James Mark Howland

July 28, 1955March 2, 2021

On Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021, James Mark Howland of Dewitt left this earth for his next great adventure surrounded by his loving wife Kathy and children after an unwavering, hard-fought 15-month battle with lymphoma. Jim spent 65 years making the most out of every day in his journey - working hard, seeking adventure, helping others, and loving his family. He was a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, VW enthusiast, avid cycler, world traveler, and happy camper.

Jim was born on July 28th, 1955 in Lansing, MI and called the greater Lansing area his home his entire life. However, he and his wife Kathy (Kathrynn Ferguson) were often on the road in one of their VW buses, eager to get their toes in the sand somewhere warm. Grand Haven, Pentwater, Key West, and St. John’s were some of Jim’s favorite destinations. But for him it was always about the journey.

Much of that journey was on two-wheels, riding his bikes any chance he had. From mountain biking to road cycling – even a unicycle – Jim felt freedom on a bike. For 34 years he annually rode DALMAC from Lansing to the Mackinac Bridge and made many friends along the way. Many times, that trek was on a tandem with Kathy, taking on the challenge together and churning out “Miles of Smiles.”

When he was home between adventures, he always kept busy. Jim worked for the Lansing Board of Water & Light for over 31 years, retiring in 2016. In between his shifts at the Eckert Power Plant you could find him in the garage working on some kind of project. From home repairs to woodworking to drawing, Jim could do it all, but he had a special passion for cars. He personally restored 5 vintage Volkswagens, ranging from a 1965 Single Cab to a 1995 EuroVan, with buses and beetles in between. Aside from the VW’s, he was happy to help friends and family whenever they needed a quick repair.

Jim’s family meant everything to him and will be his lasting legacy. He is survived by his 3 siblings – brother Bob Howland, and sisters Mary Taylor and Kathy Coryell. Jim’s 6 children – Scott Howland and wife Jennifer, Lisa and husband Shawn Farzam, Kellie and husband Kevin Hagan, Jacob Haman and wife Stephanie, Chris Haman and wife Tosha, and Nick Haman - look forward to carrying on the tradition of “family camp” that Jim started. Every summer he would book the campsites, plan the meals, and pack the supplies, all to create special memories with his family on the shores of Lake Michigan. Over the years, family camp would grow to include 18 grandchildren, extended family, and friends. Jim loved watching the sun set into the water from the beach and shared that with his family. He would often tell them “I love you more than all the water in Lake Michigan…”

Jim let his faith in Jesus guide him and used his teachings to live as an example to others.

He was able to make strong connections with perfect strangers and easily made friends wherever he went. He always saw the best in people and believed in their potential. And he was always willing to help at the drop of a hat. He used his talents to serve others in his daily life, and he was a great teacher with a ton of patience. In 2017 he had a chance to go on a mission trip with Back2Back Ministries through Riverview Church to Mazatlán, Mexico. While there he worked to build and repair schools and housing in the village. On breaks, he would play soccer and other games with the children. Even though they didn’t speak the same language, he felt a connection to those children and the mission trip had a strong impact on his faith. So much so that he returned to help again in 2018.

To honor Jim’s memory, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to support the children of Mazatlán through Back2Back Ministries ( or P.O. Box 70, Mason, OH 45040). The family welcomes everyone to a viewing at the Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home in downtown Dewitt this Sunday, March 7th between 12pm-2pm and 4pm-6pm. A service will be held at 11am on Monday, March 8th at Northpointe Church in Dewitt for those interested in attending. Jim’s wish was to have one big party – a “Celebration of Life”- with all those that loved him. The details for this event are being planned for April 24th, so please save the date and more details will be shared when finalized.


  • Visitation

    Sunday, March 7, 2021

  • Visitation

    Monday, March 8, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Monday, March 8, 2021


James Mark Howland

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rachel Rhyndress

March 16, 2021

I will forever miss Jim. He was one of my nicest customer at Dewitt Maurer's and he was also a good friend of my cousin Randy. They loved VIA VWS and Jim was a good customer to Randy buying Randy's VW parts. Got to see Jim one last time at Randy's Memorial last summer in June. RIP Jim.

Ralph Townsend

March 15, 2021

Jim and my son Randy were friends VIA VWS. My son Loved VWS, restored VWS, and sold VW parts. Randy consider Jim a Friend, also a customer. I Ralph, Randy's father also considered Jim a friend. We had a couple things in common, VW and Biking. We will miss Jim very much.

With Loving Memory The Townsends.

Richard Fox Family

March 10, 2021

So sorry for the loss of Jim. A wonderful person from a great family. Our memories run deep of Jim and the Howland family and will be cherished forever.
God bless all.

Jerry Fulcher

March 9, 2021

Our deepest condolences to the entire Howland family. We first met Jim when our kids attended IHM/St. Casimir school together many years ago. Jim helped coached some of the teams at the school. He always had a great attitude, comforting smile, and warm personality. Over the years we would run into Jim on one of his many bike trips. Wonderful family. We lost a good one. Our prayers are with you.
Jerry & Laurie Fulcher

Chris and Tom Wieland

March 7, 2021

To all of the Howland family:

Tom and I are so saddened to hear the news about Jim. Please know that our hearts go out to you. We have so many memories through the years that make us smile. From IHM, to St. Casimar, to LCC, and after. Just saying Jim’s name brings a big smile to our faces. And that is one of the things we will miss the most, that huge, welcoming smile with that huge welcoming hug. We love Jim and will miss him.

Our love and prayers go out to all of you.

Chris and Tom Wieland

Fran & Phil Dunnebacke

March 6, 2021

To All Members Of The Howland Family.

We would like to express our sincere condolences.
So sorry to hear about Jim. We would see Cathy, Jim & Bob &
their families at 4:00 Mass at St. Mary's on occasion & exchange
friendly "Hellos". We will keep Jim & the family in our thoughts
& prayers. May he rest in peace with our Good Lord.

Fran & Phil Dunnebacke

Mark Farhat

March 6, 2021

To the Howland family, My condolences to your family.Jim was a great guy and always was nice to people.Living out of town did not get to see him much but friends of Jim would update on things Jim was doing.He will be missed by all. Sincerely,Mark Farhat

Susan Mabe

March 6, 2021

Dear friends and family of Jim. I just wanted to say how blessed I was to have Jim as a work partner for 30 years. It was an honor and pleasure to work with him. Too many memories to place in words. Will love and miss his smile forever. He was a wonderful friend. One of a kind. Condolences to family and friends. Love, Susan Mabe.

Donna & Larry Jones

March 6, 2021

We met Jim 40 years ago, having and raising children together. He was godfather to our youngest. We have so many memories, fun and laughter. Anyone who knew him, knew that Jim was always there for you to help or fix something (that could be challenging). Many years ago we moved north to Mackinac Island. Larry was to start his new job in early March. Jim drove us up there, we were camped out in the St Ignace airport for hours because of a snowstorm. Finally there was a window of clearance to fly over to the Island. The pilot could only take 6 people, Larry, the priest, and a family with a baby. Things were happening fast and they were loaded, on the runway with engine going. Jim notices that the baby’s bottle was left behind, so he runs out with it to the plane. Only Jim! Everyone was happy, except for the pilot. He will forever be in our hearts and memories.

Anne Stump

March 6, 2021

Jim had a smile as big as his father's. He always honored his dad by attending masses in his dads honor at St Mary's. God bless him and may the Angels welcome him to Paradise......