Aug. 22, 1914 – May 26, 2012
Ernest Roy Howe, of Billings, died Saturday, May 26, 2012, at the age of 97.
Born Aug. 22, 1914, in Shell, son of Eddie Claude and Josephine (Milward) Howe, he was one of eight children: having four sisters and three brothers. He was raised on Beaver Creek and attended school in that area (lower Beaver School), located on the family ranch.
On April 2, 1938, he married Shirley Campbell in Red Lodge. They lived and farmed in Deaver, where they had three children.
He worked for the Deaver Irrigation District and on the Japanese relocation center at Heart Mountain, at the Wyoming Highway Department and was a government packer for Yellowstone Park Service, handling a string of 10 mules. He also worked for Weaver Construction and the sugar company in Lovell.
For a number of years he had a country-western band called the Wyoming Wranglers. He played the fiddle and the band was well known in the Deaver/Powell area.
Ernest and Shirley were divorced in 1964 and he moved to Billings. On March 5, 1965, he married Julia E. Johnson in Sheridan.
In Billings he worked for Yellowstone Exhibition (now Metra) as grounds superintendent starting in 1965 until he retired in March 1977. During his tenure as grounds superintendent, he became known for the beautiful flowers, especially petunias and sweet peas, on the grounds as well as at his residence, which was located on the fairgrounds midway. After retiring he returned several summers, assisting on various projects on the grounds, but especially the growing of flowers.
He was baptized at 89 years old in the Sea of Cortes, San Felipe, Baja, Mexico while visiting his daughter. He was a member of Elks, AARP and PERS.
Ernest died at Aspen Meadows nursing home where he had been a resident for four years. There, he was fondly known to the staff as their “singing cowboy.” The family wants to extend thanks to the staff for his care at Aspen Meadows.
Survivors include his wife Julia of 47 years; two daughters, Janeen (Sam) Sefren of Apache Junction, Ariz., and Saundra (Curtis) Martin of San Felipe, Baja, Mexico; son Eddie Sam (Judie) of Gillette; eight grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be sent to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, 1735 Monad Rd., Billings, MT 59102, or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.cfgbillings.com through “Our Families.”