homepage logo

Gene Howard

Sep 20, 2019


Eugene “Gene” Howard

Aug. 11, 1946 – Sept. 12, 2019

Eugene “Gene” Howard passed away September 12, 2019 at the age of 73, in Rugby. During his life he gave new meaning to the words “courageous battle” with an illness. He coped with a brain tumor for 35+ years and did it with grace.

Eugene Leroy Howard was born August 11, 1946 to Wilson & Rose Howard. He was reared on Graham’s Island on the shores of Devils Lake. He spent his early years riding horses and shooting guns. As a child he built his own gun, shooting it off one day and injuring himself in the process. His early schooling took place in the one room schoolhouse on Graham’s Island. He would ride behind Wilson on horse-back or in a horse drawn cart to travel to school.

Eugene met his only love, Bernadine (Bernie) Haman, on the school bus when he started attending school in Minnewaukan. In typical fashion, he teased her until she could resist no longer and they married in 1965. Eugene’s lifelong best friend and hunting partner, Darryl, was born in 1966.

Eugene was a newspaper pressman by trade and started his career working for the Benson County Farmer’s Press in Minnewaukan. In 1967 the family moved to Rugby where Eugene began working for “The Pierce County Tribune” and later North Central Printing. His printing career spanned 40 years. Anyone that knew the printer, knew that he could spot a typo from a mile away and he was rarely ever seen without ink on his rough hands.

A daughter, Janelle, was born in 1969. With a personality similar to Eugene’s, they gave each other a run for the money on a daily basis. His famous line that he used on his kids was, “You better smarten up!”

Eugene was very active in his community. He was a founding member of the Rugby Gun Club. He was the club president and top shooter many years. He loved trap-shooting, spending time with his trapshooting cronies and mentoring newcomers to the sport. He earned many awards for his shooting and was an avid gun collector. He had the natural born ability to hit a target.

Eugene was a Hunter’s Safety instructor for 30 years. He and a handful of friends started the program in Rugby in 1975. He earned a commemorative gun and lifelong hunting privileges for his service.

Eugene was a horseman and spent a good portion of his life improving his skills, from childhood on. He enjoyed the tools of the trade: spurs, bits, saddles….and he even hand-crafted his own saddle.

Eugene was a duck hunter from day one! His duck hunting partners, young and old said they had never seen a shooter that was equal. He was a deer hunter from day two! He could flatten a deer with astounding accuracy. The world got put on hold when deer hunting season started. The plaque that hung at the Howard’s showed a husband saying to his wife, “Is there anything you’d like to say to me before deer hunting season starts?”

Eugene was a self-taught photographer and Bernie was his lovely assistant. They specialized in photographing seniors, weddings and families. As with all of Eugene’s hobbies/side businesses, it was his way

of making a little extra money to buy…… you guessed it…..another gun!

Lastly, Eugene loved to have FUN! He was like a wound-up dancing bear when the music started. His favorite dancing partner was Bernie. He would burn through many partners and would not stop dancing until the music stopped.

Now it’s time for Eugene to shoot, hunt, dance and ride to his heart’s content, unbridled by earthly medical hindrances.

Survivors are Bernie Howard, beloved wife and dance partner of 54 years. Children: Darryl (Marcie) Howard and Janelle (Terry) Engstrom. Grandchildren: Timber, Jaycee, Blaine (Buster) and Macy, as well as several siblings.

Eugene was proceeded in Death by: Parents, Wilson & Rose Howard and Sister, Lori Kay Howard.

Visitation was: Friday, September 20th from 5-7pm with prayer service at 7pm at the Niewoehner Funeral Home, Rugby.

Life Celebration will be: Saturday, September 21st at 11am at the Little Flower Catholic Church in Rugby. Burial immediately following. A reception and lunch at the Rugby Eagles will follow the burial. Let’s reminisce and tell a story or two!


Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page