Howard Eugene was born at home, in Sullivan Township on October 16, 1943. He was the second oldest son of Harry and Pearl (Gobert) Stephen, joining older brother Roger. In time, the boys were joined by younger brothers Alvin, Robert, Harold, and Grant. The boys attended public school in Sullivan. However, other than Grant, they were not real keen on high school and he attended only for one year.
Howard returned home helping his parents operate their dairy farm. When the house began to feel overcrowded Roger and Howard both left together for Elmira. Their Aunt Etta (on Pearl’s side) lived in Elmira and worked at the local furniture factory. Luckily, both of the boys found paid work at the same factory and also lived with their aunt for a while. Pearl would often say the boys picked up a few habits in Elmira. (LOL)
During this time Howard met and married Johanna Hoita, the year was 1964. They welcomed their first son Gary, later that year. The Stephen family then moved back to Chesley in 1965 were Howard began working at Heirloom. Sons Ron (1966) and Jeff (1972) soon made their family complete. In his spare time, Howard enjoyed helping coach the boy’s baseball in Desboro during their youth. Howard also talked about playing broomball in Keady with John Schultz as well as Allan and Orval Kuhl. He only played for a couple of years. The couple decided to go their separate ways in 1980.
During a night out in 1981, Howard was introduced to Donna McCracken by mutual friends Doug Ankerman and Susan Gaeler. The two hit it off immediately and before long moved in together. Howard was quick to welcome Donna’s daughters, Gayle, Patricia, and Tammy into the family, taking over as their father figure.
Heirloom soon closed, whereby Howard moved onto Graham’s Construction and then later Ralph Kuhl’s Fencing before returning to the furniture industry and Crate Design. Over the years, Howard was a member of the Desboro Curling Club, Chesley Snowmobile Club as well as the Chesley Legion. It was while attending these functions that I have been told he enjoyed the “occasional” beer…. maybe a Busch Light! 🙂 Howard also liked to gamble a bit. He and Donna made several trips over the years to Casino Rama, whereby on one occasion he won $50,000. More recently, he frequented the slots and casino in Hanover to get his gambling fix.
Howard also loved the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. For many years he cherished spending time at the hunt camp, which he partially owned, at Trout Creek. Countless weekends were spent there enjoying friends and family whereby many memories were made. When not fishing or hunting Howard loved a good campfire! In addition to all this, Howard also enjoyed playing horseshoes, cribbage and euchre.
He also had a particular fondness for chipmunks, and on more than one occasion tried to befriend the small creatures, by feeding them. Howard’s family have a few stories to share of these often comical encounters.
When not outside enjoying nature, Howard also liked to pass time by reading. It could have been the paper, which I am told he was known to read often more than once, or a good book. When it came to TV, Howard was usually tuned into the news or watching sports, particularly hockey. Playing horseshoes was another favourite pastime of Howard’s and he was always up for a new challenge.
Howard was known to his family and friends as a supportive man, who enjoyed a good time. He liked the opportunity to socialize and joke around with others, often being a bit of a tease. He always cherished visits by his friends and family and the opportunity to catch up with them and their lives.
Sadly, Howard Eugene Stephen of R.R. #1 Chesley, passed away suddenly at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Thursday, April 18, 2019 in his 76th year.
Beloved partner and best friend of Donna McCracken. Loving father of Gary (Karen) of Chatsworth, Ron and Jeff, both of Chesley, Gayle (Brian) Cressman of Stratford, Patricia Weidemann (Johnnie Johnson) of Owen Sound and Tammy McCracken of Chesley. He will be sadly missed by his seventeen grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, brothers Alvin (Pat Woods), Robert, Harold (Ruth) and Grant as well as the entire McClockin family. Howard was predeceased by his daughter-in-law Robyn, brother Roger (Margaret), sister-in-law Rubbie Stephen and his parents Harry and Pearl (Gobert) Stephen.
An informal celebration of Howard’s life will be held at the Chesley Legion on Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 1 – 4 p.m.
Memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation or Chesley Legion would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.