Life Story / Obituary
Charles C. Howell passed away July 3rd, 2018 in Holland, Michigan. A life, well lived, age 86. He shuffled off this mortal coil in the same manner he lived, at home surrounded by family; his wife Janet, and children, John and Linda Howell. Always insistent on being well groomed, he died almost immediately after a fresh haircut and shave.
Chuck was proud to be a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, loyal friend, and dedicated pharmacist.
His last 3 decades were blessed by the love and companionship of his wife Janet. Both born in Albion, Michigan, their families knew each other. In fact, Janet’s mother signed the hospital papers announcing Chuck’s birth in 1931. Fortuitously, both Chuck and Janet settled separately in Holland. In 1984, a well-timed phone call lead to an immediate and serendipitous date. They attended their first MSU football game, then continuing for the next 25 seasons. They were married in 1989 on a hot summer day, with almost the entire city attending. Janet’s community of fellow teachers along with his wide circle of friends made for an overwhelming response, not to mention several code violations. Chuck and Janet just celebrated their anniversary on July 1st. Together they’ve traveled extensively and lived life to the absolute fullest for 29 wonderful years.
As the center of an extended family, Chuck cherished time with his 5 grandsons: Will, William, Andrew, Dan, and Chris (each was forced to endure Chuck’s highly embarrassing, quite inappropriate, “talk” on “romance”); stepchildren John Lightfoot (with whom he watched many ball games), and Sue Peffers (who accompanied Chuck and Janet to the casino and prudently monitored the wagering); visits with his sister and brother in law, Virginia and Tony Egnatuk of East Lansing, his sister-in-law Shirl Macqueen of Holland, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Chuck met his first wife, Kathrynne Macqueen at Holland’s Temple Building. This chance meeting led to his frequently offered phrase: “Always be prepared for the unexpected opportunity.” Together until her death in 1982, Kay brought Chuck into the Macqueen family where he happily remained for life, loved by scores of nieces and nephews. For decades the entire family would head north to Walhalla, Michigan, completely filling every cabin at the Fair Oaks Resort. Fishing, sailing, swimming, cards, along with much food and drink bonded the group forever. Chuck provided many bandages, ice packs and even performed amateur surgery when needed. The scars from his fishing line sutures are still visible on several nephews today.
While family was the center of Chuck’s focus, his career was a close second. He interrupted his education at University of Michigan to serve in the Army Air Corps during the Korean Conflict. Thankfully, he was never shot down. Primarily because he wasn't a pilot and was stationed in Detroit.
Chuck arrived in Holland in 1956 from Ferris State College and begin his long career in America’s most trusted profession – Pharmacy. He spent 50 years tending to the needs of his customers. To hear him describe his career, it was a lifetime of “stomping out disease and pestilence”. In all honesty, he also traded in beauty products and milkshakes, with good humor and sound advice dispensed at no extra charge. A fixture first at Hansen Drug Store before spending decades manning the mortar and pestle for Meijer’s, he retired in 2006. As a matter of pride, his pharmacy licenses were kept up to date. He was a lifelong member of the Masonic Lodge, and never divulged the handshake.
After retiring, Chuck attempted many home improvement projects with his daughter Linda, several of which came quite close to almost being successful. You see, Chuck had a lifelong aversion to reading instructions or hiring professionals. His frequent visits to Linda’s home, ostensibly to help with chores, were more often utilized for long naps while “watching” the Detroit Tigers. He also helped friends weather health issues. His devotion to his mother Lucille Howell and Janet’s parents, Fred and Alice Houseman, was an inspiration to all. He celebrated his long friendship with his late comrade Don VanHuis by incessantly searching for good coffee and fresh rhubarb pie.
Chuck also holds the record for listening to the same radio host for 35 years. His oft repeated critique: “Why must you always argue with the listeners?”
Janet and Chuck enjoyed extended trips to visit John and Anne Lightfoot in Boston, Sue and Gary Peffers in Indianapolis, and John and Sarah Howell in Chicago. Summers were spent with friends Cliff and Nancy Ponstein in Bear Lake, Michigan. They spent winters in Florida enjoying their timeshare and viewing nightly fireworks from Disneyworld. By the way, if you’re interested in a Florida timeshare the family has a terrific deal for you. No reasonable offer will be refused.
The family is grateful to our friend Hawa Afrik and to Hospice of Holland for making his final days peaceful and pain free. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Hospice of Holland in honor of a life, well lived.
Chuck’s family is planning a celebration of the joy he brought, the kindness he inspired, and the integrity with which he lived his life. Please join us Saturday, August 25, 2018, at 1:00 P.M. for visitation, 3:00 P.M. service with celebration to follow (location of celebration to be announced), Dykstra Funeral Home – Mulder Chapel, 188 West 32nd Street, Holland, Michigan 49423.