Riley Funeral Home


Howard R. Dearing

29 July, 194327 April, 2021
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Howard Russell Dearing, age 77, passed away April 27, 2021 at home in Hamilton, Texas, with his beloved wife and family by his side.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Bonita, and their four children and their spouses: Crystena and James Schneider of Leander, TX; Cheryl and Mike Starich of Georgetown, TX; Cliff and Laura Dearing of Comanche, TX; and Charles and Karen Dearing of Gatesville, TX; six of his grandchildren: Cody, John, Jessica, Kacey, Nicholas, and Desiree; and his four great-grandchildren: Skylar, Blake, Brooklyn, and Emma. Howard was preceded in death by his parents, Howard L. and Jayne (Russell) Dearing, and his precious granddaughter, Kimberly.

Born July 29, 1943 in Austin, Texas, Howard grew up in Austin and attended Austin High School. He studied briefly at Tarleton State University before enlisting in the U.S. Army. A career soldier, Howard proudly served over 22 years. He volunteered for two combat tours in Vietnam, served with the Army Security Agency and Special Forces, and led a company of over 275 troops in Berlin during the height of the Cold War. When he was selected for Sergeant Major, he turned down the promotion to retire as First Sergeant in 1984 so that he and Bonita could remain in their home state of Texas for the rest of their days.

Funeral services will be Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 2:00pm at Riley Funeral Home in Hamilton, TX, followed by interment at Gentry’s Mill Cemetery where Howard will receive military funeral honors.


  • Howard L. Dearing, Father (deceased)
  • Jayne Elanor Russell, Mother (deceased)
  • Bonita Dearing, Wife
  • Crystena Schneider (James Schneider), Daughter
  • Cheryl Starich (Mike Starich), Daughter
  • Cliff Dearing (Karen Dearing), Son
  • Howard also leaves 6 grandchildren and4 great grandchildren to cherish his memory.

  • Michael P.Starich, Active
  • James D. Schneider, Active
  • Cody L. Allen, Active
  • John M Starich, Active
  • Nicholas R. Starich, Active
  • Glenn R. Hyatt, Active
  • Andrew M. Hyatt, Active


  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, 1 May , 2021

  • Interment

    Saturday, 1 May , 2021


Howard R. Dearing

have a memory or condolence to add?

Linda Medley

6 May 2021

Howard also had a sister [Linda Medley]. Lord, I loved my older brother. And I know he loved me as well. We were always close and Howard I forgive you for beating up my stuffed animals! lol
Best brother ever. May you rest in peace.

Nicholas Starich

4 May 2021

PaPa would drive all of us around the ranch in that old pickup truck with the top sawn off that we coined the legendary "hooptie." Those scenic drives will forever remain as some of my favorite memories. Miss you already PaPa, I love you, and I'll see you when I see you!

Mike Starich

3 May 2021

Top was my father-in-law but way more than that--he was my friend. While partaking of many beers in his shop, we told our stories, and played alot of games: yahtzee, Risk, poker and scrabble. We analyzed military history, solved geo-political problems, critiqued old war movies and westerns, discussed family, pets, weaponry and enjoyed touring his ranch. He was always welcoming and encouraging but not shy to share his opinion. He had a very strong, innate sense of right and wrong. We shared a strong mutual respect and I just flat enjoyed being with him. On the other hand, I did not enjoy losing to him almost all of the time when playing those games. He deeply loved his wife, his kids and his dogs. He loved a good breeze, the mountain, the creek (especially when it was running well), the pecan orchard and Bud Light. I admired him in life and in his approach to death. He was an honorable and dignified leader of men who I will miss greatly. See you on the other side, Top.

Lisa Butler

30 April 2021

My thoughts and prayers are with every one of you during this difficult time. Embrace the memories you shared.

Lisa Butler and Family

Jay Adams

29 April 2021

RIP 1SG Dearing, I served in the 400th on Okinawa 1969 - 1971.

Gregg Brown

29 April 2021

“Top” Dearing was far and away the best 1SG I ever knew. He truly cared about each and every soldier with whom he served. He certainly had a profound influence on my early career while I was E-3 to E-5 under his leadership at Field Station Berlin from 1982 to 1984. Rest In Peace, Top. You will be missed by all who had the honor and privilege of knowing you.
Gregg Brown
CW4 (Ret)
Sierra Vista, AZ

Kathleen Picon

29 April 2021

My heart is breaking for the Dearing Family. Rest in peace Howard, hurt no more. Howard was nothing but the epitomy of a husband, father, friend, soldier and American. He had a sense of humor that could not be rivaled. He guided me in my early military career that helped me into the soldier that I was. Not only was he my boss, but I found a true friend in him. He shared not only guidance but the most precious thing he shared was his family with me when I had none close by. You will be greatly missed. Your forever friend, Kathleen Picon.

Nancy Diaz

29 April 2021

Dear Bonita,

I am so sorry to hear about Howard. I'm sure he will be missed by his family, but most definitely by you. Please know I'm thinking of you and sending my sincerest condolences and hugs.

Nancy Diaz
Hamilton Public Library

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