Monday, June 28, 2010

My Uncle Paul

Since this blog is not entirely just about cooking, but more and more about my mother's family, I would be remiss if I didn't report the passing of my Uncle Paul, my mother's only sibling and one of her very few remaining relatives. This has been a painful time for her being far away from him in his final days. She's been blessed with reports from Paul's children who have been caring for him, but those reports have been very hard to hear. Being the caregiver that my mother naturally is, she would have loved to have been by his side to lend a bit of her vast amounts of TLC during the past few months, not only to assist him, but to relieve his children who have put aside their lives to be by his side. But she's got a long list of people to care for here, there, and everywhere. In the end, mother will have her three daughters with her as we travel back to Wisconsin this weekend to celebrate my Uncle Paul's life and have a bit of a family reunion as well...a side benefit of family funerals, I guess.

The following obituary for my uncle ran in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. What it doesn't mention is how he would curse like a sailor when talking about politics, or how he wore black knee socks with shorts, or how he would always convince me that if I could kiss my elbow, I would get a pot of gold coins. He could fly through the NY times crossword puzzle every week. He was an amazing photographer and used his photos to make cards that I always loved receiving as a child. I'd love to have an album of all of his photos, so many of them taken at my grandparents home in Sparta—Granny's peonies, Pa dove hunting. He was a character. He will be missed.

Paul Dillon Howard: February 26, 1925 - June 24, 2010

Born on 2/26/1925 to Augustus & Lula (Dillon) Howard in Akron, OH. The family moved from Akron to Sparta, TN where Paul grew up. In 1943 he graduated from Sparta High School and made the decision to join the Navy. He participated in the Navy's V-12 program which led him to Penn State University where he would receive his bachelor's degree. After college Paul moved to St. Paul where he took on a job at 3M. It was during this time that he met Donna Tofting. The two were married and settled in Hudson. This marriage would be blessed with son, Gordon & daughter, Laura. After some time the marriage dissolved. In 1962 Paul married Marian Webster Kermott and lived in St.Paul for several years before taking a job with FreightMaster and moving to Ft.Worth, TX. In 1992 Paul and Marian bought a condo in Hudson and split their time between Hudson and Ft.Worth. Later in his career Paul started his own business, Transportation Marketing Inc and would run that until his retirement in 2005. In 2007 they moved to The Lutheran Home in River Falls. Paul was a very hard working and dedicated husband, friend, and father. He demonstrated a great work ethic and was loved and respected by all who were a part of his life. He enjoyed music - particularly Jazz. His favorite artists included Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, among others. He also was an avid, self-taught professional photographer. He was never far from a camera and loved to take pictures of everything from flowers, to nature, family, to anything else that caught his attention including advertising photography for FreightMaster. Paul was a very longtime member of AA, always willing to help and lend support to others. He was also a lifetime member of the Hudson Masonic Lodge. His greatest joy was his family and he loved sharing his loves with his kids and grandkids. He had a wonderful sense of humor was always willing to do anything for anybody and left a positive impression on those who called him friend. Paul is survived by; his wife, Marian (Webster) of Hudson; son, Gordon Howard of Eau Claire; daughter, Laura Rush of Eau Claire; daughter, Katharine Kermott (John Ahern) of St. Paul; daughter, Pam Wasson of Fort Worth, TX; daughter, Claudia (Lynn) Rhymes of Santa Rosa, CA; sister, Vera (Jennings) Davis of Oak Park, CA; 12 grandkids and 3 great-grandkids; and ex-wife Donna Vierbicher. He is further survived by other relatives and many dear friends. A memorial gathering for Paul will be held on Sat 7/3 at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, WI from 11am to 1pm. The gathering will conclude with military honors provided by the Hudson American Legion and VFW. A very special thanks to the entire staff of The Lutheran Home for their loving care and continuing care of Marian.

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