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Lester J. Howard

September 15, 1935 — January 19, 2024

Vanderbilt, Michigan

Lester J. Howard

On Friday, January 19, 2024, Lester James Howard, 88 of Vanderbilt, passed away peacefully at home with his loving wife Mabel by his side. 

He was born on September 15, 1935, to Henry and Mabel Howard, and graduated in 1953 from East Jordan High School. He attended Michigan State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1957. 

Les married Beth Reich in 1954 and together they had three sons. While working a full-time job and raising a family, he went on to obtain a master’s degree in 1968 from Wisconsin State University of River Falls. Les was a lifelong educator, first as a vocational agriculture teacher in Cheboygan and then moved on to finish his career with the Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service. 

After the death of his first wife, he married Mabel Clausen of Boyne City on July 8, 1989, and gained four more children to add to his loving family.

Les had a passion for farming and has raised beef cattle for most of his life. He was a true leader and an extremely hard-working man all of his life.   He was very active in 4-H and a part of many boards such as the Pigeon River Council, Soil Conservation District, Building Authority, Board of Review, President of the Farm Bureau, Northern Michigan Beef Breeders Association, Otsego County Fair Board, as well as several others. His incredible love for animals was evident with the number of livestock and pets that he raised throughout his lifetime.  

Although he had a passion for farming, his true love was his family. He took great pride in all seven of his children, but above all his wife and grandkids meant more to him than anything. He loved to watch the grandkids at sporting events, livestock shows, and weekly visits to the farm. Right until the end, his grandkids were the ones to always put a smile on his face. Whether it was advice he was giving or reminiscing about the past, he always had a story to tell. 

Les leaves behind his wife Mabel; as well as his children, Harlan Howard of Frederick, Maryland, Jeffrey Howard of Vanderbilt, Darren Zimmerman (Angela Fink) of Eaton Rapids, Kevin Zimmerman of Boyne Falls, Danielle (Dave) Schmoldt of Onaway, and LeAnn Howard (Kyle Shelly) of Gaylord;  his grandchildren, Christopher, Thereseann, Ryan, Kyrsha, Collin, Olivia, Zach, Hailey, Kiercelyn, and Kyah; and his five great grandkids Ariya, Akshay, Shakti, Isla, and Owen.  He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Courtlan Clausen; and his favorite dog, Rusty.  

He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Mabel Howard; his first wife, Beth Howard; a son, Henry Howard; brothers, Bernard, Lyle, Bob, and Norm Howard; and a sister Sandra Clausen. 

Les’ family will visit with friends from 2:00-5:00 PM Sunday, January 28, 2024 at Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service.  Services will be held at the funeral home at 11:00 AM Monday, January 29, 2024, with visitation beginning at 10:00 AM.  Those who wish are asked to consider memorial contributions to Hospice of Michigan.

Please share your memories and personal messages with the family on the guestbook below.


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Past Services

Visitation

Sunday, January 28, 2024

2:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service

850 N. Center Ave. / P.O. Box 249, Gaylord, MI 49734

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, January 29, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service

850 N. Center Ave. / P.O. Box 249, Gaylord, MI 49734

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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