Howard Stark was the founder and CEO of Stark Industries, and one of the guiding lights behind the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Along with Captain America's shield, he also designed endless gizmos and gadgets for the new organization, including, back in 1942, the prototype for Lola.

Howard was the man who tapped Peggy Carter to head up the new 'world police', bypassing, and infuriating, endless higher-ranked male agents. His son, Tony, would take Stark Industries to new heights and into new realms.

According to the newspaper headline shown to Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff by the mechanized form of Dr. Arnim Zola in Winter Soldier, his wife's name was Maria, and she died with him in a car accident seemingly caused by HYDRA.

Howard was instrumental in getting the first iteration of S.H.I.E.L.D. off the ground, and loaned his generally imperturbable butler, Edwin Jarvis, to Peggy Carter for her sundry misadventures.