"Why pie? Answering that is about as easy as explaining why seemingly healthy Marcus dropped dead at the age of 43," she wrote in her book, Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie. "If only the answer was as easy as 'It was his time.'"
Relaxed in her pie-filled RV, she elaborated. "What I learned is people don't like to talk about grief," she said. "That's a big reason why I'm here."
"If I just keep slicing pie, that helps me. It's not a cake that you make with a little mixer. This is something made by hand," she said. "The pioneers made pie; the pilgrims made pie. It's about endurance. It's about nurturing. It's about simplicity. It's about nostalgia. And ultimately, for me, it's about sharing and it's about giving."
Her love of pie goes back to her parents' courtship. One night, her mom baked a banana crème pie. When the two finished, her father said, "Will you marry me?"
"Pie makes me happy," she said. "It makes people happy. It makes me want to do something nice for somebody else."
Another resident knocks on her door. She wanted a pie for her family and for a friend's. A smile grew across her face when she was given two.
Howard smiled too.
"People smiled today," she said. "And that alone was worth the drive."
So far, she has raised $7,000 in donations. Any extra money -- after gas and pie expenses -- will be donated to a local grief counseling center.