David William Howard
July 23, 1945 – August 28, 2020
ATTENTION: Please look at the individual in the above photo. He is a wanted man. The world needed him and needs more men like him. You will notice he has a captivating smile that could mean a multitude of things. Such as; David caught a fish, he harvested a deer or elk, you’re a friend, a funny story has been told, or you just had a prank pulled on you. Remember this face. He was an honorable, principled, authentic man, who lived life to its fullest and loved deeply. Disclaimer: His nephew Scott wrote this obituary. If you find facts or events that are different than you remember it’s not my fault and it’s too late to change it.
David Howard was born on July 23, 1945 and was preceded in death by his parents William H. Howard and Bernice R. Howard. David was the youngest of four siblings; Christine M. Twedt (deceased), Collette V. York (living), and Loralee F. Williams (deceased). On August 28, 2020, David died at home due to complications of a long-term health issue. As in life, his death was on his terms and was done with dignity. He was surrounded by his loving wife Susan, his children, and family. David is survived by his wife Susan, his sister Collette V. York, son Bill C. Howard, daughter Sandra L. Womelsdorff, eight grandkids, four great grandkids, and another one expected.
Who was David Howard? Dave was a loving father and loyal friend. Dave valued and loved his family and loved his wife with his whole heart. He met his soul mate Susan after reading a free Valentine’s Day classified 14-word ad in the local newspaper. So, who says love can’t be free? They became instant friends and developed a deep love for one another. In David’s words, “she is his best friend.” I hope to give you a snapshot of David’s remarkable life in this obituary. I can tell you he was a perfectly imperfect man who had a deep and authentic love for this world. Known to have a captivating smile on his face, kindness in his heart, and a cheekiness that abounded. Dave had no problem laughing at himself or others, but always made sure you knew he loved you regardless. He had grace in his heart for those he called family or friend because he understood the importance of forgiveness.
David had an exceptional memory and a knack for telling a good story. You would always see a smile on his face when participating in an adventure or hanging out with family and friends. Dave was a man I looked up to as a kid and adult. He was strong yet gentle, and drew the respect of those around him without effort. I think these adjectives describe David Howard best. David was dependable, cleaver, funny, generous, honest, loving, and very smart. I am sure my Grandfather would have called him a “smart ass“at times! He was a mountain of a man who lived with courage, conviction, and most of all had a love that ran deep for those he cared about.
David was forged by the culmination of his life experiences. As part of the silent generation he understood the value of hard work and expected the same from those around him. He had an attention to detail that served himself and his nation well during his years of military service. He served honorably as a loadmaster of a C-130 Hercules aircraft with the 346th/347th Tactical Airlift Squadron (TCS) with the United States Air Force, from 1966 to 1969. He was responsible for all cargo and personnel on the aircraft. He witnessed a lot of his brothers in arms come home draped in American flags from remote locations in Vietnam.
On occasion David would give his friends and family a small glimpse into his world during the Vietnam War. On one such occasion, he confided in me about flying over the jungles of Vietnam on a resupply run to a remote military base. He recalled in amazing detail watching a small group of farmers run to the edge of a rice patty and then open fire on his aircraft. The aircraft was badly damaged on its tail, but David held the rookie pilot accountable for his error. It was this type of experience that stays with veterans and create a strength in character that civilians all too often don’t understand. Dave had a strong sense of right and wrong that governed his life.
David received many awards and decorations which included the Distinguished Flying Cross, which is a military decoration, awarded for distinguished service in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.” Sadly, David came home to an ungrateful nation but remained a dedicated patriot his whole life and took great pride in his military service and his country.
