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Eugene "Gene" Raymond Howe

June 28, 1929 — March 17, 2023

Kalamazoo

Passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence on Friday, March 17, 2023 at the age of 93. Gene was born on June 28, 1929 in Covert Township, Michigan, the son of the late Raymond and Marie (Markstrom) Howe. On September 24, 1949, he was united in marriage to Lorraine B. (Stoklosa) Howe. Lorraine preceded Eugene in death on August 6, 2019.

“Tis the set of the sails and not the gales which tells us the way to go”. That was Gene’s theme in his valedictorian speech to his senior classmates at Covert High School. But for Gene, it was not a theme or a speech, it was a lifetime lived. For its the set of a soul that decides its goal and not the calm or the strife. Gene lived his life through hard work, a compassionate generous soul of spirit, love, joy, humility, kindness, caring and selflessness for others; whether family, friend, or stranger. He truly was a sweet man. He was one of the few people you meet where everyone walked away appreciating having met him.

Gene was a Renaissance Man. As a young man, while just starting his employment with Whirlpool, he owned his own fruit stand and gas station on Blue Star Highway where he and his wife made and painted ceramic deer selling to Deer Forest in Coloma. He built his own home, while working full time at Whirlpool, including a marble fireplace from floor to vaulted ceiling. That quality house still stands as if built yesterday. When he retired from Whirlpool in 1986, he still had a thirst for knowledge. After retirement, he became an accomplished photographer, wine maker and painter. He loved to paint anything reflecting his compassion and appreciation for nature and wildlife (flowers, birds, animals, mountains and landscapes). He also painted with the utmost of love family members’ portraits. He loved giving his paintings away to put a smile on people’s faces. He was always there with chocolate to achieve the same result. Gene was also an accomplished gardener where everyone benefitted from his green thumb bearing fruits, vegetables and flowers. He loved fishing on Lake Michigan in his boat, “The Lorri-D”.  The Lorri was for his wife and the D was for his four children; David, Diane, Debra, Darlene. The fishing adventures he had on his boat are too numerous to mention but all were adventures laced with humor. One such story was when he and his wife had to be rescued by the Coast Guard in the middle of Lake Michigan. Gene was the ultimate family man and father, sharing his adventurous spirit with his children. He was a consummate reader. He loved playing a game of cards the family called “crazy rummy” which everyone enjoyed. He had very competitive daily games with his wife and family that always ended with laughter and hugs. He would never let negativity come between his love of others. He had a quiet dignity that automatically commanded respect without him asking for it. He was a gentle man.

Gene is survived by his daughters, Diane (Glenn) Steeg, Debra Naylor and Darlene Howe; his grandchildren, Kari Ferrell , Justin Ferrell, Krista (Jamie) Stapleton, William Naylor Jr.,  Amanda Naylor and Anthony Ybarra; his great grandchildren, Josh, Kaylee, Jake, Jeremy, Landon, Ruth, Patrick, David, Gabriel and Jocelyn as well as many other family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his late wife, Lorraine Howe; his son, David Howe; and his parents Raymond and Marie Howe and brother Robert and sisters Eleanor and Betty.

Cremation has taken place and a graveside service will be held later at Fish Cemetery in Covert Township, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Gene’s memory may be sent to the West Michigan Cancer Center, 200 N Park St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. For those wishing to make a contribution on line please visit https://www.wmcc.org/. Arrangements were entrusted to Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.  Please visit https://www.langelands.com to view the online obituary, sign the guest book, and leave condolences to the family.

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