disregard his children in that manner- turmoil in the family or not. They are his children regardless of what you may THINK you "know" about the family. At a time like this, there should be nothing but positive memories posted here. I grew up w/the Pompel's- Cliff being my brother & sisters age & Barrie, we went to school together from Kindergarden through high school. We may not have spoken much in later years, however you were never far from my thoughts. There's a select few of us that grew up in the Berylwood neighborhood AND with very actively involved parents. I always remember seeing your folks on campus, supporting us kids! My thoughts and prayers are with his ENTIRE family in this trying time. Rest in peace Mr. Pompel.

— Ashley Sadowsky
September 18, 2008 at 9:08 p.m.

I'm very saddened to hear he is no longer with us. He was always so nice to everyone. I would go to the city employees office and he'd always be there. I'm glad I was able to know him. Howard you'll be missed.

— Rosie
September 19, 2008 at 1:42 a.m.

since apparently my last comment didn't post im jus gonna sum it up everybody STAY OUT OF IT!!!!

— Alexis Halcomb
September 19, 2008 at 7:58 a.m.

Yes, SHAME ON YOU PAUL.whoever you are....Imposter. Howard was never planning on meeting you for anything after work. He was going home early from work because he was ill. Stop the drama. Howard was a dear friend to me on our daily rides o nthe Metro. RIP my friend..

— Sherrie
September 19, 2008 at 8:12 a.m.

i know exactly how you feel, my father had passed in that accident, i will pray for him and the whole family. HUGS

— Mey Chao
September 19, 2008 at 9:50 a.m.

I will never forget how much he laughed so hard when he first saw his 65th Birthday cake that my friend Tim made. He didn't want to eat it yet because he got such a kick out of it.

— Dan Salcedo
September 19, 2008 at 2:04 p.m.

I worked with Howard several years ago at Blue Cross and I was shocked to see his name on the list of those in the crash. Howard was always very kind and caring to me and a real friend. Even after we both left Blue Cross I would sometimes run into him at a store in Simi Valley or somewhere and we would chat about how things were going. He was always friendly, cheerful and made everyone feel accepted. He was a hard worker and a true family man. My prayers go out to his entire family.

— Susan Waitkuweit
September 19, 2008 at 3:24 p.m.


— vicki savage
September 19, 2008 at 4:14 p.m.

God bless your soul Howard. God bless you Becky, Berry,Stewart,Cliff,Annette,Allie,Travis,Alexis.

— Kelly and Allie Parnell
September 19, 2008 at 8:04 p.m.

THANK YOU so much to all those whom have said kind words and encouragment!
My father was a dearly beloved man and will be missed by countless many. This is not a time to fight or to dishonor my father as so many have attempted but a time to honor his wishes and his memory. I will never forget my fathers laugh or love and will always be thankful he was in my life for as long as he was.
My dad had a saying whenever anyone would meet him and call him Mr. Pompel, he would say, "Mr. Pompel is my father, I am Howard." Well, now I am honored and privilaged to use his line.
He will always be known as Howard or Howie, but to me he will always be "DAD"!

Dad, I love you!

— Cliff Pompel
September 20, 2008 at 12:05 a.m.

Heyy Sherrie
so wat r u some kind of expert now cuz u sat next 2 my grandpa on the train or where ever doesn't mean u kno if he was or wasn't goin 2 hang out with Paul i happen to kno 4 a fact that Paul and my grandpa had a very good relationship they hung out on many occasions. y so u had some 5 second bond with my grandpa he had a more precious bond with him so SHUT UP!

— Alexis Halcomb
September 20, 2008 at 7:56 p.m.

Howie, My friend and co-worker,
I will miss our early morning talks and on the ways to save the world! The best part of my my day was trying to get a good laugh from you you. We always tried to make each other crack-up in the wrong place. I was so impressed with your scrabble playing and terrificly high scores WOW!!! My favorite story was when you were staying with Stewart and his family and making meat balls with your grandaughter. You had such a look of love and joy on your face!! You will dance in my heart! Our prayers go out to all of your family!
Our prayers to all of our family and firends.

