John was born and grew up in Great Falls, Montana during the 40's,and 50’s. His family was entrepreneurial and involved in various local businesses. Art and history lovers, the Howard family was among the founders of the CM Russell Museum.

At a very early age, John's interest in the West was piqued when John's father handled the insurance and bonding for the Bovey family who owned Virginia City and restored it to what it was in Montana’s territorial days.

Another childhood stroke of fate landed John as the paperboy for O. C. Seltzer. John was able to watch him paint many times during his daily delivery.

Part of John’s childhood was spent growing up on the Antelope Ranch (Later known as the B&H Ranch) in Utica, Montana; which his father bought in 1954. Charles M. Russell previously cowboy's the ranch in the 1880’s. During his time on the ranch John was able to get to know a number of early day ranching families who were intimate with Charlie and the early days of the Old West cattle industry.

John left Montana in the early 1960’s to attend college and pursue a career; what seems like lifetimes from his days delivering papers and working the family ranch, John is home again in Montana. His work is dedicated to Montana history, the artists and the art of the late 1890’s through the early 20th century.