Became hard of hearing at age 5, but retained enough hearing to interpret for deaf persons. Attended public schools, the Minnesota School for the Deaf, and Gallaudet College. Married Jay Cooke Howard (q.v.), later divorced him. In 1915, went to work for the Minnesota Labor Bureau for the Deaf, the first of its kind in the country, and remained in vocational rehabilitation for the deaf for over 40 years. Petra Fandrem Howard was the first female president of the Minnesota Association of the Deaf and served from 1941-1946. She also served on the Gallaudet College Alumni Association Board of Directors, and other deaf organizations. Upon retirement in 1960, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Gallaudet College. A residential therapeutic center for deaf persons in St. Paul, MN, was named in her honor.
1940 - 1950. "Portrait of Petra Fandrem Howard, president of the Minnesota Association for the Deaf, Minnesota." Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens, Accessed October 23, 2020. https://reflections.mndigital.org/catalog/p16022coll16:159