Recalling Life Of Marcela Zabala Howard

Marcela Zabala Howard

Marcela Zabala Howard was the widow of Charles S. Howard, who was an early automotive salesman who later became a racehorse owner in the Western United States. The most famous person of his day at the time was her husband. This article will look into Marcela Zabala Howard’s background and inspirations.

About her

Marcela Zabala Howard was born on September 22nd, 1903, in Salinas, California. Marcela was descended from pioneering families in California. Charles Howard met and fell in love with Marcela, who was Howard’s daughter-in-law and Anita’s older sister, after the passing of Mr. Howard’s little son, Frankie, and the dissolution of his first marriage. After few years Marcela Zabala Howard became the bride of Charles Stewart Howard.

Charles Stewart Howard passed away on June 6, 1950; he was born on February 28, 1877. He was a successful businessman from the United States. Along with becoming a well-known thoroughbred racehorse owner, he amassed wealth as an automobile dealer.

Early life

Marcela was a former convent student, a young actress, and 25 years old when she first met Mr. Howard. At the time, Howard was 52 years old. Mr. Howard and Marcela both had a love for horses. In 1932, they got hitched. She shared Mr. Howard’s perspective on the Seabiscuit the famous horse. In 1950, Mr. Howard passed away.

Later on, Marcel started seeing Leslie C. Fenton. He was a British actor, director, and decorated Royal Navy sailor. Leslie and Marcela were married in 1952. He had previously been married to Ann Dvorak, a movie star.

The Fenton family lived in Pebble Beach, built Carmel Plaza, and ran an antique store. In 1976, they relocated to Montecito, close to Santa Barbara, where Mr. Fenton died in 1978.

Her first husband

One of the greatest Buick salespeople in history, Howard, was so called. He purchased the horse, Seabiscuit, who would eventually become renowned. According to Laura Hillenbrand’s biography of Seabiscuit, Howard’s initial car company in San Francisco received a boost from the hand of fate since, on the day of the 1906 earthquake that struck, he was one of the few people in the city with functional automobiles and was able to considerably aid the rescue effort.

Long before he purchased Seabiscuit, Charles Howard bought the 16,000-acre Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, Mendocino County, in 1921. The Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital was founded by the elder Howard as a tribute to his son Frankie, who died there at the age of 15 in 1926 following a vehicle accident on the premises. The first kid from his first marriage.

Seabiscuit, the famous horse, was the best-known inhabitant of Ridgewood Ranch. Charles Howard had other horses there during his second career as a Thoroughbred owner, including Kayak II (also known as Kajak) and the Hall of Fame colt Noor, who was the first of only two horses to upset two American Triple Crown champions.


Marcela consistently provided funding to several historical, ecological, and artistic groups throughout California. Her contribution to the environment and history is inevitable.

The best-selling sports history book “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand, which came out in 2001, included Marcela as one of its themes. In the 2003 movie adaptation, Elizabeth Banks played the role.


Marcela Zabala Howard was a remarkable woman. She passed away on March 31st, 1987 at the age of 83. She passed away in California’s Montecito. She was laid to rest in Santa Barbara Cemetery in California, where she was born.