Making a Connection
The Book Festival of the MJCCA is always chock-full of authors’ once-upon-a-times, and happily-ever-afters, but now it has its very own love story to tell.
In 2017, after Howard Fagin’s beloved wife of 51 years, Sharon, passed away, he was driven to honor her in a meaningful way. Knowing they were avid readers and Book Festival enthusiasts, MJCCA CEO and family friend, Jared Powers, suggested Howard sponsor a Book Festival program in Sharon’s memory. He arranged a meeting with Book Festival Director, Pam Morton and Howard’s daughter Shelly Danz. The “Sharon V. Fagin Joy of Reading Program” was the eventual result of that encounter (and has been a featured event at each Book Festival since), but it wasn’t the only heartwarming outcome.
Howard’s gentle, kind, and calm demeanor inspired Pam. Her mother, Sheila, had been widowed for 21 years following two difficult marriages. Pam and Shelly collaborated once again when Howard was ready to date in late 2018 and presented him with Sheila’s “resume.” “She was a self-starter and self-confident, had raised three daughters, and has a wonderful sense of style,” he shares.
Common interests, such as attending the theater, dining out, and watching movies, as well as a fondness for each other’s friends, bonded them quickly. He’s captivated by her artistic talents and decorating skills, while she adores his deep sense of ethics and devotion to family. They are smitten.
“Covid forced us to spend a lot of one-on-one quality time,” Howard explains. This prepared them to combine households after one year of dating and then buy a house together. “I wanted a new home for Sheila and I to have our own memories in,” he reveals.
Howard’s marriage proposal rivaled the most romantic of novels. Staged in a quiet corner at one of their favorite restaurants in April 2021, with a beautiful flower bouquet presented to Sheila, Howard kneeled and asked for her hand. Their intimate wedding followed in July, prompting both to shed tears of joy as Sheila walked down the aisle. “It has been exciting from our first date right up to now,” she beams. “We blend together so well. We go everywhere together. It’s remarkable what’s happened.”
Sheila and Howard feel a tremendous amount of gratitude toward the MJCCA for their happiness. “We both credit the MJCCA for bringing us together,” Howard says. “It’s been the center of life for me for nearly 50 years.” And now, it has helped write his life’s next chapter.
We credit the MJCCA for bringing us together, and now it has helped write our next chapter.The Fagins