Obituary of John R. Howe, Jr.
John R. Howe, Jr.
John Ruskin Howe, Jr., 87, formerly of St. Paul Minnesota and recently residing in Hamilton Township, NJ died on Saturday November 5, 2022, at his home with his family by his side. John was born in Dayton, OH in 1935, son of the late John Ruskin Howe and Mary Elizabeth Brewbaker Howe.
John graduated from Otterbein University in Westerville, OH in 1957. At Otterbein he met the love of his life, Judith June Jenkins, who graduated Otterbein in 1958. John then went on to Yale University for his PhD in American History. His father had earned a PhD at Yale and his mother a Masters Degree. John then began a distinguished career in academics. He started by teaching at Princeton University for two years where Susan was born. Then he was hired as a professor at the University of Minnesota and moved to St. Paul where David was born. John held several key positions during a long and impactful tenure. He was the Dean of the History Department, Head Librarian, and President of the University Retirees Association. John was a co-author on numerous text books and held positions on the committee that develops Advanced Placement testing for years.
John loved Minnesota and adventurous outdoor activities and sports. He and his family took numerous trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), enjoyed winter cross-country skiing, summer canoeing on the St. Croix river and camping of all kinds. John competed in tennis and squash, followed football and baseball, and enjoyed both domestic and international travel. He also had a wide interest in the arts and was a long-standing patron of the Guthrie Theater, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
John was intelligent, warm, loving and very funny. His whole life he loved to play pranks and joke around. He often said that as a child he would play pranks on other kids and teachers and get in trouble at school which certainly upset his straight laced mother. As a Dad, John made up stories about Hiram the Eagle which Susan and David remember to this day. He also sang all the time – not just in the shower. “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, his name is my name too …” and “Do Your Ears Hang Low” were a couple of his favorites. As a Grandpa (Pop-pop) he regularly donned a raincoat and rain hat and let his grandkids drop water balloons on him from the balcony when they visited in the summer, and he always read stories to them when visiting.
John is survived by his wife Judith Jenkins Howe; his daughter, Susan Hughes of Tampa, FL; his son and daughter-In-law, David and Allison Howe of Yardley, PA; a brother, Charles Howe of Boulder, CO; and five grandchildren, Maria, Marcus, and Megan Hughes; and Evan and Andrew Howe.
A small, private gathering will be held for the family. Condolences, stories, and anecdotes for the family can be left at www.fitzgeraldsommerfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to either the Guthrie Theater (www.guthrietheater.org) or the National Park Foundation (give.nationalparks.org). Arrangements are under the care of the FitzGerald-Sommer Funeral Home 17 S. Delaware Ave. Yardley, PA 19067.