— Katie, LACEA employee
September 21, 2008 at 10:56 a.m.

I had met Howard several times at school events involving his grandson, Travis. As principal of the school, I was able to observe his total devotion to his grandson. His optimism and sense-of-humor put everyone at ease. It was obvious that his family was his priority and their well-being and happiness meant everything to him.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

— Alan Murray
September 21, 2008 at 12:51 p.m.

As a VERY CLOSE FRIEND of Howards who went to dinner and played scrabble EVERY Thursday night with him, i would say i knew him very well. not just from riding on a train with him. And for your info. sherrie, Howard and i HAD planned to get togther that fateful friday night, and i was the last one to talk to him alive. SO SHUT UP!!!! You dont me at all. I lost a VERY DEAR FRIEND on that train.

As for Howards family,: Beckie, Annette, Alexis, Travis, Allie & Kelly, Stuart, and even Barrie, HEART goes out to all of you. Howard will truly b missed. To Beckie and her kids / grandkids...i will always be there for you guys. My heart goes out to u guys

— paul szymborski
September 21, 2008 at 8:31 p.m.

Though we all may have lost someone who is a big part of our lives and our hearts and we are not able to replace or fill that emptyness that our love ones have taken with them when they left this world. but i hope that maybe we all can come together and allow each other to come into each others lives since i know that we all share the same pain. when my father passed in that metrolink 2008 crash my life has not been the same and its been very difficult, my father left behind his wife and 5 children and so many grand children, and we all miss and love him so much but talkin about him with my family and remembering all the good times we had with him helps us with our pain of losing him. so i just would like to let you all know i am here if you need to talk or just someone to listen to you. my email is

my hearts and prayers go out to you.

— mey chao
October 1, 2008 at 10:08 a.m.

To Mrs. Pompel and family,
My sympathy to you and your whole family. I was at the Chatsworth High School the night of the accident, and I met with you several times in your efforts to find Howards' name on the list of recovered. It was a very stressful situation, but you and your family were so gracious, and
your love for him so visible. I too followed the news all that weekend and was deeply saddened to hear of his death.

— Maureen Reilly
October 3, 2008 at 8:18 p.m.

Our hearts and prayers are with you in this most difficult time. We also lost our son Christopher in this accident, he and Howard may have known eachother. We pray that your wonderful memories of him will sustain you.

— Donna & Roy Aiken
October 4, 2008 at 2:13 p.m.

I know, for a fact, that your family and friends are still thinking of you and will constantly think of you.
Someday we will all meet you on the other side and stand before God.
God bless you,

— Kelly Parnell
February 16, 2009 at 12:57 a.m.

I worked with Howard at Blue Cross in sales and just loved him. He always made me laugh and would bring his wife's cottage cheese pancakes. I was so shocked to hear of his early and tragic death. He was a class act. He will be missed.

— Cheryl A Johnson
September 17, 2010 at 8:14 p.m.

I knew Howard, his sister Harriet, his mom Marcia and father Marty when they lived in Brooklyn in the early 1950s. Howard was the guy I looked up to as a child. He was funny and always had something intelligent to tell me, even though I was five years old and Howie was a teenager. At the time my dad was into tape recordings and somewhere in my collection of reel-to-reels there are some recordings of Howie's voice.

My condolences to the Pompel family.

— Michael Tenenbaum
January 26, 2014 at 7:45 p.m.

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Keep in mind
  • The Times initially mispelled the name of Michael Hammersley and Beverly Mosley.
  • The coroner's office reported a 26th victim the afternoon of Sept. 15, but a few hours later said the tally was 25.

Chatsworth Metrolink Crash is the Los Angeles Times' database of fatalities from the Sept. 12, 2008, train collision.

Latest Numbers

25 dead

135 injured

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