Take a look at that infamous grin once more. David had an adventurous and mischievous side. Even with all of the responsibilities as a young loadmaster, he was a risk taker. A close friend recalls a time when Davie (David) and his buddy Freddie (Fred) were hauling troops and cargo out of De Gol, France and were on a tight timeline due to escalating political issues. Davie and Freddie put on their civilian clothes after they landed and prepped for tomorrow’s mission of flying cargo and personnel out of France. They knew they had only one night to see Paris and they took it. They slid under the military fence and caught a train to Paris just to say they saw it. This was not authorized and would have caused a significant international incident if his plane failed to do its mission the next day or they were caught in Paris by French authorities. Both individuals managed to show up the next morning in dirty civilian clothing just prior to their duty day beginning. If caught, Davie and Freddie would have caused a lot of trouble with the local and military authorities. David was clearly a confidant and daring young man who was not risk adverse when it came to adventures.
After his tour in Vietnam ended, Dave spent the majority of his working life at Freightliner as a machinist tool and die maker, and retired after 35 years. When a caretaker asked to take off his Freightliner retirement ring because his fingers were swelling, he refused to remove the ring as he opened his eyes and said one word, “Mine.” He took great pride in his profession, company, and the quality of work he produced for them. This depth of dedication to a company is something rarely found in people and Dave had these traits in spades. He understood the importance of truth, hard work, and loyalty.
Speaking of pride in work, Dave had an attention to detail not achieved by many people. His work ethic and passion for detail would be applied to all things he set his mind to accomplish or build. Dave was like MacGyver or Inspector Gadget when it came to finding ways to hunt and camp in comfort. He always had a trailer he was utilizing or modifying for camping or a hunting shelter. Normally Spartan in design these trailers had all the necessities. He had a shop and could build or modify almost anything. He was both clever and smart about his projects. In his later years when his body was betraying him, David modified ATVs to compensate for disabilities so he could still enjoy the lifelong passion of hunting. David was not a man who quit easily.
David was an accomplished hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsmen. In his life travels he flew combat and supply missions in and around Vietnam, China, Portugal, France, Turkey, Istanbul and many other places. Dave loved to adventure with his soul mate and wife Susan. Together they explored Japan, China, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada. David loved this world and being able to share it with Susan.
David and Susan loved sharing their life together. Dave often recalled how lucky he was to have such a wonderful and loving wife. Together they found an ideal piece of property that was secluded along a river surrounded by trees. On this special piece of property, where they built a little house and guest quarters. Dave built a fire pit, BBQ grill and trailer power outlets for guests. It was in this sanctuary, that they would spend their quite time together surrounded by nature and family, and where friends were always welcome.
David even in his older age had a commanding presence. His mere presence made me so nervous at times I would goof up a task I had watched him do a million times. It was humorous. It was always followed by a playful chuckle and a precise way to get the task done correctly. He was a great mentor because he was loving and full of grace. You always knew he cared and his actions made sure you knew it.
David always loved to sit in his recliner chair with his wood stove and enjoy the view of his trophies. It had a multitude of animal trophies mounted on the walls. His love for the outdoors and hunting was legendary within the family, as was his passion for toothpicks. As long as I can remember, my uncle always had toothpicks available at a moment’s notice. It was like magic. You eat a meal and poof, like magic, it would appear out of thin air. Little did I know, he actually kept them in the band of his hat! I don’t remember him without an available tooth pick in my 49 years of life. Dave “allegedly” snuck toothpicks into the hospital and hid them between photos when the hospital told him he could not have them. I know he enjoyed that because stubbornness and sarcastic humor runs in the family. Take that hospital man! On August 28, 2020, Dave would leave his home one final time with the flag of his country he loved so dearly draped over him. I am sure it would have made him smile with pride.
ATTENTION: Please look at the individual in the above photo. He will be dearly missed but fondly remembered by all those who knew him. When you have time, please raise a glass to this man who will not be forgotten by those who loved him greatly. Repeat after me "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal." Rest in Peace Dave...until we meet again.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
David William Howard
September 14, 2020
R. I. P. Dave, and my prayers go out to Susan and family. I'm remembering lots of good old fun times we had together either at Freightliner or fishing with you and Phil . You will be missed, R.I.P.