Howard’s favorite poem was “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. His dash began July 15, 1931, born the second son of Loyd and Allie (Bernard) Jesse in Eldon Missouri.
He was saved and baptized at the age of 12.
As a small child he was taught to work, helping his mom in the garden and yard while his dad worked long trips with the railroad. He also helped his grandparents with many tasks. He made many a friend playing basketball and baseball, and then graduated from Eldon High School in 1945.
On December 29, 1950 he married Edna Marie Kruger. Early in 1951 they moved to Waverly, Iowa, to help Eddie’s Grandpa and Grandma on the farm. He milked cows before driving to work in Waterloo, got home and did all the chores again. Those were long days.
To their union three children were born: Gary in 1952, Diane in 1954, and Richard in 1956.
He was a deacon at First Baptist Church in Waterloo. In spite of working two jobs, he found time to teach the boys’ youth class. They moved to Cabool, Missouri, in 1966. There they joined First Baptist Church, where he served as deacon for many years.
He and Eddie owned several businesses in Cabool through the years. He served as city councilman, municipal judge, ambulance driver, cheer giver and Santa Claus. Howard had the gift of “helps.” He never met a stranger and he endlessly offered his services from doing small fix-it jobs to much larger ones, washed cars, mowed lawns and helped keep up the schools. He was always willing to help those in need. His favorite hobby was making birdhouses. He made hundreds and hundreds of them, giving them away to family, friends, and many to total strangers. He loved playing Santa Claus at Christmas, going up to the schools, the day care and nursing homes. It was a joy to him to bring a smile to peoples’ faces. Most of all, Howard had a heart for the lost and shared his love of Jesus with all.
Howard wore many hats in his lifetime. The Grandpa hat to Sunni, Kristi, Kathi Jo, Ali, Patrick and Kaleb. Then the Great-Grandpa hat to Zach, Brianna, Taylor, Nolan, Broderick, Kileigh, Logan and Braxton. He loved spending time with them. He was called Papa by all his grandchildren, their friends, and much of Cabool.
After retiring off the road from truck driving, he spent his time volunteering at church and church camp and school. Howard’s dash ended August 26, 2016, a life well lived.
Howard was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, wife, and one brother, L.B.
He is survived by his children, Gary of Buffalo, Missouri, Diane Coats and husband Terry of Mountain Grove, Missouri, and Rick and wife Rosemary of Springfield, Missouri; grandchildren, Sunni Fine and husband Jason of West Plains, Missouri, Kristi Stillwell and husband Scott of Mountain Grove, Kathi Jo Davis and husband Chris of Cabool, Ali Ennis and husband Jeremy of Springfield, Patrick of Oceanside, California, and Kaleb of Springfield. He is also survived by many great-grandchildren and their families, Zach, Brianna and husband Jory, Taylor and husband Zach, Nolan, Broderick, Kileigh, Logan, and Braxton.
Services were held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 30, 2016, at Cabool First Baptist Church with David Carroll officiating. Pallbearers were Nolan Stillwell, Logan Stillwell, Broderick Davis, Braxton Davis, Zach Conner and Kaleb Jesse. Honorary pallbearers were Zach Cannon and Jory Mertens. Interment was at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 30, 2016, at Eldon City Cemetery in Eldon, Missouri, under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool. Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Simmons Baptist Youth Camp in Houston, Missouri.