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James's Story

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James Henry Howar Sr., 89 of Keswick died Monday, March 13, 2017, at the Oskaloosa Care Center. Funeral services will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 17, 2017 at the Holland-Coble Funeral Home in What Cheer. Burial will be in Forest Cemetery at Oskaloosa. Visitation will begin at noon on Thursday with the family present from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the family. Friends and family may also sign the online guestbook at www.hollandcoblefuneralhomes.com
James Henry Howar Sr. was born December 20, 1927 in Sigourney, Iowa the son of Frank C. Howar and Clara Alice (Mason) Howar. Due to the war effort, Jim at age fourteen drove the Gibson school bus. After graduating from Gibson High School in 1946 he joined the United States Army. Jim served with the infantry during the Japanese occupation and saw firsthand the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After his honorable discharge in 1948 he returned to Iowa. Being a real "Ace" on a pair of roller skates, he eventually met the love of his life at the Air Base skating rink in Ottumwa. Jim was united in marriage to Ruby Vander Horst on April 29, 1951 at her parents' home in Oskaloosa. The couple settled in the Keswick area where they farmed with his parents. Then in 1954 the couple had their first of five children. Over the years, Jim continued growing his farming operation and supposedly retired in 1990. Immediately he decided retirement was not for him. Jim started working seasonal jobs for Kaiser until 1991 when he began working full time at American Color Graphics. Finally in 2002, at age 75 he decided to slow down and actually retire. It goes without saying he saw value in honest hard work. Jim was never too busy to be a good husband and a great dad. He made each Christmas and every birthday better than the last. Jim made countless sacrifices to make his wife and all five children feel like they were the single most important person in the world, and to Jim they were. He enjoyed hosting hayrides, sledding parties, sleepovers and bonfires for his children and their friends. He had just as much fun teaching his kids how to hunt, fish and trap. As a father he showed his children the true values of life; to be good, honest and hard working. After becoming a grandfather, Jim discovered a renewed sense of pride. At family gatherings, he often just sat back with a grin on his face knowing full well his family values were realized. To his neighbors, Jim was a man never too busy to lend a hand. But most importantly, he was a man that worked selflessly to honor his vows to God and to his wife.
James is preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Hazel Fickel and Mary Summa; and a grandson, Seth Howar.
Jim's legacy will be cherished by his wife, Ruby Howar; three sons, Ken Howar of Keswick, Jim (Barb) Howar of Marengo and Jeff (Connie) Howar of Rose Hill; and his two daughters, Kathy (John) Bos of Drakesville and Barb (Curt) Holland of Keswick. Jim was also blessed with twelve grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren.
Published on March 15, 2017
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